This 30-Minute Mexican-Inspired Ground Beef and Zucchini Skillet is a delicious high-protein, low-carb meal! Packed with fresh veggies, this healthy meal takes taco night to a whole new level!

Large skillet with ground beef, vegetables and Mexican-inspired flavors for a high protein low-carb meal.

If you’ve been around The Roasted Root for a number of years, you know that skillet recipes and bowl recipes are my absolute favorite.

Back with an all-new bowl recipe, these Mexican-Inspired Ground Beef and Zucchini Bowls feature taco vibes with a plethora of hidden vegetables! 

If you follow a high-protein diet and you try to keep your carbs relatively low, this healthy bowl recipe is for you.

For those of you who don’t eat a low carb diet, simply serve the ground beef and vegetables with your choice of steamed brown rice or white rice (this is what I do).

Be sure to pick up your favorite taco toppings, like cheese, avocado, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), tortilla chips, or salsa to complete this flavorfest! It’s the ultimate comfort food the whole family will love.

For my fellow gardeners, this easy meal is a great way to use up an abundance of zucchini from your garden.

The best part is this quick healthy dinner recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less from start to finish! 

The Inspiration For This Recipe:

I combined concepts of three of my classic recipes to develop this taco flavored dreamscape.  

My 30-Minute Vegetable and Ground Beef Skillet, Mexican Ground Beef and Cabbage Bowls and my Thai Zucchini and Chicken Skillet

The basic premise is we’re combining meat and vegetables with delicious, bold flavors, and hiding vegetables all around to get an infusion of high-quality nutrients.

For my friends who are always looking to add more variety to their diet and enjoy cleaner food, this easy dinner recipe is a must for busy weeknights!

Zucchini and ground beef bowls topped with sour cream and avocado.

Let’s discuss the healthy ingredients to make this ground beef and vegetable recipe. The complete ingredients list can be found at any grocery store.

Ingredients for Ground Beef Zucchini Skillet:

Ground Beef: The star of the show here, we need one pound of ground beef. Use lean ground beef (93/7 or 90/10) for less fat or do as I do and stick with fattier ground beef (80/20). 

Fresh Vegetables: Fresh zucchini, carrots, green cabbage, onion, and garlic are the fresh vegetables needed to make this recipe.

They all get grated, sliced, or finely chopped so that they basically disappear into the warm embrace of ground beef taco meat.

We need three cups of grated zucchini, which is about three medium zucchini squash (or yellow squash).

Chili Powder: The ingredient that brings all the taco flavor to the yard! Chili powder is what makes us feel like we’re eating delicious beef tacos.

I use store-bought chili powder but you can also use homemade chili powder or taco seasoning. If you enjoy the flavor of green chilis, add one 4-oz can of green chilis. 

Tomato Sauce: A little tomato sauce completes the flavor profile, as it adds a slightly tangy element.

Sea Salt and Black Pepper: Season everything to taste using salt and pepepr.

​Recipe Adaptations:

  • Mix up the vegetable selection by using yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, fresh tomatoes, etc.
  • You can replace the ground beef with your favorite ground meat such as ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork. Note that for leaner cuts of meat you may consider adding some extra avocado oil or olive oil to enhance the flavor.
  • Serve this tasty meal with cauliflower rice, black beans, or regular rice to add more volume.
  • Replace the tomato sauce with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • Swap out the red bell pepper for green pepper.
  • Rather than grating the vegetables, you can chop them into small pieces if you’d prefer. 
  • Add a little heat by adding cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
Skillet loaded with ground beef, vegetables and Mexican seasonings for a healthy dinner.

If you have fresh herbs like fresh parsley or fresh cilantro, feel free to add some in.

Bowl Toppings:

Pick your favorite toppings, like cheese! Cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, Monterey jack cheese, pepper jack cheese and mozzarella cheese are all great options.

I also like serving the bowls with tortilla strips, guacamole or avocado, salsa, hot sauce, cherry tomatoes, and sour cream.

Now that we’re experts on this Mexican zucchini beef skillet, let’s make it!

How to Make Mexican-Inspired Ground Beef and Zucchini Skillet:

Grate the zucchini and carrots using a box grater or use the grating attachment on a food processor. Finely chop the onion, garlic, and cabbage. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. I recommend using a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a deep lip. You can also use a large thick-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven.

Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.

Onion sautéing in a large non-stick pan

Stir in the chopped bell pepper and garlic and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Onion, garlic, and bell pepper cooking in a skillet.

Scoot the vegetables off to the side of the skillet and place the ground beef on the hot surface. Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller chunks as it’s browning.

Stir in the chili powder and sea salt. Continue cooking and chopping the meat until it is entirely cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you’d like, pour out the excess grease for less fat (I leave mine in).

Add the grated zucchini, carrot, and cabbage to the skillet and stir well.

ground beef and vegetables cooking in a large skillet.

Stir in the tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a full boil.

Tomato sauce on top of ground beef and vegetables in a skillet.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through and the vegetables reach your desired level of doneness, about 3 to 5 minutes.

I like leaving the vegetables al dente so I only cook them for a few minutes after adding them to the skillet, until all the food is piping hot.

Serve in bowls with your favorite toppings like avocado, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), grated cheese, chips, and salsa.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

​a great meal prep recipe, you’re getting a great deal of protein, micronutrients and fiber in one sitting! I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe if you’d like lots of leftovers. As it stands, this recipe makes 2 to 3 servings (depending on how hungry you are).

Nutrition Facts:

For me, this recipe makes two large meals but it can be broken into three to four meals if you’re not as hungry or serving it with side dishes. When calculating the nutrition facts based on 2 servings using lean ground beef (93/7), each serving contains 588 calories. 

There are 27 g fat per serving, 37 g total carbohydrates, and 11 g fiber for a total of 26 grams of net carbs. 

At 54 g protein per serving, this is an easy way to hit some macro goals!

Easy dinners like this are perfect for fast and healthy weeknight dinners on busy nights when you’re trying to get dinner on the table quickly.

Two white bowls of Mexican ground beef and vegetables with sour cream and avocado on top.

If you love healthy bowl recipes and easy dinner recipes like this, also try out these healthy dinner recipes:

Explore More Bowl Recipes:

Bowl food for life!

Skillet loaded with ground beef, vegetables and Mexican seasonings for a healthy dinner.

Mexican Ground Beef and Zucchini Skillet

5 from 1 vote
Mexican-inspired flavors make this healthy high-protein meal so delicious! Enjoy feeding your taco craving with this vegetable-packed nutritious dinner. Remember to pick up your favorite toppings like cheese, sour cream, and avocado to top the meal!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium-sized yellow onion diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups zucchini grated
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 1 cup green cabbage chopped*
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper to taste

For Serving:

  • Fresh limes
  • Avocado
  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream
  • Grated Cheese

Instructions

  • Grate the zucchini and carrots using a box grater or use the grating attachment on a food processor. Finely chop the onion, garlic, and cabbage.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. I recommend using a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a deep lip. You can also use a large thick-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven.
  • Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the chopped bell pepper and garlic and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Scoot the vegetables off to the side of the skillet and place the ground beef on the hot surface. Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller chunks as it’s browning. Stir in the chili powder and sea salt. Continue cooking and chopping the meat until it is entirely cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you’d like, pour out the excess grease for less fat (I leave mine in).
  • Add the grated zucchini, carrot, and cabbage to the skillet and stir well. Stir in the tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a full boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through and the vegetables reach your desired level of doneness, about 3 to 5 minutes. I like leaving the vegetables al dente so I only cook them for a few minutes after adding them to the skillet, until all the food is piping hot.
  • Serve in bowls with your favorite toppings like avocado, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), grated cheese, chips, and salsa.

Notes

*Use coleslaw mix to save time

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (of 2) · Calories: 588kcal · Carbohydrates: 37g · Protein: 54g · Fat: 27g · Saturated Fat: 8g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g · Monounsaturated Fat: 12g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 145mg · Sodium: 969mg · Fiber: 11g · Sugar: 20g
Author: Julia Mueller
Course: Beef Main Dishes, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy low carb dinner recipe, ground beef and zucchini skillet, ground beef recipes, healthy dinner recipes, high protein meals, high protein recipes, keto dinner recipes, paleo dinner recipe, zucchini recipes
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

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Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Julia, I read in your narrative about salt and pepper, but don’t see those listed in your ingredients list. About how much would you suggest? Thank you

    1. Hi Deb! Thanks so much for catching that! I add about about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and about 1/4 tsp of black pepper. The tomato sauce has some sodium in it already so some people may not even feel the need to add more salt. Hope you enjoy the recipe! xo

    2. @Julia, this dish is wonderful! I ended up using 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. I added more salt because I doubled the cabbage. I added a little cayenne pepper, otherwise made the recipe as written. I will definitely try ground chicken and ground turkey in the future as well. For toppings I had plain Greek yogurt, diced avocado, a sprinkling of Mexican blend cheese and I had some Santa Fe style tortilla strips in the pantry so added a sprinkling of those as well. It was so good I had to stop myself from eating more! I think this would be a great filling for those who love tacos! Corn shells would probably be tastier, but flour could be good too. I’ll definitely be making this on rotation. Thanks for your creation!

      1. Aww I love it! Thank you for such a thorough review – this is super helpful to others who want to try the recipe. Also happy to hear you were able to fit more cabbage into the meal! I’m a big fan of consuming lots of veggies too 🙂 I think it will be great with ground turkey or ground chicken as well! Appreciate the sweet words, Deb!