Serving of healthy taco casserole on white plate with gold fork.

Healthy Taco Casserole (Easy and Budget Friendly)

Quick, easy, and budget-friendly, this healthy taco casserole is made with all your favorite Mexican-inspired ingredients for the ultimate family-friendly comfort food!

Prep: 20 mins.Cook: 55 mins.Total: 1 hr, 15 mins.
Servings: Serves 8


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (we use 90/10) 
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (may substitute a scant ½ tsp garlic powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (or store-bought)
  • 1 (14-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 ¾ cups beef broth
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice (such as American long-grain, basmati, or jasmine rice)
  • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese or Monterey jack cheese, divided
  • Optional toppings: Salsa, diced avocado, sour cream, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, pickled jalapeños, etc.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, spray the pan with cooking spray then add the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper. Use a spatula to break up the meat and cook until the beef is just barely pink and onions and peppers have softened. About 8 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini, garlic, and taco seasoning. Stir and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until zucchini is just barely tender.
  4. Remove from heat and drain excess fat from beef mixture if there is quite a bit. Transfer the meat and veggie mixture to the greased baking dish. 
  5. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, drained beans, corn, rice, and ½ cup shredded cheese to the baking dish and stir to combine.
  6. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 50-65 minutes or until the rice is tender. Be sure to test the recipe for tenderness and add additional time if needed. Remove the foil and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
  7. Allow the hot dish to stand for 5 minutes before serving with toppings of choice.


Check the rice at 50 minutes to determine if additional baking time is needed before uncovering and adding the cheese. Cooking time will depend on the rice used (may vary by brand) and oven-temperature (not all ovens are true-to-temp so an oven thermometer is always a good idea). We do not recommend using brown rice. 

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/8th recipe (without toppings)
  • Calories: 430
  • Fat: 10g
  • (Sat Fat: 5g)
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Carbohydrate: 57g
  • (Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 6g)
  • Protein: 25g


© The Real Food Dietitians
Recipe By: Jessica Beacom