Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Yield: 4 servings
- ▢1 pound extra lean ground beef (Note 1)
- ▢14-ounce can tomato sauce
- ▢6 cups small broccoli florets (Note 2)
- ▢1.75 cups shredded cheddar cheese (Note 3)
- ▢1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (Note 4)
- ▢1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
- ▢1.5 teaspoons table salt
- ▢1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ▢1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- Prepare: Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut any broccoli florets larger than 2 inches into smaller pieces, and add all broccoli to large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave until tender, about 5 minutes. Let them drain and steam out on paper towels (Note 5).
- Make Beef-Tomato Mixture: If wet, pat ground beef dry with paper towels. Add beef to large pan over medium heat. Crumbling beef with stiff utensil, cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Keeping everything in pan, stir in tomato sauce, celery, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Simmer for at least 10 minutes to thicken sauce (Note 5), stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and let moisture steam out.
- Assemble Casserole: Directly in 8×8 inch baking dish (Note 6), add broccoli, beef-tomato mixture, and half of cheddar cheese, carefully stirring together until well-mixed. Evenly top with remaining cheddar cheese. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake & Cool: Bake uncovered at 375 F until casserole begins bubbling up sides and starts to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into it. Serve (Note 7).
|Makes 4 Servings|
|Amount Per Serving:|
|Calories 370 (45% from fat)|
|Total Fat 19g||29%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||53%|
|Net Carb 5.5g|
|Total Carb 9.5g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||15%|
|Vitamin A 71% · Vitamin C 134% · Calcium 41% · Iron 22%|
NOTES & TIPS
(1) Ground Beef. I use extra lean ground beef (90 to 95% lean) to minimize calories and avoid an overly greasy casserole. If you use a fattier cut, you may want to drain some of the grease after browning the meat. If you don’t have beef, ground turkey is a good substitute.
(2) Broccoli Florets. About 12 ounces raw weight. You can cut florets from a head of broccoli, or you can buy a bag of pre-cut florets located in the refrigerated produce section of many U.S. grocery stores. I recommend cutting the florets into smaller pieces (no larger than 2 inches) so that they cook quickly and are more likely to be evenly distributed in the casserole. I use fresh florets, but frozen should be fine — you may need to cook them longer in the microwave and thoroughly drain to remove moisture.
(3) Cheddar Cheese. I like the bright yellow color that cheddar brings to this casserole, but you can substitute with any kind of shredded soft cheese that melts easily.
(4) Parmesan Cheese. This is finely grated parmesan that has a sandy or almost powdery texture (not shredded), available in pre-grated bags in the refrigerated section of U.S. grocery stores. This can be substituted with similar cheeses like pecorino romano or asiago.
(5) Moisture Control. To avoid ending up with a watery casserole, cook the broccoli and let it steam out before adding it to the casserole dish. The same goes for the ground beef and tomato sauce; the meat sauce should be simmered until it’s nice and thick, and then cooled a bit to let the steam escape. These steps will ensure a thick and flavorful casserole that holds together well.
(6) Baking Dish. I use a glass 8×8-inch baking dish and do not grease or line. If you use a metal pan, your baking time may be different from mine since glass transfers heat differently than metal.
(7) Serving / Leftovers. This recipe yields one 8×8 inch casserole, which is divided into four servings. Each serving is a dinner-sized portion, and can be topped with sour cream or avocado. Enjoy it alongside other dishes like garlic roasted mushrooms, creamed spinach, or cauliflower mac-and-cheese. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. They reheat well in the microwave and in the oven.