Eating this delicious ground beef pasta for lunch felt like getting transported to a homey Italian restaurant in the middle of the workday.
This easy pasta dish only takes about twenty minutes, is freezer-friendly, and is customizable to use up what you have on hand. It doesn’t get much better than that!
This recipe is also featured in my cookbook, The Workweek Lunch Cookbook: Easy, Delicious Meals to Meal Prep, Pack, and Take On The Go. It includes 60 approachable recipes designed to be meal-prepped and stored.
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Things you need to know about this ground beef pasta dish:
- You don’t have to use ground beef! Swap it out for ground turkey or pork -totally up to you.
- You have many plant-based protein options! Keep it classic with ground “meat” crumbles (usually found next to the tofu), use finely chopped mushrooms or throw in chickpeas (rinsed and drained). Note that chickpeas will provide a totally different texture, but it will still be very tasty.
- Swap out swiss chard! Greens are very easy to stick in this dish because they wilt right into the sauce without changing the texture of the meal. Kale or spinach would also work well in this meal. If you want to make it more interesting you can use finely chopped or riced cauliflower, broccoli florets, bell pepper or zucchini (maybe try shredded zuke). Know that adding some of these may change the texture!
- The type of milk is up to you. I used 1% regular milk for this, but you can use whatever you want based on your preferences. If you want this to be even creamier, but don’t want to use heavy cream (I avoid buying it because I never use it up before it expires). If you use non-dairy milk such as almond milk, I suggest adding a teaspoon or two of onion powder to offset any sweet taste from the milk.
- You can use olive oil instead of butter if needed.
- Use your favorite type of pasta! Here we are using shells but you can use any type of short pasta or whatever you have on hand.
- Parmesan cheese is optional!
The only non-negotiable is the can of crushed tomatoes.
Equipment you’ll need
- A medium pot for cooking the pasta
- A large skillet or Dutch oven for the meat and veggie mixture
- Chef knife and cutting board
- Measuring glass or bowl
- Meal Prep Containers
Storing and reheating this pasta
This meal lasts in the fridge for up to 4 days and is freezer friendly for up to 3 months. It reheats well in the microwave or on the stove. Happy prepping!
Looking for more delicious recipes to try? Here are a few of our favorites!
- Green Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe
- 30-Minute Steak Fajitas
- Stuffed Shells With Spinach
- 30-Minute Beef Stir Fry With Soba Noodles
- The Best Slow-Cooked Beef Chili Recipe
20-Minute Ground Beef Pasta With Swiss Chard
- 2 cups pasta shells use GF if needed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 oz ground beef
- salt and pepper to taste
- 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp italian seasoning
- 3/4 cup milk of your choice
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 bunch swiss chard stems removed, chopped into ribbons
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese optional
- Cook the pasta according to the package.
- Add 1 TBSP oil to a skillet over medium heat, followed by the ground beef with salt and pepper. Brown the beef by stirring it frequently for about 7 minutes, until it’s no longer pink.
- Add the entire can of crushed tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Here, add 1-2 tsp of any other spices: sage, thyme, oregano, basil etc. If you’re adding in additional veggies such as zucchini or broccoli, add them now.
- Mix the milk and melted butter in a bowl or measuring glass. This creates a nice heavy cream substitute. On medium heat, pour in the milk to the tomato beef mixture. Stir to combine. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings as needed. Let the mixture cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add in the cooked pasta and chopped swiss chard (or other greens). Stir until the greens melt and the pasta is covered in sauce. Stir in the parmesan cheese last.
- Assemble: Divide the mixture between three meal prep containers. Add more parmesan cheese on top if desired!