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Ground Beef, Orzo And Zucchini Casserole

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 meals

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 2 TBSP olive oil divided
  • 2 small zucchini sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 16 oz ground beef sub ground meat of your choice
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes sub marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese see dairy-free options in the notes below
  • 1 cup shredded cheese I used a Mexican blend, mozzarella is best
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F and prepare a large baking dish with cooking spray (I used 9x13).
  • Add half the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. After a minute or two, add the sliced zucchini, salt, pepper and oregano. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the zucchini rounds are tender-crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining oil to the skillet with the ground meat, chopped shallot and more salt and pepper. Break up the ground meat with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring frequently, until it's no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes.
  • To a large bowl, add the uncooked orzo, cooked zucchini, cooked beef, crushed tomatoes, riccotta cheese, shredded cheese, thyme and red pepper flakes. Add more salt and pepper too. Mix everything together.
  • Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until it's bubbling at the edges. That's it!

Notes

DAIRY-FREE RICOTTA OPTIONS
Tofu ricotta: 14 oz firm tofu (drained), 1 lemon (juiced), 2 TBSP nutritional yeast, 1 tsp salt. Blend in blender or food processor.
Cashew ricotta: 1 cup raw unsalted cashews soaked in boiled (not actively boiling) water for 15 minutes, 1 lemon (juiced), 2 TBSP nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup water, 1 tsp salt. Blend in a blender or food processor.