April 05, 2024


Who else loved Hamburger Helper as a kid? This Healthy Hamburger Helper tastes like a fresher, home-cooked version of my favorite boxed meal. My version has no artificial additives, and can easily be made dairy-free or vegan! It’s balanced in protein and carbs, and significantly lower in fat and sodium too. Best of all, this one pan meal is ready to eat in under 30 minutes! Feel free to add mushrooms, peppers, or a side salad for even more veggies 😉

Did you know? Grass fed beef contains up to five times the amount of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats compared to conventionally-raised beef, as well as higher amounts of the Vitamins E and A. (source)

Healthy Hamburger Helper

Choosing lean ground beef

This Healthy Hamburger Helper calls for 93% lean ground beef, which is much lower in fat and total calories than 85% lean. If you can only find 85% lean, simply drain the browned beef then rinse with hot water for a fat content closer to 90% lean. Cool trick I learned!

Healthy Hamburger Helper

Making this dish vegan

Feel free to use meatless ground like Beyond Beef or Impossible Burger for a nearly identical vegan version. If making this vegan or dairy free, I highly recommend VioLife Cheddar Shreds, or Daiya Cheddar Shreds as a close runner-up! These are the best-tasting brands of dairy-free cheese I've tried (so far).

Healthy Hamburger Helper

The creamy sauce (without milk)!

Instead of adding milk, I was able to get a creamy, thick sauce by adding a little gluten-free flour to the pasta broth, along with the cooked noodles, diced tomatoes, seasoned beef, and sautéed onion. You seriously don’t miss the dairy! Even without cheese the sauce becomes thick and velvety, coating the pasta noodles just right 😉 You can use beef broth or vegetable broth for vegan.

Healthy Hamburger Helper

Choosing the pasta

Speaking of pasta, I used red lentil fusilli! I am obsessed. It’s got a similar texture of regular pasta with more protein, fiber, and nutrients. I can’t do chickpea pasta (I get so bloated!), but that’s another option. If you don't love the faint taste of lentils, feel free to use any other gluten-free pasta, or protein-rich wheat pasta if tolerated.

The only other ingredients you’ll need are a few dry spices and optional fresh parsley for garnish. Such an easy, family-friendly meal (the kids were begging for more)! We will definitely be making it on repeat.

Here’s the printable recipe for this Healthy Hamburger Helper! I hope you’ll rate and comment below if you try it 😉

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