One-Pan Italian Garlic Beef Over Zucchini

March 10, 2021

This Easy One-Pan Italian Dinner is Actually Good for You

Lean beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and garlic unite to create this surprisingly healthy meal.

It’s a busy weeknight and dinner time is fast approaching.  You’re craving something hearty and comforting, but you don’t want your evening meal to skyrocket your carbs and fats for the day.  You need a high-protein, healthy, easy-to-make dinner that tastes like it came out of an Italian grandmother’s kitchen.

“You’re dreaming!  That doesn’t exist,” you say.

Ah, but you’re wrong.  You can have it all!  Delicious Italian comfort food that won’t weigh you down (or clog your arteries).

In this easy one-pan meal, lean ground beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and zucchini come together to form a satisfying pile of beefy goodness that doesn’t skimp on the veggies.  It tastes like a hearty Bolognese sauce, but fresher and meatier.

You can serve it over zucchini or pasta, or you can spoon it straight into a bowl and demolish it as a standalone meal.

This recipe is Whole30 and Paleo compliant, providing you don’t add cheese or pasta.

I can’t wait to show you how yummy and easy this is!

One-Pan Italian Garlic Beef Over Zucchini

Number of servings: 6–8

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Macros/calories per serving: 52g protein, 26g fat, 30g carbs. 578 calories. (Does not include pasta or cheese. Data from MyFitnessPal.)

The Right Tools for the Job

Large Sauté Pan

Because we’re making a big batch to ensure plenty of leftovers, you’ll need a large skillet or sauté pan.  I love my 5-quart Calphalon, but any 5–6 quart pan will work.

Small Food Processor (Optional)

If you prefer to mince your garlic by hand, have it.  But if you want to save yourself a lot of chopping, get a small food processor.  I use our Cuisinart 4-cup chopper/grinder all the time.  It’s a must-have appliance for any healthy-cooking kitchen.

Spiralizer (Optional)

The easiest way to cook your zucchini is to slice and steam it.  However, if you want to recreate that crave-worthy pasta taste and texture, get a spiralizer.  It’s easy to use, and you can just throw it in the dishwasher.

Zoodles don’t require cooking.  We eat them raw (or we nuke them for 30 seconds), and they taste like an al dente noodle!

A word of warning: spiralizer blades are ludicrously sharp.  Ask me how I know this.  No sudden moves — that’s all I’m saying.



  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Mix thoroughly with your hands and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in your large skillet or sauté pan.
  3. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions start to become translucent — about 5–7 minutes.
  4. Add the beef mixture and break it up with a spatula.  Continue breaking up the beef and stirring until the beef is fully cooked — about 8 minutes.
  5. Stir in the diced tomatoes and pasta sauce.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the consistency thickens — about 8 minutes.  Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and/or chili flakes to taste (optional).
  7. Serve over spiralized zucchini, steamed zucchini slices, or cooked pasta.  Top with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley (optional).


The next time you’re hankering for a satisfying yet healthful bowl of Italian fare, I hope you’ll make this recipe!

Beef.  It’s what’s for dinner.


Tags: high protein, low carb, whole30, keto, paleo, grain free, dairy free, meal prep, batch cooking, easy recipes, beef, lean beef, lead ground beef, ground beef, whole foods, nutrient dense, clean eating, comfort food, one pan recipes, one pan meals, Italian food, healthy Italian, healthy Italian food, healthy Italian recipes

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