One-Pan Ground Beef Dinner: Grandma’s Secret Recipe Revealed

Discover the warmth and simplicity of a family recipe with this one-pan dinner that my grandmother taught me to prepare. This recipe transforms simple ground beef into delectable meatballs combined with a medley of vegetables and a savory sauce, all cooked in one pan for ease and flavor.


To make this comforting meal, you will need:

  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Garlic
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Herbs
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Egg
  • Bunch of Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Breadcrumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • 10 g (0.4 oz) Butter
  • 3 Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 Sweet Pepper, sliced
  • 400 g (14 oz) Frozen Green Beans
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 200 ml (7.0 fl oz) Warm Water
  • 3 Sprigs of Green Onions, chopped


Prepare the Meatballs:

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, salt, black pepper, dried garlic, paprika, Italian herbs, chopped onion, egg, parsley, and breadcrumbs. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  2. Form Meatballs: Shape the mixture into medium-sized meatballs.

Brown the Meatballs:

  1. Cook Meatballs: Heat a large pan over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add the meatballs and brown them on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Cook the Vegetables:

  1. Sauté Vegetables: In the same pan, add diced potatoes and sliced carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add More Vegetables: Include the sliced sweet pepper and frozen green beans. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Make the Sauce and Simmer:

  1. Combine Sauce Ingredients: Add the diced tomato, tomato paste, additional salt, black pepper, paprika, and Italian herbs. Stir well.
  2. Simmer: Pour in the warm water and bring to a simmer. Return the meatballs to the pan, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs are cooked through.

Finish and Serve:

  1. Garnish: Sprinkle chopped green onions over the dish just before serving.
  2. Presentation: Serve hot, ideally with a side of crusty bread or over a bed of rice for a complete meal.

Nutrition Details

This one-pan ground beef dinner is not only comforting and delicious but also provides a variety of nutrients:

  • Ground Beef: A good source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Choosing lean ground beef can help reduce intake of saturated fat.
  • Potatoes: Provide carbohydrates for energy, fiber for digestive health, and potassium, which is important for heart health.
  • Carrots and Sweet Peppers: High in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other antioxidants, which support immune function and skin health.
  • Green Beans: Offer fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folic acid.
  • Tomatoes: Rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. They are also a great source of antioxidants, including lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits.
  • Eggs: Contain high-quality protein, B vitamins, and are a natural source of vitamin D.

Healthier Ingredient Substitutions

To make this one-pan dinner healthier without sacrificing flavor, consider these substitutions:

  • Lean Ground Beef: Opt for leaner cuts of ground beef to reduce the amount of saturated fat.
  • Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs: Swap regular breadcrumbs for whole wheat to add fiber and nutrients.
  • Reduce Salt: Lower the sodium content by using less salt and choosing low-sodium versions of ingredients like tomato paste.
  • Low-Fat Dairy Options: If adding cheese, use a low-fat version or reduce the quantity to decrease calorie and fat intake.

Serving Suggestions

Enhance this hearty meal with the following serving suggestions to create a balanced plate:

  • Whole Grains: Serve the dish over a bed of whole-grain rice, quinoa, or bulgur to add fiber and make the meal more filling.
  • Salad: Pair with a fresh salad dressed with a vinaigrette to add a crisp, light component that balances the richness of the meatballs.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Accompany with a side of steamed broccoli, asparagus, or spinach to increase the meal’s vitamin, mineral, and fiber content.

Seasonal Adaptations

Adapt this recipe to incorporate seasonal vegetables and flavors:

  • Spring: Include fresh peas, asparagus, or artichokes for a light, fresh twist.
  • Summer: Try adding zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant for a summery version of the dish.
  • Fall/Winter: Incorporate root vegetables like turnips or rutabagas for their earthy flavors and nutritional benefits.

This one-pan ground beef dinner is a versatile dish that can be tailored to different dietary preferences and nutritional goals. By integrating a variety of vegetables and making mindful ingredient choices, you can create a nutritious meal that is satisfying and flavorful. Whether served as a quick weekday dinner or a comforting weekend meal, this dish is sure to be enjoyed by all.

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