Friday, January 3, 2014

Clean Eating, Day 3(ish) -- Paleo Taco Casserole

I'm thankful for some nice weather, resulting in decent food photography--yay! Still working with limited props, but hopefully once we're moved into our new place at the end of the month I can start accumulating new ones. I made the decision while I was home to donate my entire box; I just couldn't justify spending $50 to check another bag, considering it was all plates and cups and such I got at thrift shops and dollar stores anyway. So I grabbed a few of my favorite fabrics, and the two sets of place mats and napkins that I had actually bought at a store, and got rid of the rest.

I thought it'd be fun to show you what my blog pictures were, verses what I actually ate for lunch today. So here goes. Look up there at the big picture ^^ That's the photograph I took of my lunch, outside, cold, set up sort-of-fancy. Now there's this:

That's what I actually ate. It's double the food, heated up (and therefore not staying in square-casserole-form) the avocado is on TOP of the casserole, and I used some leftover chipotle mayo to sub in for the sour cream I really wanted to add to the top of this thing. It's funny how pictures and reality can differ ;)

I think this recipe is going to stick around, even when I'm not on Whole30. It's packed with veggies and taco flavor and all is just right in the world when you take a bite. Taco meat is mixed with veggies, then covered with sweet potato shreds and baked until crispy. Flavor is big when you're on one of these elimination diets, and this casserole does not skimp on that. Plus I'm sure you could sub in whatever veggies you have on hand to edit this to whatever is in your fridge!

The place I got the recipe from, Popular Paleo, suggests putting an egg on top and having the leftovers for breakfast. I am SO excited to do that tomorrow morning, you have no idea.

Paleo Taco Casserole
(Adapted only slightly from Popular Paleo's Tex-Mex Casserole)

  • 1 lb ground beef of choice
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 zucchini, diced (6″ zucchini/one cup)
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbs + 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup taco seasoning (3 tbs chili powder + 1 tbs cumin + 1/2 tsp cayenne + 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp onion powder + 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper + 1/2 tsp oregano + 1/4 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp ground pepper is my go-to, not sure it resulted in 1/3 cup though) plus 3 tbs taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, shredded
  • Optional: 3 tbs nutritional yeast

Make sure all of your veggies are prepared! They should be chopped into about half inch chunks. Saute  them all (save for the diced tomatoes and sweet potatoes) in the 3 tbs of coconut oil until they are soft. I started with the carrots, peppers, and onions, then when they were about done I added in the garlic and zucchini because they were much softer.

Remove the veggies from the pan. Keep heat on high, and crumble in the ground beef. Season with 1/3 of the taco seasoning. Cook until browned, then drain off the fat. Add veggies and diced tomatoes and turn the heat to medium. Mix well and let cook for a 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt the 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Working quickly, pour over the sweet potato shreds and massage with hands until they are well coated. Mix in the rest of the taco seasoning and, if desired, the nutritional yeast.

Transfer veggie-meat mix to casserole dish. cover with the shredded sweet potatoes and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Then, up the oven to broil and watch carefully. When sweet potatoes are beginning to get crispy and burnt, remove from heat. Top with scallions, cilantro, and any of your other favorite taco fixin's.


  1. This sounds crazy amazing! I love everything about tacos and casseroles, so it's definitely speaking to me. Swap in some veggie meat, and this will definitely be dinner asap.

  2. This casserole looks delicious! I like that you've included the photo here of what it looks like when you actually eat it versus the staged photo! :-)

  3. I'm always up for taco anything!


  4. Look at you all paleo! You make it look so easy. Looks awesome :)