This easy Mexican ground beef and zucchini recipe is a simple dish made with low-cost ingredients. It's an easy low-carb, high-fat dinner recipe perfect for a busy weeknight dinner with minimal clean-up!
I love to use fresh produce in my recipes when I can, and we had an especially good zucchini crop this year.
This year, we had a lot of rainy days and the plants did amazing. When you have a good producing zucchini plant, you need recipes like this one to help use them up!
Now, I'll be making a lot of recipes with this summer squash, including this Mexican zucchini and ground beef skillet!
Why you'll love it
This easy skillet recipe combines everything you love about Mexican food - without all the carbs.
Chopped zucchini pairs well with ground beef. So, I came up with this Mexican zucchini and beef skillet dish recipe one night for an easy dinner.
There are three main parts to this recipe - the zucchini, the meat, and the spices.
This is a fantastic way to use garden zucchini. You need two medium zucchinis for this recipe, but you might only need one if your homegrown zucchini is on the large side.
You can also add other squash into this dish if you want. Yellow squash will taste delicious mixed in too!
For this recipe, I used ground beef. For the best results, I suggest using lean 90/10 ground beef.
You can alternatively swap any type of ground meat in this easy recipe: sausage, pork or chicken will all taste great.
I went for using canned diced tomatoes in this recipe. I personally like the cans that also have green chilis added!
If you can't find canned tomatoes with chilis, a can of regular or fire roasted diced tomatoes will do. You can additionally throw in a few diced peppers if you have some on hand.
Fresh diced tomatoes will work great here too. You can substitute 2 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes for one 14.5-ounce can of canned diced tomatoes.
I typically just taste as I go and look around to see what ingredients I have on hand that would complement the dish. My cooking is super simple as I usually don't have a lot of time to fuss.
Finally, you need all the traditional spices to make it taste like the best Mexican zucchini dish you have ever had. I used:
- Red pepper flakes
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Cayenne pepper - add this If you want a little more heat.
- Salt and pepper - add enough to enhance the rest of the spices and flavors.
I didn't use garlic powder because the recipe calls for minced garlic.
Please note: Check out the recipe card at the bottom for a full list of ingredients and their amounts that I used to make this low-carb recipe.
- Use salsa or fresh diced tomatoes and peppers in place of the canned tomatoes and green chilis.
- Make your own low-carb taco seasoning mix to use in place of the stated seasonings for an extra homemade touch.
- Add your favorite veggies to make this recipe taste even more delicious.
I've made a similar dish in the past using leftover salsa. This time, I just added a whole can of diced tomatoes with green chilis.
Here is a bit more information about how I made this Mexican zucchini and ground beef recipe.
Prepare the Zucchini
First, cut the fresh zucchini into bite-size pieces, about ½ to 1" inch wide. I like to slice the zucchini and then cut each round slice into quarters to get the perfect bite-sized piece.
You can cut them into smaller diced pieces if you prefer, but I wouldn't go any larger.
Cook the Ground Beef
I bought 90/10 lean ground beef to keep the fat content down. However, you can easily swap in any ground meat here: sausage, pork, turkey, or chicken.
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté it until all the pink is gone, and its begun to brown. The browned bits add an extra depth of flavor.
Simmer with the spices
Add the tomatoes and spices. Reduce the heat, then cover, and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Finally, add the chopped zucchini, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. When the zucchini is tender, this dish is done!
This low-carb Mexican ground beef zucchini skillet recipe is simple and only uses inexpensive and easy-to-find ingredients.
To stay on theme, make Mexican cauliflower rice to serve it with - it is bursting with fresh flavor.
You can also serve a side of low-carb Instant Pot taco soup along side of it. This will make a very filling meal!
This dish has so much flavor that even family and friends who don't eat keto will enjoy it!
The entire recipe is in the printable card at the bottom of this post. First, here are some questions about the recipe, along with my answers.
Zucchini tastes best when it's cooked al dente. If you cook it too long, it gets mushy, which isn't pleasant. Cooking the zucchini for five to ten minutes in the covered skillet should warm it up and still keep it firm.
I usually use venison in this recipe, so you can use any type of ground meat that you have on hand.
This would taste really delicious with some chorizo, ground turkey, or even ground chicken.
I can also see this tasting scrumptious with some thinly-sliced steak instead of ground beef.
There is a vegetable called a Mexican squash. It has a mild flavor and a whiter and sweeter flesh than zucchini but is shaped similarly.
I named this recipe Mexican Zucchini and Beef because it is an easy skillet meal made with traditional Mexican flavors and spices, although not Mexican squash.
No, you don't have to peel zucchini. It has very soft and thin skin that is perfectly edible. You can see in my photos that I didn't peel it.
Plus, the skin has lots of fiber, so I encourage you to keep it on.
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is chopping up the zucchini and browning the meat.
You might be tempted to do all your food prep on your day off and just store it in the fridge. The only downside to this is that after you cut the zucchini, it doesn't keep very well, and it will start to shrivel up.
You can fry your ground beef and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then, when you are ready to make dinner, just chop your zucchini and add it into the skillet with beef mixture.
Yes, you can freeze this recipe. Freezing it will save you prep time. All you have to do is grab it out of the freezer, let it thaw, and then reheat it on your skillet.
This recipe will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Almost any other low carb veggie will taste really good with the spices and meat in this Mexican zucchini recipe. Chop up some peppers or throw in some yellow squash or even a few cups of broccoli.
If you are tracking your macros, keep in mind that every vegetable you add will increase how many carbs are in a serving.
For a little extra fun, add some cheddar cheese to it! That will really make it taste even better without affecting the carbs.
Looking for more recipes that won't take a lot of time? Check out this collection of easy low-carb recipes at Community Table that I put together.
And, be sure to try my zucchini pizza boats if you need another recipe to use up your summer crop.
Do you have a garden full of zucchini? You may want to try some of my other low-carb healthy recipes featuring this garden-fresh vegetable:
- Crockpot Zucchini includes yellow squash, seasonings, cheese, and a crunchy topping.
- Keto Zucchini Fritters is a crispy side dish made with coconut flour - it closely resembles hash browns.
- Squash Frittata can be made with any summer squash but I like to use the yellow kind along with zucchini.
- Mexican Squash Casserole is an adaptation of a taco casserole but uses vegetable slices in place of the tortillas.
- Keto Apple Fritter Bread With Zucchini is a delicious way to serve zucchini in a sweet low-carb dessert.
Mexican Zucchini and Beef
- 2 medium zucchini sliced and quartered
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 10 ounces Mexican style diced tomatoes with green chilis (salsa or diced tomatoes could be used), canned
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Brown ground beef with minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned.
- Add tomatoes and remaining spices. Cover and simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.
- Add the zucchini. Cover and cook for about 10 more minutes until zucchini is cooked, but still firm.
Array ( [calories] => 315 [carbohydrates] => 5 [protein] => 21 [fat] => 23 [fiber] => 2 [serving_unit] => cup (approx) [serving_size] => 1 [saturated_fat] => 9 [cholesterol] => 81 [sodium] => 498 [potassium] => 597 [sugar] => 3 [vitamin_a] => 606 [vitamin_c] => 16 [calcium] => 55 [iron] => 3 )
Notes on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
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First Published: July 15, 2015... Last Updated: January 27, 2022, with new photos and additional recipe information.