This easy Mexican zucchini and ground beef 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.
The last few years, our plants ended up getting powdery mildew, so they didn't produce but one or two fruit. I think some of the issues were due to us overwatering the plants in the evening.
However, this year, there were a lot of rainy days, so we didn't bother adding any additional water, and the plants did amazing.
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 zucchini for this recipe, but you might only need one if your homegrown zucchini is really large.
You can also add other vegetables if you want. Yellow squash will taste delicious with it too!
For this recipe, I used ground beef. For the best results, I suggest using lean ground beef.
You can alternatively use any type of ground meat in this easy recipe - try it with sausage or chicken.
I went for a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis!
If you can't find canned tomatoes with chilis, a can of regular diced tomatoes will do. You can additionally throw in a few diced peppers if you have some.
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 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 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. 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.
Cook the ground beef
It's been a long time since I've bought actual ground beef.
When I call for ground beef in a recipe, that usually means ground hamburger venison for me because we always have a freezer full. It seems like an endless supply.
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Keep cooking it until it is no longer pink.
Simmer with the spices
Add the tomatoes and remaining spices. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
Finally, add the zucchini, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. When the zucchini is tender, you are ready to eat!
🍽️ Serving suggestions
This low-carb Mexican zucchini and ground beef skillet dish is a simple recipe that uses inexpensive ingredients. It goes well with cauliflower rice!
To stay on theme, make Mexican cauliflower rice - it is bursting with fresh flavor.
You can also serve a side of low-carb Instant Pot taco soup. Talk about a filling meal!
Even family and friends who don't eat keto will enjoy everything you make.
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 to the skillet with the meat.
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 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.
📚 Related recipes
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 )
Note 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.