This Healthy Hamburger Helper recipe is a lighter version of a childhood favorite meal that adds vegetables and high protein chickpea pasta to make it a more balanced and filling, low calorie meal. Gluten Free + Low Calorie
This Healthy Hamburger Helper recipe is one of the dinner recipe's from my Low Calorie Cookbook that was published June 2020. It's a goodie and I know you'll love this lighter version made with healthier ingredients.
I've received a ton of feedback on this recipe and how good it is, which is why I'm sharing it with you today. Also, to remind you that if you don't already have my cookbook that you need to get it now!
What Makes This Hamburger Helper Recipe Healthier
This hamburger helper recipe is much healthier than the boxed version we all grew up on as kids. It was highly processed, packed with sodium and seriously lacking in high quality complex carbs and vegetables.
This recipe is healthier as it is adds a ton of vegetables, high protein and high fiber chickpea pasta with lean protein and tons of delicious seasonings!
Here's a few more reasons why it's better for you!
- Low Calorie - This recipe makes a TON of food and is very filling for only 468 calories per serving. The servings are large so you could easily make this 5 or 6 servings.
- Gluten Free - All ingredients are gluten free.
- High Fiber - This recipe has 10 grams of fiber which is awesome! We want high fiber in recipes. The majority of people are really deficient in fiber and it's so important for health and weight loss which I discuss in this free weight loss class.
- High Protein - Most people are very deficient in protein too which means they have a lot of hunger and cravings. This recipe has 42 grams of protein per serving from the meat and the protein in the chickpea pasta.
- Moderate Carbs - Most people will assume this recipe has "too many carbs," but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The fiber is 10 grams so net carbs are actually 31 which isn't very much and all the carbs are coming from complex carbs. The type matters!
Ingredients For Homemade Hamburger Helper
Here's what you need to make homemade hamburger helper! You will also need a large skillet as this recipe is made on the stovetop.
- Lean Ground Turkey (or ground beef)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- White Onion
- Bell Pepper
- Chickpea Rotini (or other plant-based pasta)
- Diced Canned Tomatoes
- Chicken Broth
- Dried Basil
- Dried Oregano
- Dried Parsley
- Chili Powder
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
Notice I used chickpea rotini in this recipe versus whole wheat or white pasta. The problem with whole wheat and white is that it has minimal fiber and protein. Plant based pastas like chickpea are always more filling and a healthier option!
I also used ButcherBox meat for this recipe. We've been using them for many years because their meat is high quality, pasture-raised. I really try to stress to my clients the importance of high quality proteins. If you can splurge in this area, I recommend you do!
How To Make Homemade Hamburger Helper
Making this homemade hamburger helper recipe is easy! It has a lot of ingredients, but it's all simple ingredients most people have on hand. Nothing weird except maybe the chickpea pasta.
Literally, this is one those meals you toss in a skillet and it magically comes together in 10 or 15 minutes. An easier, family friendly recipe!
To begin, in a large skillet over medium heat, combine the oil, turkey, onion, carrots, celery, red bell pepper and garlic.
Cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat has browned, using a wood spoon or spatula to break up the meat while it cooks.
Add the chickpea rotini (or another form of plant-based pasta), tomatoes with their juices, broth, basil, oregano, salt, paprika, chili powder and pepper.
Stir the mixture, then cover the skillet with a lid and cook the mixture for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and the pasta is al dente. Add the cheese and parsley. Stir and serve!
Substitutions For Healthy Hamburger Helper
Here's the substitutions I recommend for this recipe. Keep in mind that when you substitute something in a recipe it does change the nutrition data from what you see in the recipe below.
- Ground Turkey - Lean ground beef may be substitute, ground pork, ground chicken.
- Vegetarian - I recommend tofu. You could do a meat substitute, but those are highly processed and avoiding that is kind of the point of this recipe post.
- Olive Oil - Avocado oil may be used instead
- Veggies - Feel free to add or swap veggies.
- Chickpea Pasta - As I mentioned above, I really don't recommend white or whole wheat. A plant-based pasta like lentil, edamame, black bean or chickpea is best for that high fiber, high protein we're looking for!
- Cheese - You can omit the cheese or use a dairy-free alternative.
- Broth - Any broth or stock will work. I always use low sodium broth.
- Spices - Feel free to substitute fresh herbs and spices. Use double the amount of fresh herbs in place of dry herbs.
Healthy Hamburger Helper
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 lb 95% Lean Ground Turkey
- 1/2 cup White Onion diced
- 1/3 cup Carrots diced
- 1/3 cup Celery diced
- 1 cup Red Bell Pepper diced
- 2 tablespoons Garlic minced
- 8 oz Chickpea Rotini
- 15 oz Diced Canned Tomatoes with juices
- 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1/2 cup Low Fat Cheddar Cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the oil, turkey, onion, carrots, celery, red bell pepper and garlic.
- Cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat has browned, using a wood spoon or spatula to break up the meat while it cooks.
- Add the chickpea rotini, diced tomatoes with their juices, broth, basil, oregano, salt, paprika, chili powder and pepper.
- Stir the mixture, then cover the skillet with a lid and cook the mixture for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and the pasta is al dente.
- Add the cheese and parsley. Stir and serve immediately!
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days.