Rich, creamy ground beef pasta is a hearty, satisfying, 30-minute meal that the whole family will love! This delicious recipe includes instructions to make this dish dairy-free. I also include substitutions if you'd prefer to make it with full dairy products.
Craving comfort food? Me, too. When the temperature starts to drop and the kids go back to school, my family craves hearty, satisfying comfort food. And I crave meals that can be made in less than 30 minutes with simple pantry staples.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
This is one of those family favorite pasta dishes that ticks all the boxes!
- It comes together quickly so it's the perfect comforting pasta dish for busy weeknights.
- The pasta is mixed with a rich and creamy meat sauce that is delicious with or without dairy.
- And, it's an easy recipe with simple ingredients you can make on meal prep day and enjoy throughout the week!
🍝 Ingredient notes
Once you prep the ingredients, cooking this easy ground beef recipe comes together quickly!
Pasta - choose a kind of pasta that can hold all of that creamy meat sauce, such as penne pasta. You can also use rotini, rigatoni, gemelli, or pasta shells.
Olive oil - use the best extra-virgin olive oil you've got.
Onion - yellow onions are preferred but you can use a white onion in a pinch. Do NOT use a red onion in this recipe.
Garlic - this recipe calls for 3 garlic cloves but feel free to reduce that amount or add more, based on your taste preference. I love garlic and find 3 medium-size cloves to be just the right amount!
Ground beef - choose high quality, grass-fed ground beef when possible. Look for an 80/20 mix
Diced tomatoes - Use petite diced tomatoes that will break down faster into a thick, rich tomato sauce.
Tomato paste - you only need a couple of tablespoons to add an extra depth of amazing flavor to this easy pasta dish. You can also reduce the amount to one tablespoon if you prefer.
Herbs - use ½ teaspoon each of oregano, thyme, and basil
Coconut cream - use canned coconut cream, or the cream skimmed off the top of canned coconut milk.
Nutritional yeast - nutritional yeast adds a lovely nutty, cheesy flavor to the dish without adding any cheese!
Dairy-free cheddar cheese shreds - Use your favorite dairy-free cheddar-style shreds alternative.
Salt and black pepper - season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Parsley - optional, but chopped parsley sprinkled on top of each serving adds a pop of color and bright freshness to the dish.
Want to learn more about the best dairy-free products? Read this in-depth article about dairy-free cooking and baking!
✅ Step-by-step instructions
Full measurements and instructions for this creamy ground beef pasta recipe are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. But here is a helpful section to read through first, with extra cooking tips, substitution ideas, and more.
1. In a large stockpot, boil water and cook the pasta according to package directions until it's al dente.
2. While the pasta cooks, make the pasta sauce. Add the olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. One the oil has heated up, add chopped onion and garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the onions and garlic are soft.
3. Add the ground meat to the pot and, stirring regularly, sauté until the meat has browned all around. Once the meat has browned, very carefully drain any excess liquid from the pot over a colander until there is one tablespoon or less of liquid. Return the pot to the stove, and return any meat, onions, and garlic that fell into the colander back into the pot.
4. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, basil. Allow the ingredients to cook together over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
5. Stir in the coconut milk and nutritional yeast. Stir all of the ingredients well.
6. Add the cooked pasta to the pot. Then stir in the dairy-free cheddar-style shreds. Continue slowly folding the ingredients into one another to help melt the cheddar shreds until they are fully melted.
7. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Absolutely! Simply substitute equal parts of your favorite dairy products:
- heavy cream in place of coconut cream
- parmesan cheese instead of nutritional yeast
- shredded cheddar cheese in place of the cheddar-style shreds
This delicious pasta dish tastes best with ground beef. However, you can try ground lamb or ground turkey. If using ground turkey: ground turkey can be dry compared to ground beef, so adding a little extra liquid and seasoning the meat during browning helps.
You can store this leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe container for about 3 months.
🥣 Kitchen tools and equipment
You'll need two large pots to make this hearty meal.
Stockpot - use a large pot like this pasta pot to cook the pasta.
Dutch oven or another large pot to cook the meat sauce - I use my 4-quart Staub Cocotte to make this dish and it's the perfect size.
💡 Meal prep ideas
This easy dinner recipe usually makes enough to feed my family of four, plus a few leftovers.
With those leftovers, I'll split them up and store them in something like these FoodSaver Preserve and Marinate Containers and add some healthy sides to make a complete meal.
Two delicious side dishes to go with this dairy-free creamy beef pasta: Air Fryer Broccoli and cucumber salad. Both provide a nice balance of fresh greens to the hearty, meaty pasta.
🍽 What to serve with ground beef pasta
In addition to the air fryer broccoli and cucumber salad, try serving this recipe with one of these side dishes to complete your meal!
More Dairy-Free recipes
- Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese
- Dairy-Free Bacon and Shrimp Pasta
- Creamy Pasta and Crispy Mushrooms (Vegan)
- Dutch Oven Pot Roast and Vegetables
- Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Creamy Ground Beef Pasta
- 12 ounces pasta
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 cup dairy-free cheddar-style shreds
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- In a large stockpot, boil water and cook the pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Add the olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. One the oil has heated up, add the onions and garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the onions and garlic are soft.
- Add the ground beef to the pot and, stirring regularly, sauté until the meat has browned all around. Once the meat has browned, very carefully drain any excess liquid from the pot over a colander until there is one tablespoon or less of liquid. Return the pot to the stove, and return any meat, onions, and garlic that fell into the colander back into the pot.
- Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, basil. Allow the ingredients to cook together over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Stir in the coconut milk and nutritional yeast. Stir all of the ingredients well.
- Add in the cooked pasta and stir together to coat the pasta with the sauce. Add the dairy-free cheddar-style shreds then gently fold the ingredients into each other to help melt the cheddar-style shreds until fully melted.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.
This pasta is amazing! So creamy and satisfying without any dairy!
This recipe really likes the whole family
This is the perfect family dinner to make. We love having pasta night and making this within 30 minutes fits my schedule!
What a hearty recipe! My family loved it, especially the kids! You recipe is easy to cook too!
Caitlyn Erhardt says
This is so hearty and perfect for dinner. Love that it is ready in under 30 minutes as well!