Cheeseburger Stroganoff: a veggie-packed healthier hamburger helper (gluten/dairy/nightshade-free options)

I grew up a vegetarian, so I was pretty late to the game when I discovered (and admittedly fell in love with) Hamburger Helper, a hamburger pasta boxed meal. Fast forward a few decades, my kids haven’t ever had it either – but for very different reasons. But the same driver for my original discovery remains true today: putting a healthy dinner on the table every night can be stressful. I feel like I’ve really cracked the code lately: put all the things in a pot. No, but seriously… this Cheeseburger Stroganoff is as whimsical and delicious as it healthier. Packed with veggies and options for gluten-free, dairy-free, and nightshade-free, it’s allergen-friendly to boot.

Excited for you to make it and be rewarded with num num noises, too!

A few things to note:

  • We recommend Jovial gluten-free pasta.  I can’t eat corn, but love both their cassava-based and brown rice-based options. We’ve tried a bunch of brands and find this holds up best and most similarly mirrors traditional pasta.
  • While you can eat this with regular tomato sauce, our Fauxmato sauce is perfect for it and packs that extra veggie punch!
  • We call this Cheeseburger Pasta at home (because stroganoff is not an appealing word!). The kids are happy to have it served with lettuce for even more veggies. While it might seem odd at first, the creamy sauce works well with the crispy texture of the leaves and truly mirrors a cheeseburger-like experience.
  • The additional veggies are all optional, but highly recommended. In fact, 2 out of 3 of my kids told me they like it better with the veggies (the other one abhors mushrooms, tough break in this family, kid). If you’re short on time there is no shame in buying veggies pre-spiralized. You could even use a broccoli slaw mixture instead.
  • I suggest getting yourself a food processor with a shredding attachment. While it does make one more dish to wash, it makes shredding veggies a quick and fun job.

Cheeseburger Stroganoff: a veggie-packed healthier hamburger helper (gluten/dairy/nightshade-free options)


  • 12oz gluten-free elbow pasta (we prefer Jovial)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, ghee, or avocado oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 C (about 15 med) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 zucchini (med) shredded, about 4 cups
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 4 tsp Trifecta seasoning, divided or equal parts garlic powder, salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (beet based)
  • 1 1/3 lb ground beef
  • 1 C marinara (we use our Fauxmato sauce)
  • 1/2 C sour scream (optional, lots of DF options)
  • 1 C cheddar cheese, grated (optional) plus more for serving
  • Lettuce to serve


  1. Boil 4 quarts of water over high heat with salt and olive oil. When boiling, pour in the pasta and cook according to instructions (12 minutes for Jovial). Make sauce while pasta cooks. It will come together at about the same time if you cook simultaneously.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Saute onion with salt until softened.
  3. Add shredded zucchini, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast and 2 teaspoons of Trifecta seasoning. Cook until much of the water from the vegetables cooks off, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add ground beef and 2 more teaspoons of Trifecta and cook until meat is browned, stirring often.
  5. Drain off most of the extra fat, then add marinara or fauxmato sauce and sour cream. Stir until combined, then add pasta straight from the boiling water. It will prevent pasta from sticking and the starchy water still on the noodles will help bind the sauce. Mix and reduce heat to low.
  6. When well mixed and heated through, remove from the heat, add cheddar cheese and stir until melted and well incorporated.
  7. Serve over a bed of lettuce.



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