Creamy Hamburger Noodle Casserole

Creamy Hamburger Noodle Casserole

37 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 1999

The EatingWell Test Kitchen takes lean ground beef and combines it with whole-grain bulgur, egg noodles and a creamy tomato sauce in a baked casserole topped with Cheddar. With less fat and calories than the original skillet meal, this dish is sure to become a new family favorite.

Ingredients 6 servings

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Original recipe yields 6 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 2 bunches scallions, trimmed
  • 8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef
  • 1½ teaspoons canola oil
  • ½ cup bulgur, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces no-yolk whole-wheat egg noodles
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Separate white and green parts of scallions; thinly slice and reserve separately.
  3. Cook beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. Wipe out the pan, add oil and reduce heat to medium-low. Add bulgur, garlic and the reserved scallion whites. Cook, stirring, until the scallions soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomato sauce, water and the beef; bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently until the bulgur is tender and the sauce is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, cook noodles until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  6. Puree cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl; fold in sour cream and the reserved scallion greens. Season with the remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper.
  7. Spread half the noodles in the prepared pan. Top with half the cottage cheese mixture and half the meat sauce. Repeat with the remaining noodles, cottage cheese and sauce. Sprinkle Cheddar over the top.
  8. Bake the casserole until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Bulgur is made by parboiling, drying and coarsely grinding or cracking wheat berries. It simply needs a quick soak in hot water for most uses. Look for it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets, near other grains, or online at,

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 371 calories; 14 g fat(7 g sat); 4 g fiber; 39 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 40 mcg folate; 52 mg cholesterol; 6 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 901 IU vitamin A; 12 mg vitamin C; 181 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 738 mg sodium; 606 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (20% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, ½ lean meat, 1½ medium-fat meat, 1 fat

Reviews 37

November 09, 2019
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By: Shirley Carter
I made this and added all the suggested herbs and it was still very bland. I have no idea why layering it would make this any better. I dumped it out into a big bowl and stirred it up and poured marinara sauce on it to make it more edible. The recipe is a sink full of dishes and pans.
September 17, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
$3.00 I don't think so. I searched for ground beef recipes on a budget, your site came up saying something along the lines of under $3.00 All I can really say is that this recipe would cost way over $3.00 unless all I needed to buy was the ground beef.
November 19, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Question I see that a serving is 1/6 but i miss how much that turns out to be? Mt son lost over 100 pounds a couple of years ago and when he comes to eat he wants big amounts of food to be satisfied. I would like to know the volume amount of a serving? I can spice it up but I want to know how large of a portion it is? Pros: My son is wanting more to eat Cons: Need to know volume
August 10, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Very good and pretty easy to make, I will make this again. Very good with the below changes! I added 1 T Sriracha, 1 T Herbes de Provence, upped the beef to 1 lb. I changed bulgar to rice, used 1 onion instead of scallions, spaghetti sauce instead of tomato sauce. Next time I think I will add a can of diced tomatoes as well.
January 15, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Good This is a healthy recipe, which I liked, but it did lack flavor. The second time I made this, I added Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Still needs something... maybe basil? I like the recipe overall, so I will definitely make it again with a chopped onion, fresh basil, along with the Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes . Pros: Easy one dish recipe Cons: Lacked flavor
July 27, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Not 30 Minutes Anything that takes 30 minutes of work and then another hour to bake is not a 30-minute meal in my book, and not suitable for a weeknight. I'm sure it's delicious but definitely mis-categorized. Pros: Ingredients On Hand Cons: Takes too long
April 11, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Equally good with ground turkey instead of beef I've made this a few times using ground turkey instead of beef; I saute a chopped onion (instead of scallions) first then add the turkey; then follow the rest of the recipe. Add some Italian seasoning or Parmesan if your tomato sauce is bland. Good, easy recipe. Pros: easy, kid friendly
February 20, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Slammin'!!!! It was pretty easy to make, not too much prep time, and it turned out amazing just as the recipe is written. I wouldn't change a thing. I have never written a review before, but had to on this one. This is a definite re-peat recipe. Pros: Very tasty and healthy Cons: None
January 20, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Delicious! I didn't find this bland at all. I made this as written except I use marinara sauce from a jar instead of tomato sauce because I was stupid and forgot to buy tomato sauce. Perhaps that is why it tasted awesome? Anyone who keeps adding things and still finding this bland should try the marinara sauce and go back to normal for the rest of the ingredients. Pros: Easy, healthy without being flavorless Cons: Lots of different cooking steps, then baking - so not quick
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