Homemade Hamburger Helper

We are back!  Austin and I took about a month off from our normal routine and spent a lovely couple of weeks in Houghton and L’Anse, Michigan.  So refreshing to relax and put all our cares away for a little while.  And a few of you asked how Austin enjoyed the water…well, he loved Lake Superior!  I was a little too busy trying to save him as he leaped into the lake that I couldn’t take a picture.  But here he is right before as he crawled across the shore splashing, giggling, and eating sand.

I am still catching up to all of your emails and messages.  So sorry if you haven’t heard back from me yet!  A reply is coming!!  Little man is popping out two more teeth, rounding out to a pearly 9, so my attention to anything else has been a bit thin. I appreciate your understanding!

Now, this is a new recipe that I made sort of by accident one night.  We hadn’t done the grocery shopping.  In fact, we had been many days over due for a full on grocery store trip.  I was left with one can of coconut milk and tomato paste in the pantry and a pound of ground beef thawing from the freezer….let me just say it’s times like these that some of my best kitchen magic happens.  (After all, a very similar scenario is how the Lemon Garbanzo Bean Cake was born!)  I call this Homemade Hamburger Helper.  And it takes less time to prepare than the boxed version!


Homemade Hamburger Helper

Makes 4 Servings

1lb grass fed ground beef
1 small onion, minced
1 cup filtered water
4 red potatoes or 2 sweet potatoes, quartered and sliced  [CORE PLAN]
(Replace potatoes w/ 2 cups cauliflower, broccoli, or zucchini)  [ADVANCED PLAN]
1 can organic full-fat coconut milk
1 small can organic tomato paste
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp arrowroot powder
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste

1.)  In a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet, cook the ground beef and onion over Medium heat.  Remove from pan.

2.)  Add 1 cup of water to the skillet, leaving any fatty or brown bits in the pan.  Bring to a simmer over High heat.  Add sliced potatoes (or vegetables), cover, reduce heat to Medium-Low, and simmer for about 6-10 minutes or until fork tender.

3.)  Uncover and stir in coconut milk, tomato paste, garlic powder, thyme, onion powder, and sea salt and pepper.  Sprinkle arrowroot over top and stir in thoroughly, leaving no clumps.  Stir in ground beef.  Bring back to a simmer over Medium-High heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened.  Serve immediately.

We have my husband to thank for realizing this dish tastes almost exactly like the potato stroganoff version of Hamburger Helper.  He couldn’t get over the taste and texture, and he was actually the one who encouraged me to share this recipe.  To enhance the stroganoff experience, you could leave out the tomato paste and add in some mushrooms.  Enjoy this easy dinner fix everyone!

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Written by Elise Schwartz
Elise Schwartz

Elise has been living a sugar-free natural lifestyle since 2008, after discovering her PCOS, infertility, and inability to lose weight were caused by toxicity in her food and daily life. She became a certified nutrition and body detox coach, and provides consultations to clients across the world. By living the principles she teaches, Elise proudly welcomed her son, Austin, into the world in 2011. She and her husband, Dr. Dave, own and operate a natural health clinic, Triad Health Center, in Greensboro, NC.


  1. how well do you think this would freeze to heat in oven later?

  2. Hi Marisa,

    This would freeze and reheat very well, either in the oven or on the stove top. I’ve doubled it before and thawed overnight in fridge before reheating in skillet next day. Should do fine baking from frozen as well, too. Enjoy!

  3. Awesome, thanks! I’m made some to take to my friends who just had a baby so they could have a healthy meal on hand.

    Btw, LOVE you site! I’m always sending my patients, family, and friends here. Keep the recipes comin’ :)

  4. Fabulous, Marisa! I hope they enjoy it. It’s so sweet of you to bring them a healthy meal. We relied on that so so much after our little guy was born. And thank you for sharing my site with your patients, etc! I appreciate it!

  5. I have never used canned coconut milk, but I assume it’s different than coconut milk in the carton, right? I am trying to stay away from canned food due to BPA in the lining. Can I substitute the canned coconut milk with something else? Actually I don’t even like to use dairy alternative milks in the carton since they usually contain carrageenan, an additive I am trying to avoid. I do have some coconut butter on hand, or homemade almond milk. Would either of those work? Thank you!

    By the way, thank you for your website!!!!

  6. Hi Jessica, You are correct. Canned coconut milk is pure coconut milk. Carton coconut milk has water and other things added to it. In my opinion, canned is better. In all of my recipes, I only used canned (just an FYI for when you’re trying some of my other recipes). Native Forest is the brand I use. It’s organic and the can lining is BPA-free. Aroy-D is another BPA-free brand that you can find at Asian markets, and it’s usually pretty darn cheap compared to other USA brands.

    Also, just wanted to let you know that cartons of coconut milk (or most any product) contain BPA in the lining. The only brand that I know of that does NOT use BPA to line their cartons is Pacific Natural Foods. They don’t make coconut milk, but do make unsweetened almond milk and hemp milk.

    For carrageenan, you can call the company to see what source they are getting it from. Obviously avoid if it is from petroleum biproduct. But companies like Pacific Natural Foods uses natural plant carrageenan. That’s right! It’s actually a natural compound in vegetables and fruits. Natural carrageenan is a common ingredient for thickening, also used in high quality vitamin capsules. Just be sure to talk to the management of the company to figure out if it’s good or bad carrageenan.

    Instead of coconut milk in this recipe for Homemade Hamburger Helper you could substitute cashew cream. That is what I would do personally, over almond milk. Soak cashews overnight, rinse, then blend smooth with a little bit of water. It’ll turn into a cream texture, like whipping cream. Use that just as is in place of the coconut milk.

    Hope this helps some! Enjoy the Homemade Hamburger Helper! :)

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