Healthy Hamburger Helper Copycat: Bacon Cheeseburger with Broccoli

Healthy Hamburger Helper Copycat: Bacon Cheeseburger with Broccoli

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure.

One of the more frequently asked questions is about my cooking origin. I always respond by giving my mom a shout out for starting me young, and the home economics classes and nutrition/food science degree that followed. Though my first experience with recipe development or modification actually began with Hamburger Helper, adding ingredients to improve the base-model. So while I may have developed this healthy Hamburger Helper copycat in an afternoon, there are years of testing behind it.

You may be wondering what makes this healthy Hamburger Helper recipe actually healthy.  Since the term healthy can mean something to different to every person, I’ll start by saying this recipe has more protein, fewer calories, and one more pound of broccoli than the original bacon cheeseburger Hamburger Helper. And holding true to my mission, no flavor is sacrificed in accomplishing this. In fact, I feel there’s even more flavor.

healthy hamburger helper

How to Make Healthy Hamburger Helper

I always like to run through potential questions about ingredients and recipe modifications in depth. I’ll provide a summary of ingredient notes in the actual recipe card at the bottom of this post, but the notes that follow are more thorough.

Low Calorie Cheese Sauce

First and foremost, you can’t make bacon cheeseburger Hamburger Helper without a serious dose of cheese. To accomplish this, you’ll need one of my secret weapons—cheddar powder. If you’re unfamiliar with this ingredient, it’s simply dehydrated cheddar cheese.

This stuff is amazing. You can use it in everything from low calorie cauliflower mac and cheese to low carb Cheez It crackers. Since it’s dehydrated, you can reconstitute it with lower fat ingredients like Greek yogurt, cream cheese, or even water to form a cheese sauce with tons of cheese flavor.

As for purchasing, you may be able to find it in stores, but I buy Hoosier Hill Farms on Amazon. If you want to make this recipe ASAP and don’t have cheddar powder on hand, I’ll provide a few possible alternatives in the recipe notes section below. 

cheese sauce for hamburger helper

For the rest of the cheese sauce in this healthy Hamburger Helper, I went with a mixture of fat free cream cheese and light butter. However, you have a ton of options for making your cheese sauce. Here are a few ideas:

  • Cream cheese only
  • Cream cheese and fat free Greek yogurt for more protein
  • Greek yogurt only
  • Unsweetened almond milk for a very low calorie cheese sauce (this would be great if you use a fattier cut of beef)
  • Whole milk for added fat and flavor

You get the point. As long as you avoid making your cheese sauce runny, it will work. Have fun and keep the spirit of experimentation alive with your healthy Hamburger Helper creation.

healthy hamburger helper recipe

Bacon, Broccoli, and Pasta

With only 22 grams of carbs per serving, this healthy Hamburger Helper copycat is a borderline low carb recipe. This is due to a smaller dose of pasta and the addition of a beaucoup of broccoli.

Another thing I aim to focus on with my recipes is speed. After all, my first cookbook was titled Short & Sweet. That’s why this recipe calls for a package of Barilla’s Ready Pasta that’s good to go in 60 seconds and precooked bacon. Feel free to use any pasta you’d like. Banza makes a great higher protein pasta that could give your healthy Hamburger Helper an even bigger protein boost. And you could always use cauliflower rice or a mixture of pasta and cauliflower rice.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Macro Friendly Recipes (@mason_woodruff) on

For the bacon, I used precooked real pork bacon. There are lower fat options like Al Fresco’s chicken bacon (find it at Walmart) and turkey bacon. Any bacon will work. If you’re using raw bacon and want to save time, check out my guide on cooking bacon in the microwave.

And last but not least, the broccoli. If you’d rather use fresh broccoli, you’ll want to cook it first. Use any cooking method, but I’d recommend steaming.

Okie doke, that’s all ya need to know. Before you save the recipe and get in the kitchen, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram with your creation. I appreciate the feedback and sharing always helps the little blog that could.

bacon cheeseburger with broccoli healthy hamburger helper
5 from 7 votes
Print

Bacon Cheeseburger Healthy Hamburger Helper Copycat

A low calorie spin on the classic Hamburger Helper favorite.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy hamburger helper
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 270 kcal
Author Mason Woodruff

Ingredients

Hamburger Helper Core Ingredients

  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef macros with 96/4
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 16 oz Frozen Broccoli steamable
  • 1 bag (8.5oz) Barilla Ready Pasta elbows
  • 3 slices Cooked Bacon diced

Lower Calorie Cheese Sauce

  • 6 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp (42g) Light Butter I used Land o Lakes
  • 1/4 C (32g) Cheddar Powder

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or saucepan, cook the ground beef with the paprika and black pepper. Reduce heat to low when no pink remains.

  2. While the beef cooks, add the broccoli to the microwave and cook per instructions on the package (about 5-6 minutes). After the broccoli is finished, microwave the Ready Pasta and cooked bacon. Cut the cooked bacon into bite-sized pieces. Set everything aside.

  3. Add the cream cheese and butter to a bowl. Microwave for 20-30 seconds or until both are soft enough to mix evenly. Add the cheddar powder and stir well.

  4. Add the cheese sauce to the beef before adding the pasta and bacon. Stir well before gently folding in the broccoli.

  5. Enjoy! Salt and pepper to taste. 

Recipe Notes

  • To calculate the weight or measurement of your serving sizes, I recommend weighing the total finished recipe and dividing that weight by six. For more help with this, check out my guide to using a food scale for tracking macros.
  • Refer to the notes section of this post for more info on potential swaps for cream cheese and light butter. The macros for the cheese sauce as-is are as follows: 471 calories, 29g of protein, 27g of carbs, 25g of fat
  • The macros for Ready Pasta if you decide to swap: 420 calories, 14g of protein, 84g of carbs, 4g of fat
  • Cheddar powder alternatives: Knorr cheese sauce mixes, cheese packets from boxed mac and cheese, real cheddar cheese or reduced fat cheddar cheese, or for a non-dairy option, nutritional yeast (I used a tasty mixture in my air fryer potato chips).
Nutrition Facts
Bacon Cheeseburger Healthy Hamburger Helper Copycat
Amount Per Serving (6 servings)
Calories 270 Calories from Fat 79
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.8g 14%
Total Carbohydrates 22g 7%
Protein 26.2g 52%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

What about Dessert?

If you’d like some ideas for dessert, check out my free high protein cookbook for chocolate lovers. You can enter your info below and I’ll send a copy to your email right away.

A 20-minute dinner the entire family will love. Each serving of this healthy Hamburger Helper copycat has 26 grams of protein and only 270 calories.



6 thoughts on “Healthy Hamburger Helper Copycat: Bacon Cheeseburger with Broccoli”

  • I screwed up on this recipe and forgot to add the pasta, but it was still so delicious! We used brown rice for our base, loved how creamy this recipe was.

  • Gotta be one of my favorite eat and delicious meal prep recipes. I used asparagus because I was out of broccoli but committed and it was great. I subbed for Banza for that extra protein kick. Reheated well the entire week.

  • Hubby was skeptical but since I said bacon he was in….best decision EVER. Soooo good now on a constant rotation in our house.

  • I made the dairy free version with nutritional yeast and it was awesome! This makes a ton, we had leftovers. Next time I’ll add more veggies to get even more servings for meal prepping.

  • I used the nutritional yeast mixture and it’s awesome. Super quick! I was curious about cheddar powder and ordered it after I made this. I can’t wait to make it using that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send this to a friend