Southwest ground beef recipe

Nutritional values (in one serving)
744 Calorie
48 g Thick
35 g Carbohydrates
43 g Protein

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Nutritional values
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calorie 744
% Daily Value*
48 g 61%
Saturated fatty acids 19 g 93%
148 mg 49%
920 mg 40%
35 g 13 %
Dietary fiber 3g 10%
Total sugars 6g
43 g
Vitamin C 56 mg 279%
Calcium 413 mg 32%
Iron 6 mg 31%
Potassium 747 mg 16%
*% Daily Value (DV) tells you how much of a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to your daily diet. 2000 calories per day is used for general nutritional guidance.

(Nutritional information is calculated using the ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Also known as John Wayne Casserole, this dish is a delicious blend of ground beef, vegetables, pickled jalapeños, and cheese, all layered on a cookie crust. This recipe is completely different from the original: It contains no eggs and adds a cookie crust and ground beef, but maintains the original Southwestern inspiration by including pickled jalapeños, tomatoes and cheese.

Note: This recipe has been renamed because the Hollywood actor it was originally named after has publicly expressed racist views that are inconsistent with Dotdash Meredith’s values.

“This casserole made a great, satisfying everyday meal. It was easy to put together and bake, and the flavors were delicious. The jalapeño peppers flavored the sour cream, and you can substitute mild peppers if you want less heat. I’ll probably cut back to a smaller can of tomatoes when I’m do again.” -Diana Rattray

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 (16 oz.) can large cookies

  • 2 soup spoon olive oil

  • 2 pounds ground beef, preferably 85% poor

  • 1 (1 ounce) packet Taco seasoning

  • 1/3 cup water

  • kosher salt, as required

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced

  • 1 medium red pepper, sliced

  • 1 medium green pepper, sliced

  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 8 ounce grated mild cheddar cheese, divided

  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeños

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  2. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Spray a large baking dish liberally with cooking spray.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  3. Place the cookies in the baking dish in a single layer and press them together to form a single layer of dough.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  4. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  5. While the cookies are baking, add 1 tablespoon oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  6. Drain off most of the excess fat from the pan. Add taco seasoning, water and salt to taste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  7. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, paprika and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  8. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are heated through, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  9. Combine sour cream, half the cheddar, and jalapeños in a medium bowl.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  10. Layer the ingredients evenly on the baked cookie crust in this order; ground beef, onion-pepper-tomato mixture, sour cream-cheddar mixture, then sprinkle with remaining cheese.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  11. For two layers, divide the mixture in half, layer twice according to the instructions above, leaving the cheese only on the top layer.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  12. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown slightly, about 20 minutes.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  13. Remove from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

Recipe tip; Make Ahead

This is a great baking dish that can be frozen fully baked (remember to use a tin foil to transfer from freezer to oven safely). Cool completely after baking and then wrap tightly in plastic. Freeze for up to three months. Reheat in a 350F oven until heated through.

Recipe variations

  • For a bolder topping, replace 1/2 cup of sour cream with mayonnaise.
  • Replace the ground beef with ground turkey.
  • Instead of canned tomatoes, place a layer of diced tomatoes — about 2 to 3 fresh tomatoes — on top of the ground beef.

How to store and freeze

  • Put the remaining casserole in the refrigerator in a covered container within 2 hours of preparation and eat within 3 to 4 days.
  • To freeze leftovers, transfer to a freezer container and label with name and date – freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

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