Caveboy Casserole

This is a grain-free spin on the classic cowboy casserole. Using corn-free cornbread as the topping, and perfectly seasoned ground beef mixed with sauteéd veggies as the base. This will quickly become a family favorite.

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I’m confused. How is it possibly 1 day away from February? I don’t even know what happened to the last 30 days. I hope the rest of the year isn’t like this, or I will need 48 hours in a day. I’ve been a bit swamped with work stuffs (yeah, stuffs, that’s no typo), which is always a good thing because job security is awesome and all that.

My baby is turning 3 in February. I absolutely love this age, though she’s currently in a very headstrong, independent, I’ll-say-no-to-everything-you-say-just-to-be-a-jerk-even-if-I-really-want-that-banana stage, which is pretty frustrating. But she’s so freaking cute that I can’t help but laugh when she defiantly crosses her arms, humphs, and turns away when she doesn’t get what she wants.

February can be a pretty gloomy month in the colder parts of the world, and when we lived in Minnesota, we were all “yeah, let’s go to Florida for the month” and it was so great, hearing about the massive snowstorm that closed the schools in half the state while we were on the beach. I don’t even like the beach but that was pretty great. But we’re in Colorado now, so we get these glorious breaks in the weather where we’ll have a few 60 degree days between snowstorms, and I can live with that. But I do love me a good snowstorm so long as I’ve got nowhere to go.

Blizzards also conjure happy feelings for me. Our almost-3-year-old was born in the middle of a blizzard, at home, and it was quite possibly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Watching the snow fall outside a big picture window reminds me of all those beautiful moments and the emotions that came with them, and I love it. So bring on the snow, but not the ice, because the ice pretty much sucks.

Caveboy Casserole | Our Paleo Life

So, I’m one of those people that sees a pound of ground beef and immediately thinks “spaghetti” or “burgers”. Totally from my pre-paleo brainwashing. I know there are a million other uses, but my brain just usually shuts down at that point. It’s taken some time to get past that mental roadblock and realize there’s more to ground beef than that.

One day, I went through my old recipe cards (yeah, I actually have a little plastic container of recipe cards) for some inspiration and came across this recipe for a Cowboy Casserole that I hadn’t made in forever. I was kind of wanting some comfort food so I made (quite a few) alterations to it and came up with something fantastic! I have actually made this recipe about a dozen times, changing things up a bit here and there until it was just right. I also made it for non-paleo dinner guests and they loved it, so that’s always good news.

Caveboy Casserole

And yeah, since this is a paleo dish, I’m ditching the “cowboy” part and adding something a bit more appropriate, hence the “Caveboy Casserole”. I know, I’m so totally clever. I wonder how old my kids will be when they start getting embarrassed by me…

Caveboy Casserole | Our Paleo Life

Caveboy Casserole

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This is a grain-free spin on the classic cowboy casserole. Using corn-free cornbread as the topping, and perfectly seasoned ground beef mixed with sautéed veggies as the base. This will quickly become a family favorite.


  • 2 lb Grass-Fed Ground Beef
  • 2 batches Taco Seasoning
  • 3 tsp Arrowroot Starch
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, optional
  • 1 large Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 Bell Peppers, any color, diced
  • 3 Plum Tomatoes, or one big Tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 can Black Olives, sliced
  • 1 small can Diced Green Chiles, optional
  • 1 batch Paleo Cornbread, leave out the honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast-iron), brown the beef completely, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet you cooked the beef, add the olive oil (if there is not enough fat left over from the beef), then add the onions and peppers and stir-fry until translucent and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the beef back into the skillet, along with ¾ of the olives and all of the tomatoes.
  5. Combine the arrowroot starch and the Taco Seasoning then pour into the skillet and stir to combine everything.
  6. Pour the prepared Cornbread batter over everything in the baking dish. Spread to cover evenly, all the way to the edges. Top with the remaining sliced olives and diced green chiles, if desired. I like to add the chiles to only half of the skillet so there is a mild side available.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until cornbread is completely cooked through.
  8. Serve with a dollop of grass-fed sour cream (for primal, not paleo).


NOTE about quantity: This makes a lot of food, enough for our family of 5 plus leftovers. Cut in half if you don't need that much.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 571Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 15gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 1729mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 24g

Nutrition is calculated by a third party and may not be 100% accurate

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  1. Hi! What if I don’t have an oven safe skillet? Is there a way to adapt this to just go into a baking dish? Any suggestions on how to make it work best? 🙂 Thanks!

    1. You can put everything in a baking dish, I’ve used a Pyrex dish before. I think I used the 9×3 casserole size. If you split the recipe in half, then an 8×8 dish would be better. Same cooking time for both.

  2. Hi just wondering how much roughly would be in either a can of olives or chilis if using fresh instead? thanks

    1. According to the can’s serving size, there are about 55 olives. I would guesstimate about 1/4-1/3 cup of the chiles.

  3. We made this last night, and loved it! It was a good ‘comfort food’ for us 2 month paleo newbies. Didnt have black olives in the pantry, was still very good but we could see what the olives would have added. Also, we made this in a 2qt glass baking dish, which was the perfect size.Thanks!

  4. @Lynn, I added the links for the taco seasoning and corn bread. Thanks for catching that.

    @Breezy, I never add liquid. The meat should be moist enough that you don’t need any, but it’s not like the store-bought seasoning packets that need a cup of water or something.

  5. This sounds delicious and I am excited to try it. Question…can you replace the arrowroot starch with anything else? If not, where can I buy this? Thanks!!

  6. Lovely recipe. Enjoy that snow.

    February 1926 in the high forests of then rural Colorado, my mother was born. Her grandmother delivered her short after her father died — 2 months early. Her grandmother kept the tiny infant alive, using a boot box full of oatmeal near a wood burning stove as an NICU. In the late 50’s, that preemie was a mother who had discovered how to integrate healthy into hostess-with-the mostess meals. I grew up eating nutrient rich whole foods and passed that bone-deep knowledge to the next generation.

    Over the holidays, my mother passed. Her life was remarkable, especially for a preemie born with 7 month babies didn’t survive. I love seeing mothers rediscovering what our great-grandmothers knew — how nourish our family’s bodies, minds and spirits.

    Believe in yourself and keep loving your family.

  7. Kendra where are the links for the cornbread and taco seasoning at? Thanks for your help. I can’t wait to try this recipe!!!

  8. Dawn, they are linked in this recipe. Just click on those ingredients and you’ll be take to those recipes. Hope you like it!

  9. The family loved it, making it again tonight. This has made it into our bi-weekly menu rotation. It really is wonderful. Thanks

  10. The links to the cornbread and seasoning have gone missing :/. They used to be there – what to do? This is my go to dish! 🙂

  11. @Tom, the links are still there, but it looks like the hover colors are too subtle. I’ll work on fixing that. Just click the words in the recipe. Should take you right to them.

  12. I hate to burst your bubble but cornbread is not Paleo. Corn in any form is considered a grain. And most, if not all, is GMO.

  13. @Joyce. I hate to burst YOUR bubble, but the cornbread recipe linked in the ingredient list does not contain corn.

  14. Delicious! It’s now one of my go to recipes! I added chopped up pepperchinis instead of the can of green chili’s. Yum!

    I made it today and am hoping it will reheat for tomorrow nights dinner. Thanks for sharing this!

  16. I made this two nights ago and we all loved it. I was wondering about the size of cans to use for the olives and the green chili’s, but I just winged it. Thanks for sharing your recipe. This will definitely be on our meal rotation!

  17. I made this last night for the first time and it was OUTSTANDING. All four of us loved it, including my two picky preteens. One of my sons said it reminded him a little of a favorite non-paleo recipe I used to make, Cheeseburger Biscuit Bake (which is topped with canned biscuits!). I ended up making a double batch of the cornbread topping because I was using a big skillet and one batch wouldn’t cover all the meat. This will definitely become a standard in my rotation.

  18. I made this to take to a potluck and it was devoured by just just about all non-paleoer’s. It’s delicious!

  19. Thank you for creating and sharing this recipe. I’ve made it several times now and it’s definitely a family favorite. I’d also like to add that it’s a forgiving recipe and easy to customize. I love the “cornbread” topping; it really makes the recipe and satisfies my cravings for non-paleo food, lol. Thanks again for a great recipe!

  20. this was wonderful! Thank you for sharing all these tips and recipes..really helps those of us without the create gene;)

  21. As of today did not find your recipes for Arrowroot starch and taco seasoning.
    Where????? Couldn’t click on ingredients to find it.

    Is this the same as the Arrowroot found in the spice dept. in the grocery store?

    You didn’t say if chilies avd olives should be drained? If not it doesn’t seem there would be any liquid in the casserole

    Pls respond ASAP , and with the recipe again too, so I can bring this to a holiday brunch and be the hit of the party🤣🤣🤣

    Thx so much,

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