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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Cheesy Taco Pasta – Crunchy Creamy Sweet


This cheesy Taco Pasta is cooked in one pot and packed with macaroni, ground beef, taco seasoning, delicious sauce, corn, and black beans. A family favorite done in 30 minutes!

Macaroni pasta dish with black beans and melted cheese in a Dutch oven.
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Why This Recipe Works

Do you ever have days when you crave two different dishes for dinner? Let’s say: tacos and pasta. That was us recently. And since necessity is a mother of invention, I had to give it a try and combine both to make one dish: Taco Pasta! And boy, was it a winner!

Ground beef seasoned with my homemade taco seasoning, simmered in tomato sauce with broth to cook the pasta in one pot sounds perfect already. But then I added black beans, corn, and of course, lots of cheese on top. One word: delicious! At least, that’s what my kids said after just one bite!

This taco pasta cooks in one dish so less cleanup after the meal. That’s another plus of this recipe! Want more? How about making it in advance to save even more on prep time? Yep, you can make this pasta and refrigerate it for later or freeze it.

Ingredients:

All ingredients for taco pasta in bowls on a white tile board.All ingredients for taco pasta in bowls on a white tile board.
  • beef: I used lean ground beef;
  • pasta: I recommend any bite-size pasta, I used macaroni;
  • crushed tomatoes: a base for the sauce;
  • tomato sauce: adds more tomato flavor to the dish;
  • taco seasoning: I used my homemade taco seasoning mix; it’s so much better than the store-bought mix;
  • garlic and onion: add delicious flavor to the dish;
  • broth: liquid needed to cook the pasta;
  • corn and black beans: our favorite add-on ingredients in this dish; optional;
  • cheese: I used a mix of mild cheddar and pepper Jack cheese.

How to make taco pasta?

  • In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, saute garlic and onion in olive oil.
  • Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add seasoning and cook for 2 more minutes, over medium heat.
  • Add a splash of broth and deglaze the bottom of the pan.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and remaining stock. Stir in.
Cooked ground beef in a Dutch oven and meat with tomato sauce and broth.Cooked ground beef in a Dutch oven and meat with tomato sauce and broth.
  • Add pasta to the pot and stir in. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the pasta is done, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir often to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Once the pasta absorbs most of the stock, the mixture should be thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Macaroni noodles added to the pot and cooked meat and pasta in a Dutch oven.Macaroni noodles added to the pot and cooked meat and pasta in a Dutch oven.
  • Add corn and beans and stir in.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese over the dish, remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes.
  • Serve garnished with crushed red pepper flakes, chopped cilantro or parsley.
Corn and black beans added to the meat mixture and shredded cheese sprinkled on top.Corn and black beans added to the meat mixture and shredded cheese sprinkled on top.

Helpful Tips!

  • If your ground meat is releasing a lot of liquid, drain it with a ladle or soak it up with paper towels.
  • Add your favorite salsa along with crushed tomatoes for a more bell pepper flavor.
  • Use penne, shells, or other bite-size pasta.
  • Shred the cheese using a box grater. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with starch to prevent clumping and doesn’t melt as well.
  • This dish is quick but to save even more time, cook the pasta separately, at the same time you are cooking the beef. Add drained pasta to the finished dish, just before topping it with cheese.
Close up of taco pasta with beef in a white bowl.Close up of taco pasta with beef in a white bowl.

Variations:

  • vegetarian: skip the beef for a meatless version; add chopped bell peppers and more onion;
  • chicken: use ground chicken or cooked and shredded chicken breast;
  • rice: skip the pasta and add rice to the dish; use 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of broth;
  • veggies: add bell peppers, jalapenos, green chiles, etc.
  • toppings: use sour cream, chopped cilantro, chopped avocados, or any other taco toppings to serve with this pasta.

Recipe FAQs:

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Absolutely! This dish can be made up to 2 days in advance or cooked, cooled completely and frozen for up to 2 months. Add the cheese just before serving, since melted cheese doesn’t freeze well.

What to serve with this dish?

This pasta dish pairs so well with crispy tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream and a generous amount of freshly squeezed lime juice.

Storing and reheating leftovers:

All leftovers should be stored in a container with a lid, in a fridge. They should be fine for up to 4 days. To reheat, place leftovers in a deep skillet, add a splash of water or stock and stir in. Heat up over medium-low heat setting.

Macaroni with taco meat and melted cheese on top in an orange Le Creuset pan.Macaroni with taco meat and melted cheese on top in an orange Le Creuset pan.

More dinner recipes:

If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!

Macaroni pasta dish with black beans and melted cheese in a Dutch oven.Macaroni pasta dish with black beans and melted cheese in a Dutch oven.

Taco Pasta

This cheesy Taco Pasta is cooked in one pot and packed with macaroni, ground beef, taco seasoning, delicious sauce, corn, and black beans. A family favorite done in 30 minutes!

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Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 35 minutes

Course Main Dish

Cuisine American

Servings 5 servings

Calories 745 kcal

Ingredients 

 

Instructions 

  • In a deep 10″ skillet, heat up olive oil over medium heat.

    1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Add onion and garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often.

    1 medium yellow onion, 3 garlic cloves

  • Add beef and cook until no longer pink.

    1 lb ground beef

  • Season meat with salt, pepper and taco seasoning. Stir well.

    ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons taco seasoning

  • Add a splash of broth and deglaze the pan (scrape all the cooked on bits from the bottom of the pan).

    2 cups vegetable broth

  • Add remaining broth and tomato sauce. Stir in.

    4 oz tomato sauce

  • Add pasta and stir in. Brint the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked. Cover the pan but stir once every few minutes, to preven the pasta from sticking to the pan.

    1 ½ cups macaroni pasta

  • Add crushed tomatoes when pasta is almost done. Stir in.

    1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes

  • Add corn and black beans. Stir in and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.

    15 oz can of whole-kernel corn, 15 oz can of black beans

  • Remove the pot from the heat.

  • Sprinkle cheese on top of pasta and cover. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

    ¾ cup shredded pepper Jack cheese, ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Serve with salsa, sour cream, chopped cilantro or parsley.

Notes

  • If your meat is releasing a lot of grease/liquid, drain it with a ladle or a spoon or soak up with paper towels.
  • You can use any bite-size pasta.
  • Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.

Nutrition

Calories: 745kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 1171mg | Potassium: 1150mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1078IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 332mg | Iron: 6mg

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