The BEST Taco Pasta [video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

Taco Pasta makes for a cheesy and meaty dinner option that is easy to prepare! It is a runaway winner in my household, and it only takes 30 minutes to make!

If you are in the mood for some Mexican dinners like this, then, check out my other recipes like the Mexican Black Bean Salad, Carne Asada, and Chipotle Sofritas!

Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta Recipe

Taco Pasta is a combination of my family’s two favorites – anything Mexican and Italian! Whoever thought of combining these two in one ultimate dish was a genius!

It has everything you are looking for in a hearty main dish! It is filling, quick, and easy to make. In this dish, I used ground beef that contributes much flavor and is made even more flavorful with seasonings, herbs, salsa, sour cream, and cheese.

This is so easy, it will not take you much time to make it. Preparing the shell pasta might actually be the longest thing that you will do to cook this dish.

Perfect for potlucks, gatherings, and any family occasion, this dish will surely be something to rave about!

What is Taco Pasta?

It is a dish made with cooked noodles of your choice and a taco-inspired sauce. It is the sauce that gives the overall Mexican flavor and vibe to this dish.

Taco Pasta

How do you make Taco Pasta:

  • Boil the noodles: Cook the noodles by following the instructions on the package.
  • Cook the meat: In a large pan, add some canola oil, brown the beef, and drain the resulting fat. Add in the onions, garlic, and the rest of the herbs and seasonings. Add some water and cook until it dries up.
  • Combine: Toss in the cooked noodles, salsa, and cheese.
  • Serve: Garnish with the crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, chopped parsley, and cheese.

How do you make homemade taco seasoning:

It is simply a combination of easy-to-find pantry ingredients such as the following:

  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, garlic powder, dried onion powder, oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

You can also add some cayenne powder to make it spicier. You can keep this mixture in a spice jar for up to 6 months. This works great for beef or chicken and can be versatile – tweak the ratio according to your preference.

Taco Pasta

How to cook pasta al dente?

The simplest and easiest trick is not a trick at all. The secret to perfectly cooked noodles is on its packaging! Simply follow the procedure given on the box and it must give you the perfect noodles that are just right – not too firm but not too mushy either.

Here are some techniques to help you through:

  • Use a large enough pot: There should be enough space for the water to boil in and for the pasta not to get too compact. Boiling in itself can make the pieces move around which means less chance to clump up.
  • Add salt when the water starts to boil: Putting salt will season the noodles.
  • Reserve the water: The water in which you boil the noodles in will be starchy, thanks to the starch coming from the pasta itself. Save a cup of it or so and put it in the sauce. The starchy water makes for a good binder so that the sauce sticks to the noodles.

Taco Pasta

How to store:

  • Refrigerator: Cool it completely and keep in the fridge for 3 days, stored in an airtight container.
  • Freezer: Keep it in airtight freezer containers for 2 months.

Recipe Tips:

  • You can use ground chicken or turkey as healthy alternatives to beef.
  • Add some fiber and a pop of color by adding in bell peppers and tomatoes.
  • Elbow macaroni, rotini, and penne are good substitutes to the shells.
  • To make this vegetarian, you can totally leave out the meat. Instead, add protein by adding beans.

Save Recipe
5 from 5 reviews
Cheesy Taco Pasta
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound  large shells pasta 
  • 1 tablespoon  canola oil 
  • 1 pound  ground beef 
  • 1  yellow onion  (diced)
  • 4 cloves  garlic  (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons  taco seasoning 
  • 1/2 teaspoon  dried oregano 
  • 1 tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon  red pepper flakes 
  • 3/4 cup  water 
  • 1 cup  jarred salsa 
  • 1 1/2 cups  cheddar cheese  (shredded)
  •  Salt to taste 
  •  Pepper to taste 

Garnish:

  •  Cheese 
  •  Crushed tortilla chips 
  •  Sour cream 
  •  Chopped parsley 

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according box directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Once it starts sizzling add the ground beef and brown well, breaking it with a spoon until no longer pink.
  3. Drain the fat.
  4. Add the onion and garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the taco seasoning, dried oregano, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add 3/4 cup of water, stir and cook until water is gone.
  6. Add the pasta to the pan. Add the salsa and cheese. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve immediately, preferably with crunchy tortilla chips, sour cream and more cheese on top.
Calories: 432 Carbohydrates: 34 Protein: 25 Fat: 20 Saturated Fat: 7 Cholesterol: 59 Sodium: 634 Potassium: 486 Fiber: 2 Sugar: 4 Vitamin A: 445 Vitamin C: 2.9 Calcium: 162 Iron: 2.6
Save Recipe

Taco Pasta

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Comments

Leave a reply

Tara Pittman

My family would love taco pasta. They love pasta and tacos so the combination would be amazing.

Reply

Liz Mays

Delicious! These flavors are always a hit in this house and the pasta is a great idea. I'd love to give this a try.

Reply

Anne Marie

I love anything with Mexican flavors! This looks like such an easy and tasty weeknight dish.

Reply

Reesa LEWANDOWSKI

This is a fun twist on taco tuesday!!! And what a great meal to feed a crowd!

Reply

Janel

We love taco night. This will be a fun change of pace.

Reply

Geralen

I am looking forward to trying this recipe, but what are the measurements for the homemade taco seasoning?

Reply

Hi, I have updated the post with the measurements.

Reply

Karin

I don't see anywhere on the Taco Pasta how ,much of each of the spices you use to create the taco seasoning

Reply

Hi, I have updated the post.

Reply

Ariana

Loved it and was so easy and fast... thank you so much! 

Reply

Renee Robson

My family absolutely loved this recipe, I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Reply

Vicki B

I would love to try this recipe. My husband doesn't like taco seasoning. Can you tell me what I should leave out of the ingredients shown above to just make it without the Mexican flavoring?

Reply

Just leave out the Taco Seasoning and you will be good!

Reply

Kelly

This was great! My family love it. We used ground Italian sausage instead of beef. Easy and delicious!

Reply

Ginny M.

This was good. I much preferred it with sour cream. My family liked it. This is great for a fast weeknight meal, especially since I usually have the ingredients on hand. I used a store bought taco seasoning which is fine. I think the taco seasoning recipe given would be better. I recommend it.

Reply

Janet Coffelt

This dish was absolutely delicious.. I mixed the ground meat with Italian sausage.

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Clem

It was a winner in my household!! The kids loved it!!

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Jenni M

This was absolutely DELICIOUS! Going into a favs rotation! We all loved it

Reply

HRC

Why do you add oil to your hamburger meat.

Reply

makes it easier to get a nice brown color, after that, I discard the grease.

Reply

Amanda Nolte

Definitely a quick and easy one. I made a few tweaks- added some extra freshly diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Couldn’t let them go bad in the fridge!! Also... the recipe says large pasta shells but I think I’m going to use the small ones next time. Just for simpler mixing

Reply

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