Cheesy Taco Pasta
Cheesy Taco Pasta is one of my favorite ground beef pasta recipes: delicious taco meat in a homemade sauce with shell pasta. It’s ready in under 20 minutes in one pan for an easy weeknight dinner!
Taco pasta recipe is one of our favorite pasta dinner ideas: meaty, cheesy flavors and a soft, oozy texture keep everyone coming back for more!
It’s basically taco hamburger helper, those boxes of ground beef pasta. But why settle for packaged food when it’s so easy to make this Mexican dish from scratch?
You can make many recipes with this seasoning such as taco pasta salad, taco casserole, taco soup, and taco lasagna.
HOW TO MAKE TACO PASTA
This is a one pot recipe, meaning the pasta cooks together with the other ingredients. You can cook the pasta separately if you prefer, but it’s definitely easiest doing it all together.
- Start with frying ground beef, onions and garlic (optional) in a large skillet. I recommend browning the beef to build some flavor.
- Once the ground beef has some color, add in the rest of the ingredients: tomato sauce, taco seasoning, water and pasta. Cook for 5-10 minutes until your pasta is al dente.
- Remove from the heat and stir in cheese, and LOTS OF cheese to make it extra cheesy!
Serve on plates or bowls with toppings such as cilantro, sour cream, jalapeno, etc.
TACO MEAL VARIATIONS
- Use a different pasta such as elbow macaroni and turn this recipe into taco mac n cheese! Use the large pasta shells and make it into taco stuffed pasta shells.
- Bake it in the skillet with the cheese on top (10 min at 375F) for a delicious taco pasta bake
- Substitute minced turkey or chicken meat for ground beef
- Spice it up with some red pepper flakes or hot sauce.
This is a great make-ahead taco dish. Leftover taco meat pasta can be stored in the fridge for 3 days and the flavor even intensifies. Just be sure to reheat thoroughly.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- 3 cups small shell pasta
- 1 pound ground beef, lean or extra lean
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
- 1/4 cup taco seasoning
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheese, cheddar or mozzarella
- fresh cilantro, chopped, optional
- Place a large frying pan on medium-high heat.
- Add ground beef and stir until it is no longer pink. Drain fat from the pan.
- Add onions and optional garlic to the beef. Fry for 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, taco seasoning, water and pasta.
- Loosely cover the pan, reduce heat to medium.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes until the pasta is done, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese and optional fresh cilantro. Serve and enjoy!
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp salt
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