Taco Pasta

Quick Summary

Taco Pasta- cheesy pasta shells with a hearty taco meat sauce and lots of delicious toppings! Two of the best meals come together to create ONE incredible meal that takes less than 30 minutes to make! The perfect dinner for busy weeknights!

taco pasta in pan with toppings and spoon

Taco nights and pasta nights are the BEST nights, but what about having BOTH? Let me introduce you to Taco Pasta, the best of both worlds!

First of all, you only need 25 minutes to make this taco pasta situation. It is the perfect dinner for busy weeknights. It’s always a winner because kids love it and you can have it on the dinner table in no time!

The dish is a blend of pasta noodles, ground turkey or beef, tomato sauce, taco spices, and lots of cheese! We serve the pasta with lots of delicious toppings so everyone can customize their bowl. Fun and delicious, our favorite kind of meal!

making taco pasta in skillet with pasta shells and taco meat sauce

Key Ingredients

  • Olive oil– for sautéing! You can also use avocado oil.
  • Onion– a must for tacos and pasta!
  • Ground turkey or Ground beef– use your favorite!
  • Garlic– always!
  • Tomato sauce– to add moisture to the meat and to create a rich sauce!
  • Spices/Herbs– chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano
  • Green chiles– make sure you buy mild diced green chiles.
  • Pasta– we use shells, but penne or another short pasta would work too.
  • Cheese– use shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese.
taco pasta recipe in skillet and in a bowl

How to Make Taco Pasta

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and ground turkey or ground beef. Cook until browned.
  • Add the garlic, tomato sauce, water, spices, salt, and pepper. Stir and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. Stir in the green chiles.
  • Boil a large pot of water and salt generously. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain well and add the cooked pasta to the meat sauce.
  • Stir in the cheese! Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Toppings

Now for the FUN part, the toppings! We like to set out a variety of toppings so everyone can build their own bowl of goodness!

  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Sliced green onions
  • Sliced black olives
  • Cilantro
  • Pico de gallo or salsa
  • Guacamole or avocado
  • Jalapeño slices

Serving Suggestions

The taco pasta is very filling so you technically don’t need side dishes, but if you are entertaining or want to serve a few dishes on the side, here are some ideas.

FAQ

Can you make this taco pasta recipe vegetarian?

Yes! Omit the meat and add in black beans. You can also add vegetables. A few of my favorites include bell peppers, corn, and zucchini.

Can I use a different kind of pasta?

Yes, we use shells but penne, rotini, farfalle, rigatoni, and orecchiette are all good options.

Can you use gluten-free pasta?

Absolutely! Use your favorite brand.

How do you store taco pasta?

Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

taco pasta in bowl with toppings

More Easy Pasta Recipes

Taco Pasta

Cheesy pasta shells with a hearty taco meat sauce and lots of delicious toppings! Two of the best meals come together to create ONE incredible meal that takes less than 30 minutes to make! The perfect dinner for busy weeknights!
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey, or ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 oz mild green chiles
  • 10 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese or cheddar cheese
  • Toppings: extra cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, sliced black olives, cilantro, pico de gallo or salsa, avocado, jalapeño slices

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and turkey. Cook, stirring and breaking apart the turkey with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. Stir in the green chiles.
  • Boil a large pot of water and salt generously. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain well and add the cooked pasta to the meat sauce.
  • Stir in the cheese and season with extra salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve the taco pasta in bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 312kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 52mg, Sodium: 670mg, Potassium: 426mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 798IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 187mg, Iron: 2mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. 5 stars
    Very good, kid friendly, solid meal. Thanks for another good one, Maria. 🙂
    Made as recipe directed.