Enjoy the best of both worlds with Healthy Taco Pasta. Perfect for when you can’t decide, need something quick, or want a kid-friendly meal sure to fill bellies. Made with ground beef, select veggies, pasta, and more!
Just when I thought pasta couldn’t get more delicious…
When anyone asks me what my all-time favorite dinner is, I usually say that it’s a tie between pasta, tacos, and pizza. Well, imagine my delight when I got the idea to combine two of those into one grand-slam dish of taco pasta goodness.
Healthy taco pasta uses the taco ingredients that we all love (think chopped onions, peppers, and ground beef), and combines that with familiar pasta dish ingredients like tomato sauce and, well… pasta, to create a flavor-packed dish that would put a smile on anyone’s face (and belly!).
I love making pasta casseroles with “traditional” veggies (broccoli, onion, and green pepper), so I figured why not try it with taco ingredients!
This pasta bake recipe is made complete with a generous layer of cheddar cheese that melts to perfection when baked. If you want to go the extra mile, let it broil for the last couple of minutes to get a delicious charred cheddar taste that’s absolutely unbeatable.
Ingredients used to make healthy taco casserole
This recipe consists of many of our favorite taco ingredients like onion, red pepper, ground beaf, black beans, and corn. When combined with pasta and topped with delicious cheddar cheese, this meal turns into a casserole bake that provides Tex-Mex flavor and cozy warmth!
- Olive oil
- White onion
- Red pepper
- Ground beef
- Black beans
- Taco seasoning
- Diced tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Shredded cheddar cheese
All of the kitchen tools you’ll need
This recipe calls for a casserole dish, nonstick spray, and a few other items. Rather than using a separate pot for the pasta and for the taco ingredients, you can use the same one if that’s easier. Just make sure it’s large enough to hold all of the ingredients!
- Casserole dish
- Nonstick spray
- Large cooking pot
- Large pan or dutch oven
- Stirring utensil
For measuring, you’ll need to be able to measure out a teaspoon, a tablespoon, and a cup.
How to make healthy taco pasta
This recipe begins by boiling the pasta and then moves into sautéing the veggies and preparing the casserole. All of the taco ingredients simmer and mix together on the stove for an easy clean up! This recipe should take about 20-25 minutes to make. It’s quick, easy, and perfectly savory.
First, preheat the oven to 350F and grease a casserole dish. I’m using a 9×13 pan size but you can use whatever you have. Baking time will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Cook your pasta according to the package, and then drain and set aside.
Next, place a large pan or dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat and add oil. Once hot, add the onion and pepper.
After a few minutes when the onions and peppers begin to soften, add garlic.
One minute later, add the ground beef. Cook until it’s no longer pink, and then drain everything in a fine mesh strainer.
Add it back to the pan and turn on low heat.
Then, add the corn, beans, taco seasoning and then stir to combine. Finally, add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Let simmer for 5 minutes over low heat, and then stir in the cooked pasta.
Pour everything into a casserole dish and top with cheddar cheese. Toss in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Let cool and enjoy!
How to customize taco casserole
I encourage you to make this dish your own. Hate onions? Leave ’em out! Like a little spice? Add jalapeños, hot sauce, or chiles! This dish is sure to be delicious no matter how it’s made.
For a vegan dish, skip the beef and the cheese. That’s it! You can top with nutritional yeast or a dairy-free cheese if you’d like.
Feel free to omit the beef or use a plant-based alternative to create a meat-free healthy taco pasta dish. Either option will be delicious!
Use turkey or chicken
You can most definitely use turkey, chicken, or any other ground meat (including vegan options) in place of ground beef. Use your favorite and make this dish your own!
Finally, feel free to get as creative as you’d like and add extra veggies as you see fit. Add extra onion, peppers, and tomatoes or mix things up with green chilis, olives, and/or jalapeños!
Make healthy taco pasta ahead of time
If a gathering or fun occasion is just around the corner, or you simply want to stock your freezer with make-ahead meals, this is a great one to prepare!
To save this meal for a later date, simply prepare everything as directed, stopping just before the step that involves baking. When everything is in your casserole dish, let it cool before covering in plastic wrap or foil and placing in the freezer.
When the time comes to make your casserole, remove it from the freezer, allow it to thaw, and then bake as directed! It will be just as creamy, cheesy, and delicious.
Note: If using this bake-later method, you will not want to store the hot leftovers a second time. Try to eat it all up (though I’m sure this won’t be a problem)!
If you like healthy taco pasta, you’ll love these too!
Pasta doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many ways to prepare it that go far beyond the traditional pasta and tomato sauce recipe! Here are some ideas that are just as flavorful as this ground beef pasta bake.
- Healthy Greek Pasta Salad
- Pasta with Creamy Vegan Walnut Tomato Sauce
- Healthy One Post Pasta Recipe
- And, to go on top… Roasted Red Pepper Vegan Romesco Sauce
- 4 cups dry pasta (I used brown rice fusilli)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large white onion, diced.
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 small red pepper, diced.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15oz can corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred)
- 1 15oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease 9×13 casserole dish.
- Cook your pasta according to package. Drain accordingly. Set aside.
- In a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil. Once hot, add onion and pepper.
- After a few minutes when onions and peppers begin to soften, add garlic.
- One minute later, add ground beef. Cook until no longer pink, then drain everything in fine mesh strainer.
- Add back to pan and turn on low heat.
- Add black beans, corn and taco seasoning. Stir to combine, then add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
- Let simmer for 5 minutes over low heat, then stir in cooked pasta.
- Pour into casserole dish and top with cheddar cheese. Bake in oven for 10 minutes at 350.
- Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
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