This Crunchy Taco Pasta is loaded with your favorite taco flavors and swimming in a cheesy seasoned sauce. Best of all, it can be on your table in just 15 minutes!
This easy meal so quick and easy to prepare, it is the perfect family meal when you are pressed for time but still crave something homemade. It is similar to a Hamburger Helper meal, except that it uses real ingredients!
Ingredients You will Need
- Bowtie pasta - I like bowtie for this meal, but any similarly sized pasta will work such as rigatoni, macaroni, shells, or penne.
- Hamburger - To save on calories, a 90/10 hamburger will be perfect.
- Taco seasoning
- Shredded taco cheese - Mild cheddar is a good substitute as well.
- Sour cream - This is used as a topping.
- Tortilla chips - Use these to create a crunchy topping.
The salsa infused cheese sauce, and seasoned beef, really add a lot of flavor to this dish, but I think the crunchy bites of tortilla chips is what makes this meal exceptional! Your family will love the combination of textures and flavors this taco pasta brings to your plate.
How to make it
The key to any hamburger dish is to brown the meat properly. Properly ground burger adds a much deeper flavor than grayed meat. Once the meat has been cooked you can add taco seasoning with some water to help it dispearse.
Once the water has simmered out add the milk, salsa, and cheese and stir together. Let this simmer for approximately 3 minutes, or until it thickens into a sauce.
Finally, add cooked pasta along with fresh vegetables to your dish and stir them all together. Serve topped with crumbled tortilla chips and sour cream. Adding green onion adds a fresh upgrade as well!
Tips and Tricks
- 80/20 ground hamburger typically has a little more flavor because it is fattier, however, in dishes like this I tend to stick to leaner grinds because you can't really taste a difference. Save calories any time you can!
- This recipe can easily be doubled for a larger meal.
- Customize this recipe by adding your favorite ingredients, like peppers, hot sauce, or guacamole.
- This does not HAVE to be a beef taco pasta dish, try substituting some flavorful chorizo or ground chicken! If using chorizo I would omit the taco seasoning since chorizo is strongly flavored already.
- Make this meal vegetarian with black beans instead of meat.
Leftovers can easily be stored in your refrigerator in an airtight container to be enjoyed later. The tortilla chips will become soggy, so it is best to add those immediately prior to serving.
It is best to reheat this dish in individual serving bowls in the microwave rather than all at once. The portions on the outer edges get hot more quickly than the interior, so it is important to stir it as it cooks. The total cooking time will vary depending on the quantity heated.
More Taco-inspired Creations
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15 Minute Crunchy Taco Pasta
- Cook pasta according to package instructions till al dente.
- While pasta is cooking brown hamburger in skillet.
- Add water to browned hamburger and stir in taco seasoning. Cook until water evaporates and seasoning has dispersed.
- Add milk, salsa, and taco cheese to the hamburger and stir to combine until all cheese has melted. Let simmer till thickened into a sauce, ~3 minutes.
- Drain pasta from water, add chopped onions and pour hamburger mixture into a pot with pasta. Stir to combine.
- Serve topped with a generous sprinkling of crushed tortilla shells, sprinkling of green onion, and a dollop of sour cream.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com March 4, 2017.