Pasta shells mixed with ground beef, enchilada sauce, and shredded Mexican cheese for an easy and kid friendly pasta dish.
I realize this isn't an authentic Mexican dish by any means, but sometimes I like to branch out a little and make recipes that my family enjoys eating. If you have picky eaters, then you feel me!
I'm using some shortcuts, like store bought enchilada sauce to make this Taco Pasta Shells come together quickly for a busy weeknight.
Ingredients for Cheesy Taco Pasta Shells
Pasta, Ground Beef, Taco Seasoning, Cream Cheese, Red Enchilada Sauce, and Shredded Mexican Cheese.
Pasta- I'm using a medium pasta shell, but a different pasta shape like elbows or penne work as well.
Ground Beef- If you want a leaner options, try using Ground Turkey or omit the meat for a meatless version.
Taco Seasoning (Makes 1 tablespoon):
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- half teaspoon Salt
- half teaspoon Black Pepper
- half teaspoon Onion Powder
- half teaspoon Garlic Powder
Cream Cheese- I used half a block or 4 oz of Cream Cheese. Since I've been removing dairy from my diet, I've tried Vegan cream cheese, and think it's a great substitute for a dairy free version.
Shredded Cheese- Adding a shredded Mexican cheese blend at the end, makes this Taco Pasta shells extra cheesy. The heat from the pasta melts it perfectly.
How to Make Taco Pasta
Start by Cooking the pasta according to the package directions. Use the times for al dente pasta. Most alternative pastas will have you rinse after cooking, so be sure to read the package directions.
While pasta is cooking, brown ground beef in a large pot, I used my cast iron skillet.
Add taco seasoning, cubed cream cheese, and enchilada sauce. Mix till everything is combined.
Then add cooked pasta and the shredded cheese. Combine everything and serve with extra toppings of avocado, diced tomatoes, or sour cream.
Can the Pasta be reheated?
Absolutely! If you have leftovers, store taco pasta without toppings in the fridge up to 4 days.
Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top. If the pasta is too dry, add a few splashes of milk to get it nice and saucy again.
For more delicious pasta recipes, check these out:
Watch The YouTube Video
Cheesy Taco Pasta Recipe
- 10 oz Medium Pasta Shells Cooked to al dente
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning or Homemade: 1 teaspoon Chili Powder, half teaspoon Salt, half teaspoon Black Pepper, half teaspoon Onion Powder, half teaspoon Garlic Powder.
- 4 oz Cream Cheese Cubed
- 8 oz Red Enchilada Sauce Homemade or Store bought
- 1 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
- Optional toppings: Tomatoes, Avocado, Green Onion, Cilantro, Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
- Cook pasta shells to al dente according to package directions.
- Brown ground beef in a large skillet or Dutch Oven. Season beef with Taco Seasoning, and add cubed cream cheese. Combine until cheese is melted then add enchilada sauce and combine.
- Once pasta shells are cooked, ladle with a slotted spoon into the ground beef mixture. The pasta water will help it thicken.
- Turn off the heat, add shredded Mexican cheese blend, and combine until cheese is melted. If pasta seems to dry, add ¼ cup of milk to make it creamier.
- Serve with optional toppings: Tomatoes, Avocado, Green Onion, Cilantro, Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream.