If your Cinco de Mayo menu usually consists of some sad tacos, try kicking it up a notch this year with a cheesy taco pasta. It’s become a favorite in my household because it goes from stove to table in less than 30 minutes. Plus, I don’t mind that it only dirties one pot!
But don’t just save it for your Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Make it for Taco Tuesday or anytime you want a simple, tasty meal that can feed a crowd. Top it with some chopped tomatoes and cilantro or avocado for a fresh kick.
Use any bite-sized noodle from your pantry. I’ve tried rotini, large shells, radiatore, and even farfalle — all do a delicious job of soaking up the flavorful Mexican-inspired meat sauce.
For the jarred salsa, I think Herdez adds the best flavor. I like a little kick so I used medium or spicy salsa and even add a dash of cayenne pepper. If you like things milder, or if you’re serving this to a mixed-age crowd, maybe skip these heat enhancing steps.
Easy, Cheesy Taco Pasta
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp homemade taco seasoning (or 1 store-bought packet)
- 1 tsp cayenne (optional, if you like a bit more heat)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup jarred salsa
- 8 ounces dried pasta (I like radiatore, but you can use rotini, large shells, or any bite-sized shape you choose)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend or cheddar)
- 1 slicing tomato, chopped (optional)
- Small handful of cilantro (optional)
- Sliced avocado (optional)
- Add ground beef to a large, deep skillet set to medium heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Crumble beef as it browns. Cook until no more pink is visible. Drain grease.
- Sprinkle in taco seasoning and water and stir. Add salsa and pasta noodles. Bring skillet to a boil. Stir then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook for 15 more minutes, or until pasta is tender.
- Remove from heat and add in cheese. Stir until melted.
- Top with tomato, cilantro, or avocado, and serve!
Cooking a fiesta at home? See, Easy chicken enchiladas recipe.