This taco pasta recipe is so easy, noodles tossed with ground meat and tomato sauce seasoned with flavorful taco seasonings. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal.
Taco Pasta is the Best Easy Weeknight Dinner
Pasta night! There is always room for a great pasta recipe on the menu.
When we traveled to Italy not long ago, we enjoyed all manner of pastas. There is a wonderful variety of shapes and forms and sauce combinations.
We flatly ADORE Italian cuisine. But as you know, we ALSO adore Mexican cuisine and decided to make this pasta with Mexican ingredients.
Behold! A Taco Pasta recipe! And it is awesome.
The mix of pasta noodles with your favorite ground meat and tomato sauce seasoned with taco seasonings is one you'll come back to over and over again. I'm sure it will be a family favorite.
And bonus, it's super quick and easy to make, done in about 30 minutes.
Let's talk about how to make taco pasta, shall we?
Taco Pasta Ingredients Needed
- Jalapeno Peppers. Use bell peppers for a much milder version of this recipe, or go with hotter peppers to spice things up!
- Onion and Garlic.
- Olive Oil. For cooking.
- Ground Meat. I enjoy using ground pork and spicy Mexican chorizo, though you can use other meats, like ground chicken or ground beef.
- Tomatoes. Use canned crushed tomatoes, or use the equivalent of fresh chopped or diced tomatoes (just cook them down nicely).
- Hot Sauce. Use your favorite brand to spice things up.
- Homemade Taco seasoning. Or use an equal blend of Spanish Paprika, Ancho Powder and Cayenne Powder with a few extra sprinkles of Cumin.
- Mexican Crema or Sour Cream. Optional, for a creamy version.
- Noodles. Use Fideo noodles - or sub in spaghetti or vermicelli noodles, though the recipe works with most noodle types. Use what you love!
- Cotija Cheese. For serving.
How to Make Taco Pasta - the Recipe Method
First, heat a large skillet or pan to medium high heat and add jalapeno, onion and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook about 5 minutes to soften.
Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
Add ground pork and brown on each side. Break it up and cook it most of the way through.
Add the crushed tomatoes and stir. Bring to a very slight boil then reduce heat to simmer over medium low heat.
Add cilantro, hot sauce (if using) and seasonings and stir to incorporate. Simmer about 20 minutes or so to allow flavors to develop.
Add the pasta noodles to boiling water, boiling about 12 minutes in salted water to al dente. Add a couple of spoonsful of the pasta water to your sauce and stir. Be sure to follow the directions on the product label, depending on the noodles you are using.
Remove sauce from heat and stir in the Crema or sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss with cooked pasta and top with shredded Cotija cheese.
BOOM! Done! Great stuff, isn't it? Your taco pasta is ready to serve. Perfect for a quick weeknight family meal, and easy to spice up as much as you'd like to.
Don't forget the extra hot sauce! Who needs hamburger helper when you have this recipe?
Recipe Notes & Tips
- The Noodles. Use Fideo noodles if you can find them, but if you can't, use spaghetti or vermicelli noodles or pasta shells.
- Fresh Ingredients. Start with the freshest ingredients you can find. If you're out of tomatoes, canned tomatoes are fine.
- The Seasonings. I also used a mixture of seasonings - Cumin, Spanish Paprika, Ancho Powder and Cayenne Powder - but to make things easier, use your favorite homemade taco seasoning recipe.
- Ground Meat Options. I like to use ground pork or chorizo, or sometimes a combination of both for this recipe. However, it is very good with either ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground beef for beef taco pasta. Try it with black beans as well!
- Make it Creamy. Swirl in several tablespoons of Mexican crema or sour cream at the end for a deliciously creamy version.
- Make it Cheesy. Definitely add the cotija cheese over the top. If you're looking for an extra cheesy taco pasta recipe here, add more cheese or sub in a bit of melty cheddar cheese or Monterrey jack cheese. 1/2 cup or so should do it, but you can easily use extra. Extra cheesy for me, please!
- Simmer the Sauce for More Flavor. Simmer an extra 10-20 minutes to develop the flavor even further. Just add a few tablespoons of water or chicken or beef broth if needed so it doesn't dry out.
As a topping variation, try crumbling tortilla chips over the top or serve with additional crema.
Add more peppers for some heat! This had a good spice level. Making this again in the near future for sure. It's so quick and easy. I love easy!
I love how unique this recipe is. It looks exactly like your typical Italian spaghetti, but the flavor is totally different. My exact words to Mike after one bite. "Um, you can make pasta this way ANY TIME you want."
Try Some of My Other Popular Spicy Pasta Recipes
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta with Red Sauce
- Creamy Tortellini Pasta with Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Cajun Pasta with Shrimp and Smoked Sausage
- Rasta Pasta with Shrimp
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS.Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Taco Pasta Recipe
- 2 jalapeno peppers chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- Olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 pound ground pork or spicy Mexican chorizo - or you can prepare this with chicken or ground beef
- 1 14- ounce can crushed tomatoes - or use the equivalent of fresh chopped tomatoes (just cook them down nicely)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons favorite hot sauce if desired
- 3 tablespoons Taco seasoning – Or use an equal blend of Spanish Paprika, Ancho Powder and Cayenne Powder with a few extra sprinkles of Cumin.
- 3 tablespoons or more as desired Crema or sour cream
- 16 ounces Fideo noodles - or sub in spaghetti or vermicelli noodles
- Cotija cheese for serving
- Heat a large pan to medium heat and add jalapeno, onion and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
- Add ground pork and brown on each side. Break it up and cook it most of the way through.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and stir. Bring to a very slight boil then reduce heat to simmer.
- Add cilantro, hot sauce (if using) and seasonings and stir to incorporate. Simmer about 20 minutes or so to allow flavors to develop.
- Prepare the noodles to al dente, boiling about 12 minutes in salted water. Add a couple of spoonsful of the pasta water to your sauce and stir.
- Remove sauce from heat and stir in the Crema or sour cream.
- Toss with noodles and top with shredded Cotija cheese.