This taco pasta recipe combines all the delicious things: chewy pasta, Mexican-spiced ground beef, a creamy tomato-based sauce, and wholesome veggies. Plus, it is super easy to make and ready in only 30 minutes!
Taco pasta is the perfect dish if you love Mexican flavors combined with delicious pasta! It is super quick to prepare which makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner.
The best part about this recipe is that you don’t need any heavy cream or cheese to make the creamy tomato-based sauce! All you need is tomato passata and this homemade cashew Alfredo sauce (plus additional nutritional yeast for some extra cheesy flavor) to make the most amazing sauce!
To make this easy taco pasta, you’ll need the following ingredients.
- Pasta: You can use any type of pasta you want for this dish! I used bow ties, but any short shape of pasta works.
- Ground beef: Ground beef is the perfect addition to any Mexican-inspired dish. Feel free to use a leaner type of ground beef if that’s what you prefer.
- Aromatics: Yellow onion and garlic are definitely necessary to make this taco pasta dish super flavorful! So don’t forget to add them.
- Vegetables: I recommend adding red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes as they complement this dish perfectly.
- Tomato paste and spices: Tomato paste, paprika powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper are used to make the taco pasta sauce flavorful and delicious. An alternative is using taco seasoning instead of the different spices.
- Tomato passata: Tomato passata is the perfect base for any type of tomato sauce! It has the perfect texture and is packed with flavor.
- Homemade cashew Alfredo sauce: To make the taco pasta creamy and cheesy, this taco pasta recipe calls for this homemade vegan Alfredo sauce. It is super easy to make and the perfect healthy substitute for heavy cream and cheese.
- Parsley (optional): And if you like to garnish your pasta dishes, feel free to add chopped parsley.
How to make taco pasta
Preparing taco pasta is super easy! Just follow these simple steps:
- Cook pasta: First, prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Save some of the starchy pasta water. Then drain and set aside.
- Sauté aromatics and ground beef: Next, sauté the onion, garlic, and ground beef until browned.
- Add vegetables: Add the red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Sauté until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add tomato paste and spices: Add the tomato paste and spices to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Then sauté for around 2 minutes.
- Add sauce: Now add the tomato passata, vegan Alfredo sauce, and pasta water to the pan and stir.
- Combine and serve: Transfer the pasta to the pan and toss until everything is combined. Garnish with parsley (optional) and enjoy!
Here are some things to keep in mind when you try this taco pasta recipe.
- Adjust the sauce: If the sauce is too thick for you, feel free to add a little more water to thin it. The sauce thickens a little when it simmers, so thin it if needed.
- Start with less cayenne pepper: If you are unsure about how spicy this dish is, start with less cayenne pepper and add more as needed! The taco pasta is a little spicy, so definitely start with less if you prefer a milder sauce.
Here are some things you can do to modify the recipe according to your own dietary or taste preferences.
- Meat: If you prefer a fat-reduced version of this dish, feel free to use ground turkey instead of ground beef. It is a delicious alternative that works just as great!
- Spices: If you don’t have all of the spices on hand or don’t want to buy them, feel free to use your favorite taco seasoning or the taco spice mix you would usually use. Just be sure that you don’t omit the spices without substitute as this changes the flavor of this dish.
- Nutritional yeast: If you make this dish and you want to make it taste a little more cheesy (without adding tons of cheese), feel free to add more nutritional yeast before blending the cashew Alfredo sauce. The dish tastes great as is, but if you are a huge cheese lover, then you might want to add more nutritional yeast (1-2 tablespoons).
Another way to switch things up is to add more or other ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this recipe as it is. But feel free to consider the following ingredients if you want to switch things up.
If you want to use other add-ins, you can use one or more of the following ingredients:
- Black beans: If you love black beans, then feel free to add them to this taco pasta! They taste great in any kind of Mexican-inspired dish.
- Corn: Another option is adding frozen corn. It tastes great and goes very well with the other ingredients and spices.
- Jalapeño peppers: If you love a little extra heat, jalapeño peppers are a delicious ingredient to add to this Mexican-spiced ground beef pasta.
- Baby spinach: Baby spinach is another amazing ingredient to add to pasta dishes. It tastes great and is super healthy!
Another option to switch things up is adding fun toppings to the taco pasta:
- Cilantro: Since I absolutely love parsley, I used it to garnish my bowl of taco pasta. But cilantro is a great alternative. So if you prefer it, go for it!
- Lime: A little lime juice is another delicious addition to this dish. Just be sure that you don’t add too much. A little squeeze is more than enough!
- Cheese: And if you aren’t dairy-free and don’t mind a little cheese, feel free to use some grated cheese as topping!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can! Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta instead of regular pasta.
If you want to make this recipe vegan, substitute the meat with black beans. Just add the beans with the other vegetables when cooking and enjoy!
I recommend storing leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you know in advance that you’ll have leftovers, store the sauce and pasta separately. To reheat, add the taco pasta to a pan with a little water and warm it up.
More Mexican-inspired recipes
If you love all the flavors that make Mexican dishes so amazing, try one of the following recipes. They all taste great and are super easy to make!
- 10 ounces pasta of choice can be gluten-free
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 red bell pepper cut into dices
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper more to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ¾ cups tomato passata
- ¾ cups vegan cashew Alfredo sauce
- ¼ cup pasta water
- parsley (optional) for garnish
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Save some pasta water. Then drain and set aside.10 ounces pasta of choice
- Preheat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Then sauté the onion, garlic, and ground beef until browned.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 yellow onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 pound ground beef
- Now add the bell pepper and tomatoes. Sauté until the vegetables start to soften.1 red bell pepper, 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- Add the tomato paste and spices to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Then sauté for 2 minutes.1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon paprika powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
- Next, add the tomato passata, vegan Alfredo sauce, and pasta water. Stir until everything is combined.1 ¾ cups tomato passata, ¾ cups vegan cashew Alfredo sauce, ¼ cup pasta water
- Transfer the cooked pasta to the pan and toss. Garnish with parsley (optional) and enjoy!parsley (optional)
- Spices: You can substitute the spices with taco seasoning if that's easier for you.
- Heat level: If you don't mind a little heat, you can use ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Use less if you prefer a milder sauce.
- Nutritional yeast: If you want the sauce to be cheesy, add 1-2 extra tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the vegan Alfredo sauce. The sauce tastes great as is but keep this in mind and adjust it to your taste!