**Updated February 2023**
We’ve had this recipe in drafts for a while now, and I don’t know about you, but this time of year always has me craving comforting pasta dishes. This easy-peasy Tex Mex Pasta Bake is a Taco Night leftover makeover I made using all the leftover taco bar fixings plus a few other simple ingredients. You can file this recipe under “no fuss meals”, because there really aren’t any rules on how to make it (*I’m having trouble recalling all the exact ingredients, to be honest*), you can play with whatever ingredients you have left on hand or need using up in your fridge. You can also serve it up straight from the pot, or take it to a baked version in the oven. Consider this more of a guided adventure in cooking, rather than a recipe & enjoy!
Tex Mex Pasta – 2 Ways
The recipe below is the quickest way to make this Tex Mex pasta – straight from the pot. If you want to take it one step further & turn it into a cheesy pasta bake, simply add all the saucy pasta from the pot into a deep baking dish, smother it in a Tex Mex blend of cheese, bake on 400F for about 25 – 30 mins (or until cheese bubbles golden)…and voila! Your Tex Mex Pasta Bake is ready!
NOTE: minimal seasoning is required because the taco meat/ground has already been seasoned. We use ground turkey for our taco nights, but pork, beef & meatless for our vegetarian/vegan families would work well too.
It’s a full week around here so I’m going to refrain from my usual family food recipe chatter & get right to the goods. If this recipe that’s not really a recipe seems confusing, just watch the short clip below! Easy-peasy…promise!
Tex Mex Pasta Bake with Taco Night Leftovers | La Cucina di Kerrs
- Sauce pan
- Large Pot or Dutch Oven
- Baking Dish (*if making the Pasta Bake*)
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil *we used Canola oil*
- 1.5 cups leftover seasoned Taco ground/meat *we use ground Turkey - pork, beef, meatless all work too*
- 4 spring onions washed & chopped
- 2 tbsp pickled jalapenos (*optional - whatever you have leftover*)
- 1 fresh jalapeno sliced
- ¾ cup diced fresh tomatoes (*or whatever you have leftover*)
- 1/2 fresh green pepper diced
- ½ cup refried beans (*or whatever you have leftover*
- 1 can diced tomatoes (*we used a 796 ml can*)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ¾ black beans (*or any other canned - kidney, pinto, etc.) Rinse from can.
- 1 cup Tex Mex Blend of pre-shredded cheese
- 900 g Cavatappi Pasta (*or other - like Penne Rigate*)
- Bring large pot of water to a boil, season with salt like the sea & cook pasta according to directions. Drain, keeping a bit of pasta water if you like to add to the sauce.NOTE: YOU WILL NOT NEED ALL THE COOKED PASTA FOR THIS RECIPE - I always cook LOTS to have extra to set aside for other quick dinners during the week. Simply take what you need to feed your family for this recipe, then add butter or olive oil to the rest & refrigerate for another meal.
- Heat oil on medium. Add spring onion, green pepper 90% of the fresh jalapeno. Cook until softened (~2 mins).
- Add leftover taco-seasoned ground - heat about 2 mins. Add fresh tomatoes, jalapenos & garlic powder - stir & heat about 2 mins. (*I didn't add salt + pepper because the taco meat was already well-seasoned*).
- Add the can of diced tomatoes & refried beans. Add black beans. Stir & let simmer on med-low until sauce thickens to your liking. Scoop sauce onto cooked pasta, mix well then top with Tex Mex cheese. Serve immediately - garnish with leftover jalapeno slices, OR...For TEX MEX PASTA BAKE Add to baking dish, top with more cheese & bake on 400°F about 25 mins (or until cheese bubbles golden).Enjoy! Tag us @House_of_Kerrs on Instagram if you try!
We hope you enjoy this recipe with your family. Let us know what you think or tell us your favourite way to enjoy Taco Night leftovers!
More Taco Night Leftover Makeover Recipes
If you want more delicious comfort carbs recipe inspo, check out these 25 Pasta Bake creations from fellow Canadian Food Enthusiasts, featuring our Old School Mac n’ Cheese.
Keep well, eat well,
Taco pasta is one of our favourite meals to make but I never considered using leftovers to make it – brilliant! Bookmarking so we can try this recipe!
House of Kerrs says
Thanks, Wanda! It’s so tasty! Let us know what you think if you end up trying!