Vegetarian Taco Pasta is filled with healthy black beans, vegetables, and lots of tasty Mexican flavors. This easy to make Taco Pasta will be a family favorite.
This taco pasta is a creamy ooey gooey Macaroni and Cheese that’s been kicked up a few notches with delicious Mexican flavors. And that mac & cheese sauce is so easy to make; no baking required!
I first published this recipe in 2012. I’ve made a couple of changes to the recipe in this update. Originally, I used 1 cup of soy crumbles in the dish. I’ve decided to leave that out with this update and use a can of black beans instead. So, I’ve updated the recipe itself, the photos, and the information all for a better user experience.
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It makes it really easy to dish up a protein rich lunch or dinner, packed with mouthwatering flavors and have something quick, tasty, and healthy.
This taco pasta totally fits the meal prep bill.
It makes a nice big pot so there’s lots of leftovers.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Pop a bowl full back in the microwave for a minute or so, give it a stir and you have a nice hot meal.
Or, eat it cold out of the fridge. It’s delicious that way!
This would be great for a pot luck or an office party. You could even keep it warm in the crock pot.
I was inspired to make this tasty taco pasta recipe by this recipe.
I love that you don’t even have to bake it. That really helps keep the house cool in the summer.
What kind of salsa should I use?
The salsa you use is your choice.
But if you don’t have the time or inclination, jarred will work as well.
Keep in mind that the salsa you use will change the flavor and thickness of the sauce.
I like things to be easy and stress-free. So, use what’s in your pantry or your favorite shape here. Penne, ziti, macaroni, rotini, and rigatoni all work well.
Yes, the pasta will absorb the sauce. If it becomes too thick, simply add a small amount of water or milk to thin it.
Pro tips for making the Best Taco Pasta
Don’t forget to scroll down for the printable recipe card with full ingredient amounts and instructions.
This pasta reminds me of mac & cheese with a bunch of veggies and other Mexican flavored goodies added to it. It comes together quickly and easily.
First, you’ll want to cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain it and set it aside.
In a separate pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 15-20 minutes.
Stir in a little water to the onion as it cooks if it starts to burn or look too dried out.
Toss in red pepper, zucchini, green chiles, green onion, and black beans, and continue to cook, about 5 minutes. Add taco seasoning and salsa and stir to combine.
Stir the cooked veggies, salsa, and seasoning into the cooked pasta.
If you wanted a vegan meal, or one that was heavy on the veggies and nice & healthy, you can serve the pasta just as it is at this step! It’s really delicious!
Rinse out the saucepan that you used for the veggies, and place it over medium heat.
Add cream cheese and milk, stirring to combine.
Cook until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thick and bubbling.
Add Cheddar to cream cheese mixture, and stir until Cheddar is melted.
Pro tip: this cheese sauce is super easy to make and would make a delicious mac & cheese by itself!
Pro tip: shred the cheese from a block at home for the creamiest consistency.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and vegetables, and stir to combine.
Garnish as desired.
Top it up
A big part of the fun of making a dish like this is getting to put your favorite toppings on it.
Serve it with shredded lettuce, fresh cilantro, jalapeno slices, tortilla chips, avocado, guacamole, sour cream (or Greek yogurt for a healthy alternative), or more salsa on top.
Mix it up
There are lots of fun things you can do with this vegetarian Mexican pasta to change up the leftovers, or even how you made it to begin with.
Try using canned ro-tel in place of the salsa.
Add crushed tortilla chips on top for a crunchy topping.
Add some shredded chicken, ground beef, soyrizo, or (like I originally had in the recipe) soy crumbles to your leftovers for more protein. Try pinto beans rather than black beans.
Toss in more veggies like cauliflower, jarred roasted red peppers, mushrooms, tomatillo, corn, jalapenos, or green bell peppers.
Make it lower in fat and calories by using low-fat cream cheese, milk, and low-fat cheddar cheese.
Serve it like a taco salad, with a big handful of lettuce topped with this pasta.
If you really like cheese, feel free to make this cheesy taco pasta as cheesy as you’d like by doubling the cheddar to 2 cups.
And the cheese options are very flexible. Use Pepper jack, Monterey Jack, or Mozzarella if you like.
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via the pin.
- 1 pound small shaped pasta like ziti, macaroni, or penne
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 small zucchini chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 4 ounces chopped mild green chiles undrained
- 4 green onions chopped
- 15 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons taco seasoning or 1 packet store-bought seasoning mix
- 1 cup salsa homemade or store-bought
- 8 ounces cream cheese , cut into chunks
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Set aside.1 pound small shaped pasta
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 15-20 minutes. Add a little water to the onion as it cooks if it starts to burn.1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 onion
- Add red pepper, zucchini, green chiles, green onion, and black beans, and continue to cook, about 5 minutes. Add taco seasoning and salsa and stir to combine. Remove from heat, and stir veggie mixture into pasta. Set aside.2 small zucchini, 1 red pepper, 4 ounces chopped mild green chiles, 4 green onions, 3 tablespoons taco seasoning, 1 cup salsa
- Rinse out the saucepan that you used for the veggies, and place it over medium heat. Add cream cheese and milk, stirring to combine. Cook until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thick and bubbling. Add Cheddar to cream cheese mixture, and stir until Cheddar is melted.8 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup milk, 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Add cheese sauce to pasta and veggies, and gently stir to combine. Garnish as desired.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.