Easy Taco Pasta Bake

Easy Taco Pasta Bake

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If you’re in need of a meal prep recipe, this taco pasta bake might be your new go to. It’s super simple to make, loaded with cheesy taco flavor, and has fantastic macros for a pasta recipe.

One serving of this taco pasta bake has 24 grams of protein with only 28 grams of carbs and 250 calories. The recipe makes nine servings, so you could feed the entire family for a few days or double up on servings and have a 500-calorie, protein-packed meal for four days. Needless to say, this is nacho average taco pasta bake.

K, I don’t think we need to taco bout it anymore. Let’s get down to business.

A super easy to make taco pasta bake with tons of protein and just 6 Freestyle Points per serving. This is an awesome meal prep recipe or a quick dinner to feed the whole crew.

 

 

How to Make This Taco Pasta Bake

Like most of my recipes, this is another ultra simple recipe. You’ll need seven ingredients total, but two are seasonings and two are canned. Other than cooking some pasta and ground beef or meat of your choice, this taco pasta bake is pure assembly.

I’ll quickly run through the ingredients you might have questions about modifying.

Pasta

I used Banza Shells which are made from chickpeas. They’re much higher in protein and lower in carbs than traditional pasta. If you’ve never tried any of the chickpea or lentil pastas, this is the recipe to start with since the blend of textures more than accommodates for the difference.

You can use any brand of “protein pasta” for this taco pasta bake. I just prefer Banza. 

ground beef taco meat with pasta in a pan

If you’d rather go with a regular pasta or save some time, you could use something like the Barilla Ready Pasta I used in my garlic parmesan chicken pasta. You can pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds and be ready to roll.

Obviously switching from the Banza pasta to a traditional pasta will increase the carbs and slightly decrease the protein, that might not be a problem for your nutrition protocol. If you have the carbs, I say go for it!

Taco and Ranch Seasoning

I used a packet of taco seasoning to keep things simple. If you’d like to reduce the sodium a bit or use your own spice mixture, I’d highly recommend the spices from my healthy nachos recipe.

And if you don’t have any ranch seasoning on hand, you could use a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, dill, and powdered buttermilk.

Cheese

While I wouldn’t recommend going all the way fat free with the cheese, you could certainly use less cheese than the recipe calls for to reduce the calories. I was able to fully coat the taco pasta bake with about 3/4 cup cheese and decided to make it extra cheesy with another 1/2 cup.

If you stopped at 3/4 cup, you’d save about 20 calories per serving. Doesn’t seem like much when I put it that way. Cheese it up. 

Update 10/2019: If you want to seriously up the cheese game, you could incorporate queso into the mix like in my chicken fajita pasta bake recipe!

Okay, the full recipe is below. When you make this taco pasta bake, I’d love to see it. Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @mason_woodruff or join my free Facebook group and share it with the proton party!

easy taco pasta bake
4.89 from 36 votes
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Easy Taco Pasta Bake

A super simple, lower carb taco pasta recipe topped with melted cheese. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword taco pasta bake
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 9 Servings
Calories 251 kcal
Author Mason Woodruff

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 96/4 Ground Beef or your choice of ground meat
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 1 packet Ranch Dip Mix
  • 10 oz can RO-TEL or diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 15 oz can Pinto Beans undrained
  • 1 box (8oz) Banza Pasta Shells or Barilla Ready Pasta to save time
  • 1 1/4 C (140g Reduced Fat Mexican Cheese Blend

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 400F.

  2. Cook the pasta as directed unless you're using something like Ready Pasta. 

  3. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium high heat. Cook until no pink remains. 

  4. Reduce the heat to low before adding the taco and ranch seasoning, RO-TEL, and pinto beans to the beef. (If you'd like a thicker pasta, drain the beans.) Stir well. 

  5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and add the pasta to the taco mixture. 

    ground beef taco meat with pasta in a pan
  6. Mix everything together before adding the mixture to an 8x8 baking dish or comparable dish. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes. (Keep an eye on the cheese to avoid burning.) 

    taco pasta bake in the baking dish

Recipe Notes

  • 1 serving has 6 Smart Points. 
Nutrition Facts
Easy Taco Pasta Bake
Amount Per Serving (1 Cup (175g))
Calories 251 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Protein 24g48%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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33 thoughts on “Easy Taco Pasta Bake”

  • 5 stars
    This is by far the best taco bake I have ever had. There is so much flavor in the dish. My entire family devoured it. It is also great for a lot of company and easy to just double the recipe. My entire family loves the flavor so much we’ve even made it but left out the noodles and just used it as tacos. Delicious! 10/10

  • This recipe is a great meal prep recipe. I double it and have plenty for my husband and I for the week. I used chickpea pasta, and it tastes great. Awesome balance of flavor, protein and pasta! In the future I might mix some of the cheese into the dish and not just use it as a topping.

  • Another super yummy recipe! We served ours topped with plain greek yogurt, salsa and shredded lettuce. I might use black beans next time if it doesn’t affect the macros too much.

  • 5 stars
    Talk about AMAZING! Mason’s library of recipes never cease to amaze me, I could scroll, drooling, for hours on end. This dish in particular was so flavorful, full of spice and oh so savory. In addition, I’ve been dying to try his cheddar recipes but unfortunately can’t find cheddar powder, but hey if I could get my hands on this box, cheese itz, Mac and cheese, and hamburger helper copy cat would be going down!

  • This recipe was absolutely phenomenal for my mealnpreps! Instead of using beef though, I used ground turkey and it turned out delicious!!! 5 stars-HIGHLY recommend!!

  • Made this for Taco Tuesday and it was a huge hit! I rinsed the Banza a ton, added a squeeze of lime and a dash of red pepper and it’s a keeper! Thanks Mason!

  • 5 stars
    I made this taco pasta bake last night and it was Amazing!!! Even my picky eaters ate it up. This will be a frequent dish at my house!!

  • 4 stars
    This is a great meal! My husband (who does not care about macros) likes it a lot too. I was dubious about chickpea pasts but it was great – found it at Harris Teeter but have since seen it at Target as well. I made it without beans and it was just as a good! Thanks Mason!

  • 5 stars
    Recipes intimidate me, but Mason isn’t kidding when he calls this easy. Easy, peasy, and cheesy. It was my first time trying Banza noodles and I couldn’t taste/feel a difference! I’m on my fifth day of having this for lunch and still craving it. I’m even tempted to make this again next week. Such a yummy cold weather food.

    • Thanks so much for the feedback! I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying it. And there’s nothing wrong with back to back taco bakes. 😉

  • 5 stars
    This recipe is so easy and got rave reviews from my family. Will definitely be added to our rotstion of “regulars”!

    And is, dare I say it, even better warmed up the following day.

  • 5 stars
    Easy Taco Pasta Bake is one of my absolute favorites! It’s so easy to make! What’s so funny is I’m actually making it for dinner tonight! I usually add two cups of spinach to give myself some greens, which I usually add spinach to everything anyways. I’m also switching up the cheese tonight to taco cheese! I absolutely love the original recipe, but I thought I would give my taco cheese a chance because it’s one of my favorites!! This will be my fifth time making this recipe if that tells you anything!

  • 5 stars
    This has been by far my favorite recipe. It’s great for the family and for meal prep. I like the chickpea shells, you can’t tell the difference in this dish. So give it a try before you go to regular noodle. The chickpea noodles have actually intimidated me, but not anymore–an essential now in my pantry for all Mason’s other dishes! It heats up well for meal prep and have already recommended this recipe and site to all my friends and family. It’s now a normal rotation for my dinners being made!

  • 5 stars
    Is it normal to make the same recipe three times in a week? Well, we did with this one! It is sooooo good and full of flavor.

    We’ve substituted the noodles for rice. We also used black beans in place of the pinto. We also used regular diced tomatoes when we were out of Rotel. Delicious every time, regardless of the variation!

  • This is the best taco bake. I make this when I know I am short on time for dinner and want something hot with a Mexican flavor. So easy to make and all of the ingredients are always in my house. Dinner ready in a few minutes. You have to try this. It is the best and easiest taco bake to make! My friends and family love this recipe as well.

  • 5 stars
    This recipe was very easy to make and it was delicious! It is definitely one that I will make often. I used it as my weekly meal prep and had plenty to last me for several meals. The ingredients are simple and things that you normally have on hand.

  • 5 stars
    This was simple and delicious. Make sure you only add 8 oz of dry pasta. First time I made it, I used the whole box not paying attention that I was only supposed to use 8 oz. I had a little too much pasta but it was still fantastic.

  • 5 stars
    This recipe is awesome! I doubled the recipe and made it with soy meat and my husband loved it. I had to measure my portion so I wouldn’t over eat it was so good! It is now in the rotation of things I make for dinner. Thanks Mason!

  • I’ve thought of combining these ingredients and making a pasta bake out of them but Mason hit this out of the park!! I don’t even like Ranch but adding that seasoning is a MUST. Love love love this recipe and have already made it more than once!

  • We make this recipe weekly! I had never heard of Banza noodles till following mason and they are so helpful for counting macros. Still get to have delicious pasta and stay on track for your goals. I use black beans instead of pinto and double this recipe when making it so that I can use it for supper and then left overs for the rest of the work week.

  • 5 stars
    Super easy and delicious! Can’t believe I loved this kind of pasta?! My kids were bummed when we ran out of leftovers- will definitely make again

  • 5 stars
    Taco bake is one of my absolute favorite recipes to meal prep!! I tend to use fat free m refried beans instead but that’s just out of personal preference. It makes me so much excited for when meal time comes around again! Thank you so much!

  • 5 stars
    This is my favorite Mason recipe. I double it and our family eats the leftovers. It’s easy to reheat in the oven or the microwave. The kids like to sprinkle extra cheese on it too.

    • 5 stars
      I make alot of your recipes, they are very easy to follow and make at home. This is my husbands favorite so far! He literally told me he could eat this every night! Thanks for the awesome recipes!

  • 5 stars
    This is amazing! Stronger U FB page led me to your site and this is the first recipe I tried. My 8-year old kept going back for more and nobody needs to tell him it wasn’t REAL pasta. Directions were simple and didn’t take too much time to prep. I loved that it didn’t require protein powder. Look forward to trying more of your recipes! (I don’t usually comment on blogs, but that is how much I LOVED it).

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