Cheesey Vegetarian Taco Pasta is a comforting combination of pasta shells, plant-based protein and flavorful taco seasonings and it’s ready in under 30 minutes. This recipe is great for quick weeknight dinners!
Now that comfort food season is upon us, I am all about cozy, cheesy meals! Taco pasta is pretty much what it sounds like. Taco flavors like cumin, chili powder, tomatoes and cilantro combined with pasta shells.
Sour cream and the magic of pasta water combine with canned tomatoes to make the creamy, fuss-free sauce that I think you’ll love.
This is a great weeknight meal because it takes under 30 minutes to make and there’s a few shortcuts you can do to make that even faster.
One of the most popular recipes on Cozy Peach Kitchen is my vegetarian chili mac, and I think this taco pasta might be even better! Let’s dive in to the recipe.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases; read my disclaimer policy for more information.
Shell pasta: Any short grain pasta like macaroni or rotini will work. You can also try protein pasta, whole wheat or gluten-free pasta in place of white pasta.
Kidney beans: This is the main source of protein in the recipe. You can also use canned red beans or black beans. I bet this would be delicious with these instant pot black beans.
Tomatoes with green chiles: The chiles add a little bit of heat. Feel free to use a can of regular diced tomatoes for a spice-free option.
Spices and seasonings: Sautéed onion, bell pepper and garlic sautéed in olive oil make the base of the recipe. Add in cumin, chili powder, dry oregano and fresh cilantro for that taco twist.
Sour cream: This contributes to much of the creaminess. For a lighter option try using plain Greek yogurt.
Cheddar cheese: Thick cut farm-style sharp cheddar is my favorite but Monterey jack also works.
Step by step instructions
I recommend having the pasta cook while doing the steps below. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooked pasta water for the sauce before draining. The starchiness of the water is a great addition to creamy sauces.
- Heat a dutch oven or medium stock pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, drizzle in olive oil. Add diced onion and bell pepper once hot. Sprinkle with salt. Sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté a minute more or until aromatic.
- Stir in the tomatoes and chiles with juices, drained kidney beans, seasonings and cilantro. Continue cooking over medium high heat until warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, sour cream and cheddar cheese. It should heat through in about 1-2 minutes.
Prep ahead options: You can also make the pasta 1-2 days in advance to make the meal ready more quickly. Toss the cooked pasta with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking before refrigerating.
Peppers and onions can also be sautéed 1-2 days in advance as needed.
Storage and serving
Keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
Serve topped with additional chopped cilantro, sliced green onions and a dollop of sour cream.
Looking for more vegetarian dinner favorites? You might like these:
- Almond Butter Stir Fry
- Tempeh Veggie Pasta Bake
- Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Crispy Collards
- Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta
- Tortellini with Ricotta and Roasted Butternut Squash
Cheesy Vegetarian Taco Pasta
- 8 ounce dry shell pasta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 15 ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro plus more for topping
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1/2 cup sour cream plus more for topping
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions for topping
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooked pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a dutch oven or medium stock pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, drizzle in olive oil. Add chopped onion and bell pepper once hot. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon table salt. Sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté a minute more, or until aromatic.
- Stir in the tomatoes and chiles with juices, drained kidney beans, cilantro, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Continue cooking over medium high heat until warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted and everything is warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.
- Taste for salt. Serve topped with fresh chopped green onions and addition cilantro if desired. Enjoy!