May 30, 2015

Healthier Taco Pasta in under 30 minutes

 I love a good 30 minute meal and this one is fantastic.  The longest part is waiting for the pasta to finish cooking.  I have made this quite a few times.  The cottage cheese is what originally sold me on this dish.  I love adding cottage cheese to so many dishes.  It adds a lot of extra protein which means I can use less meat.  I added 3/4 Lb. of lean meat to this recipe, but sometimes I only add 1/2 Lb. and it is still just as hearty and delicious.   

My other version of Taco Pasta is fabulous and it's one of my favorites, but it has some butter in it and lots of cheese.  This taco pasta is healthier than other versions, because there is no butter or oil and the only cheese that is added is cottage cheese.  You could always add a little cheese if you prefer, Cheddar, Monterey or Feta would all taste fabulous, but honestly, I don't even miss the cheese.  
 I love using the large shells, because they fill up with the creamy sauce, but you can use whatever type of pasta you prefer. 

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Healthier Taco Pasta
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

8-12 oz. large shell pasta (or other type of pasta)
3/4 Lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 packet of taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. onion powder
pepper, to taste
1 Tbl. brown sugar, opt.
1/2 c. hot pasta water
1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can mild Rotel, un-drained
1 heaping cup low-fat cottage cheese
2 Tbl. chopped cilantro

Cook pasta according to package directions; reserving 1/2 cup hot water.  Meanwhile, brown ground beef or turkey in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the taco seasoning, cumin, onion powder, some black pepper and brown sugar.  Carefully add 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water to the skillet and stir to combine; allow to simmer for a few minutes.  It should be thickened at this point.  Stir in the beans, Rotel, cottage cheese and cilantro.  Continue to heat over medium heat and add the drained, cooked pasta.  Stir until pasta is evenly coated in sauce.  The sauce should be thick and creamy, but if it isn't, simmer for a few minutes until thickened.  Serves 4-5

slightly adapted from: Sweet Treats & More 

Linked up at Weekend Potluck!


  1. Hey Jenn what size can of tomatoes would I use???

    1. The can of Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles) is 10 oz. If you are adding a can of tomatoes, I think the smallest is around 14 oz. and that would be fine to add, but I would drain out a little of the juice.

  2. I like the sound of this! Pinned it!!

  3. Does the cottage cheese melt like regular cheese?

    1. The majority of it does melt into the sauce, making it creamy. BUT. . . it won't have quite the same texture as melted cheese - you know the melty, stringy gooey cheese texture. It's really delicious, I hope you try it :)

  4. I'm not a huge fan of cottage cheese. What alternative would you suggest, if any?

    1. The cottage cheese is what helps make this dish healthier. With all the other flavors in this dish, I bet you wouldn't even notice it's in there? You could try adding some plain Greek yogurt, but I don't think I wouldn't add an entire cup. I would maybe start with 1/2 cup and taste and then add more, if desired.

  5. I was really excited to make this recipe, but when I made it last night with ground turkey, it turned out very bland. Might have been because I used the whole box (1 lb) of noodles? If I try this again, will definitely be using ground beef instead of turkey and less noodles.

    1. Ground turkey does have less flavor than ground beef. BUT, it surprises me you would think this was bland, because there is a lot of seasoning it. Hopefully you'll like it better with the ground beef.

  6. I made this tonight and loved how quick and easy it is! I'm not sure how the previous reviewer could have thought this was bland...if you are using all four seasonings (taco seasoning, cumin, onion powder, black pepper) then this is very flavorful and delicious! My husband requested that I add this to our meal rotation and my toddler even liked it! :)


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