This taco pasta skillet is a one pan vegetarian meal that's made on the stove top in just 30 minutes. Bow tie pasta and black beans are coated in a creamy, spicy sauce.
Make this taco pasta skillet for your next Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday - this vegetarian skillet meal will make a great addition to your weekly meal plans.
This one pot meal is filled with bow tie pasta, black beans, salsa, and fresh veggies. The entire family will love the creamy cheese sauce - and it's easy to customize to suit your preferred spice level.
Ingredients and substitutions
Bow tie/farfalle pasta can be substituted with any medium sized dry pasta, like macaroni, penne, or shells.
Canned black beans can be substituted with any beans you have on hand, like kidney beans or pinto beans.
Vegetable broth can be substituted with beef or chicken broth if you aren't concerned with keeping the recipe vegetarian.
Use any color bell pepper you have on hand - green bell peppers are generally the cheapest and easiest to find, but red bell pepper would be a good substitute. For more heat, add in a few jalapeno peppers along with your bell pepper.
I used homemade taco seasoning for this recipe, but store bought taco seasoning can also be used.
Pasta and liquid proportions
The most important part about this recipe is measuring your pasta and liquid ingredients exactly.
Because your pasta is cooked in the same pan as the rest of your ingredients, it is important to use the exact amount of liquid needed to cook that pasta.
If too much liquid is added, you'll be left with a runny sauce. If too little liquid is added, your pasta and other ingredients will get dry, stick to the bottom of the pan, and potentially burn.
I have written this recipe with exactly enough liquid to cook the pasta, with a small amount of liquid left over to create a creamy sauce. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients, or a set of liquid and dry measuring cups.
Can I make this less/more spicy?
This recipe is written to be moderately spicy, but can easily be adjusted to be milder or hotter.
The spiciness in this skillet meal comes from the taco seasoning and the salsa, so these are the two ingredients you'll want to adjust.
Use mild taco seasoning and mild salsa for a milder flavor. If you are very sensitive to heat, try using half as much taco seasoning and salsa. Then, do a taste test and add more of each ingredient as desired.
To make your dish hotter, use medium salsa or hot salsa. Or, dice up a few jalapenos and add with the bell pepper. You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes for more heat.
Can I add meat?
While this recipe is written as a vegetarian meal, you are welcome to add meat.
Brown one pound of ground beef in your saute pan, then remove from the pan. The grease from the ground beef can be used to replace the olive oil at the beginning of the recipe. Add your beef back to the pan when adding the dried pasta.
Or, stir in a pound of shredded rotisserie chicken once your pasta has cooked through.
Taco Pasta Skillet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 15 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces salsa
- 8 ounces bow tie pasta uncooked
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 16 ounces vegetable broth
- 8 ounces milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add onion and bell pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown.
- Add black beans, salsa, pasta, taco seasoning, vegetable broth, and milk to pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer according to your pasta's package directions for al dente pasta (bow tie pasta should take 12 minutes). Once pasta is cooked through, most of liquid in pan should be absorbed.
- Add sour cream and shredded cheese to pan, stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and allow to set for 5 minutes to allow sauce to thicken before serving.
- Any medium sized pasta can be used (macaroni, shells, or penne).
- Because the entire dish is cooked in a single pan, it is extremely important to use exact measurements for your liquids (broth and milk) and pasta. Recipe is written to include just enough liquid to cook pasta through without leaving excess liquid in the pan.
- Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.