Beef Casseroles Low Calorie Main Dish Pasta

Taco Spaghetti

April 3, 2013

Taco Spaghetti? That sounds weird. That’s what you’re thinking right? I’ve mentioned this dish before to friends and they turn their noses up as if I’d said, “Hey for dessert let’s dip broccoli in chocolate.” I know it sounds strange, but trust me, merging taco salad and spaghetti is magnificent. There’s no tomato sauce involved, no Parmesan, so it’s not a true merging, but that probably helps you picture it’s goodness better. It’s like taco salad with the added bonus of pasta.

Taco Spaghetti by So, How's It Taste

So, how’s it taste?

I’ve been making taco spaghetti for a long time. It really is just like taco salad, but with spaghetti. I love everything about it, all the cheese, the hearty beef, tangy olives. Plus any dish I can top with sour cream is always a winner. You can turn up the heat level with the type of salsa you use and certainly a great addition would be jalapenos. This dish is fairly low calorie for quite a big serving using beef, but if you make it with turkey it’s even lower. Both meats are fantastic.

Taco Spaghetti with Chips by So, How's It Taste

It’s a really filling casserole and the leftovers are even better. It sounds strange, but I’m telling you, it’s worth trying. A great conversation piece when someone asks, “What’s for dinner?”

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Taco Spaghetti

Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking for Today Pasta
makes 6 servings
per serving: 438 calories, 36g protein, 42g carbs, 21g fat


5 oz. dried spaghetti, broken
1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp. taco seasoning mix
11 oz. can whole kernel corn with peppers, drained
1 cup sliced pitted black olives
1 cup colby jack or cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup salsa
4 oz. can diced green chili peppers, drained
shredded lettuce
tortilla chips
sour cream, optional


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a 12-inch skillet, cook beef and onion until meat is brown. Drain fat. Stir in water and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cooked pasta, corn, olives, half of the cheese, salsa, and green chili peppers.

3. Transfer mixture to lightly greased 2-quart round casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until melted.

4. Serve with shredded lettuce, tortilla chips, tomatoes, and sour cream, if desired.

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  • Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) April 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    You combined two of my favorite things flawlessly. Taco Pasta!!

    • Leah Short April 4, 2013 at 7:28 am

      Ha ha! I would agree on those favorite things!

  • alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] April 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    amen on the sour cream toppage! I’m in the same camp. I’m also a huge fan of chili mac and order it anywhere I can get [especially at any really dirty local diner I’m at. it’s always the best in those places!]. this looks like something I’d be happy eating every week!

    • Leah Short April 4, 2013 at 7:29 am

      I never thought about comparing this to chili mac to make it seem not so weird to some folks. You and I need to grab Mexican some time and talk about our sour cream habit, lol!

  • amy @ fearless homemaker April 4, 2013 at 8:44 am

    This looks like a relative of chili mac to me, which i absolutely love, so I bet i’d love this, too. I think it sounds fantastic!

    • Leah Short April 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      See, it’s a totally legit merging! My friends who think it’s weird just don’t know, lol!

  • claire @ the realistic nutritionist April 4, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Doesnt sound weird at all, SOUNDS FREAKING AWESOME.

    • Leah Short April 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Yay, so glad you agree that it’s not weird!

  • Renee April 29, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Too funny…my husband always takes left over taco meat and re-heats it with left over pasta. I look at it and think…gee that looks really good, but can’t ask for a taste because he’s usually not happy that he has to eat left overs!! So, now I will actually make it as meal and finally get to try it! Plus the extra toppings! Lol

    • Leah Short April 29, 2013 at 7:27 am

      Oh how funny! Yes, now you can try it and smother it in yummy toppings!

  • Bridget M. May 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I found this on Pinterest and I just wanted to share my little taco hotdish recipe (Minnesotan here, so it’s hotdish!). It’s similar to what you make and is one of my favorites!

    1 lb ground meat (beef/chicken/turkey – all are good)
    1 lb elbow macaroni
    1 can corn (you could use corn with peppers)
    1 pkg taco seasoning
    1 bottle medium taco sauce or salsa (use enough to coat pasta)
    1 can Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup
    shredded cheddar cheese for sprinkling

    Cook pasta and drain. While pasta is cooking brown hamburger and mix in taco seasoning. Once the pasta is done return it to kettle and add taco meat, corn, taco sauce and cheddar cheese soup (if using). Mix until well blended.

    This is my absolute favorite hotdish out there and I could eat it any day. If I’m making tacos, I’ll make an extra pound of taco meat so I can make this the next day.

    Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Jill Peterson May 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Looks yummy! It reminds me of iCarly when her brother Spencer would make spaghetti tacos (in hard taco shells). My daughter was obsessed with that show:)

  • Debbie Grimm May 10, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Definitely going to try this, I’m a MN/CO girl, this sounds delish!

  • Kriston May 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    This was delicious! Def better with chips. I would also add black beans and fresh red peppers for some crunch, it was all very gooey and even with the chips I would prefer a little more difference in texture. We baked 30 minutes total, 15 with foil on and 15 with cheese and foil off. Next time I would do al dente noodles. Oh yeah- we substituted fake beef crumble and my family had no idea ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m a vegetarian so once I ate it they caught on lol

  • Carol May 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I just made this and it was delicious! I used corkscrew pasta since that is what I had. Great comfort food and I know my grandkids will love this.

    • Leah Short May 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Great! I bet the corkscrew pasta was good!

  • Nicole May 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Just had this for dinner and it was delicious! Even my picky eaters loved it. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • Mayra May 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Omg!! Genius combination! I just put this in the oven and I feel like an impatient child on Christmas morning! lol. Kudos to you for this recipe (:

    • Leah Short May 23, 2013 at 7:47 am

      I hope you enjoyed it!

  • Jennifer Hildebran May 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Yum yum yum …. can’t wait to make this! My absolute 2 favorites combined into one! And if my picky eaters won’t eat it or don’t like it it’s still a win…. just means more for me the next day at lunch! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer Gail May 27, 2013 at 9:57 am

    That sounds good . I’ll have to give it a try. thanks

  • Lisa G. May 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Made this for my family, it was easy and tasted great,my high school kids loved it, served it just like above, on shredded lettuce with chopped tomatoes,sourcream & corn chips. thanks for sharing.

  • Athena May 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    what temp do you cook this at?

  • Athena May 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    disregard LOL 350

  • Jasmine May 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Ok so I was REALLY skeptical on making this bc my fiancรƒยฉ is very picky and I was going to go crazy eating the samethings over and over but WE LOVED its different but has all the right ingredients and OMG I know what dish I’m taking to the next family reunion!!!!

    • Leah Short May 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Oh yay! So glad it worked out!

  • Christina May 30, 2013 at 10:53 am

    @Jill Peterson, I clicked on this recipe for that very reason… iCarly! My kids still ask for Spaghetti Tacos and I haven’t had the guts to try it out. @Leah, I’m so glad you shared this recipe. It’s on our dinner menu for tomorrow!

  • connie June 21, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Loved this even with the substitutions we had to make for our allergens. We left out corn & subbed brown rice pasta. It was SO good! The whole family loved it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kathy June 22, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Do you know if this freezes well? It’s just me and my husband, so I would want to split it and freeze half for another meal.

    • Leah Short June 23, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      I’ve never frozen it, but I’d guess it would work ok.

  • Sarah June 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I’m curious about freezing as well… If you try it, Kathy, will you post how it comes out?

  • TAMI July 30, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Very good made with orzo (rice shaped pasta) instead of long thin pasta…makes it easier to eat with chips

  • Lori August 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Came home from work tonight and whipped this up in no time. How lovely. Pasta,salsa,cheese,chips,sour cream…WOW! My husband went back for seconds. Thanks for sharing:)

  • Chrissy August 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Hey, this sounds AMAZING!Can I freeze this? I am looking into some make ahead meals for the upcoming school year and would love to include this!

    • Leah Short August 13, 2013 at 7:54 am

      Hi Chrissy! Not sure, I’ve never frozen it.

  • Angie September 3, 2013 at 9:06 am

    you could make spaghetti tacos with this

  • Scarlett November 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Made this tonight ~ absolutely amazing. My kids are already wanting me to make it again! Thank you!

    • Leah Short November 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Thanks, Scarlett. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • jennifer November 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    So Good!! A must try!

  • Lindsay March 25, 2014 at 11:37 am

    This looks amazing. I cannot wait to try this!!! Yummy!

  • Tonia June 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I found this recipe on Pinterest and had to try it. It reminded me of the spaghetti pie I used to make years ago, before I had kids. It’s in the oven now, and can’t wait to taste it. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Leah Short June 9, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Awesome! I’m so jealous of your dinner tonight. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for the sweet comment.

  • tiffany July 6, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Making this right now…smells delicious! Can’t wait to try it!!

  • Elizabeth Handlon July 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    This was DELICIOUS! My family LOVED it!

    • Leah Short July 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Yay! This is one of my favorite recipes. Thanks for taking time to leave a comment!

  • Amy July 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Just made this…. decided on a whim to change a couple things and DAAAANG… yum!!! I didn’t add black olives (not a fan), added a lil over a cup of salsa and instead of shredded cheese I poured in a full container of Gordos queso (mild white w/ jalapeรฑos). Oh my goodness. SO good. (Also put in full packet of taco seasoning and added a lil garlic powder and cumin).

    ๐Ÿ™‚ thx for recipe! !

  • Carol January 3, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    My 20 y.o. daughter found this recipe on Pinterest and made it for us for dinner the other night. My husband and I were skeptical when she told us what it was, but oh my, we all loved it! Yes, we even ‘fought’ over who was going to get the seconds the next day. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the recipe!

    • Leah Short January 3, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      I always get funny looks when I say the name of this dish, but it’s so good! Glad you enjoyed it…the leftovers are even better so I hope you win the seconds! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Sarita January 12, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Easy enough for my grands ( ages 6 and 8) to make for them to take hme for dinner!!

  • Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents April 1, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    This. Was. FANTASTIC! I think my husband was skeptical…but I love tacos, so I knew it would be wonderful. It exceeded my expectations. I used ground venison and served with salsa and sour cream on top. I left out the olives because my weirdo children don’t like them. So, so good!

    • Leah Short April 1, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it. That’s one of my favorite meals to make. Sounds weird, but so good!

  • Kristi April 19, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I decided to try this tonight. It looked pretty good, and I happened to have all of the ingredients at home, so didn’t need to go to the store. I have tried quite a few recipes I have found on the internet, this is definitely one of my favorites! It was soooo good. Thank you so much for posting it! Now I am looking forward to my lunches this week!

  • Telisa October 6, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Wow picky eaters had seconds and my oldest always make spaghetti tacos when we have spaghetti but with this version wowza AND my husband loves spaghetti but the sauce not so much he loves this . I did leave out the green chilies for kids I even was out of salsa so I used tomato sauce a few shots of tobassco and it was still good but I’ll try salsa next it’s a keeper and super easy fast !!! Reminds me of Pizzagettie made like this with Italian sausage and Italian seasoning

  • Rachel August 22, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Fantastic!! I doubled the sauce and used 20 ounces of whole wheat spaghetti and baked it off in a turkey pan. Between my huband an 12 and 17 year old grandsons, I may have enough leftovers for 2 lunches tomorrow. Lol.
    The night before high school football games, parents put on a dinner for the players and after trying this, my 17 year old begged me to make it for the guys!! Winner, winner! Thanks so much and keep the great recipes coming ๐Ÿ™‚