Best Easy Cheesy Leftover Taco Meat Pasta Recipe

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Your family loves Taco Tuesdays, but now you have a bowl of taco meat left in the fridge. How do you stretch it to turn those leftovers into another meal? Use the best easy cheesy leftover taco meat pasta recipe. You’ll love it.

A bowl of pasta with meat and lime wedges.
Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

Turn those taco night leftovers into a delicious, easy meal that your whole family will adore. This leftover taco meat pasta recipe is a great recipe for busy weeknights. This easy recipe is a fantastic way to make the most of your fridge’s contents. I created this by accident. But it’s a good choice for anyone looking to whip up an easy taco pasta recipe that tastes great. 

This cheesy taco pasta recipe has the savory flavors of Taco Tuesday with the comfort of pasta. It’s like my two favorite foods had a baby. 

Ways to Use Leftover Taco Meat

A bowl of pasta with meat, cheese and lime wedges.
Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

Leftover taco meat is a more versatile ingredient than you realized. Honestly, I’m surprised how many delicious recipes have grown from our leftover taco meat. Here are a few ways to use up your leftover taco meat in your meals:

  • Taco Bowls: Combine with rice, black beans, and your choice of vegetables for a quick meal.
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: A mix of meat, rice, and tomato sauce stuffed into bell peppers creates a hearty dinner option.
  • Nachos: Spread over tortilla chips, top with cheddar cheese, and bake for an irresistible snack.
  • Fajitas: I recently added a couple of tablespoons of the leftover taco meat to my Sweet Potato Fajitas. They were DELICIOUS!

You might want to serve these with sourdough discard tortillas on the side. Or follow it up with coconut cupcakes with lime frosting.

Best Easy Cheesy Leftover Taco Meat Pasta Recipe

A bowl of meat and cheese in a white bowl with lime wedges.
Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

This easy taco pasta recipe is a fantastic solution for those evenings when time is of the essence. You know, when kid 1 has football, kid 2 has piano, and kid 3 still needs to finish their homework.

You need to feed them fast and give them something healthy. Yet you still want something the entire family will eat without complaining.

Leftover Taco Meat Pasta Ingredients

The ingredients for a taco meat pasta dish are laid out on a table.
Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

This is what I used to make this recipe. But it is pretty forgiving. The ingredient quantities don’t need to be exact.

  • 12 oz box of pasta shells, cooked al dente
  • 1 lb leftover taco meat (ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken)
  • 1 lb Velveeta or cheddar cheese for a gooey texture
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup corn for sweetness, which can be frozen corn or canned corn
  • 1 10-ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, adding a kick
  • Homemade taco seasoning for authentic flavor
  • 1 can or 1 1/4 cups black beans, drained for added protein
  • 1 cup beef broth to enhance the sauce
  • Optional: sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips on the side.

Directions for Leftover Taco Meat Pasta Dish

1. Prepare Pasta: Cook your pasta shells to al dente perfection. If your husband is like mine, just go ahead and overcook them. Or follow the package directions. Drain and set aside in an airtight container if not using immediately.

2. Reheat Taco Meat: In a large pot over medium heat, reheat the leftover taco meat, adding a bit of beef broth to keep it moist. Stir in homemade taco seasoning for that Taco Tuesday flair.

3. Combine: Lower the heat, then blend in milk and cheese until you achieve a smooth, creamy sauce. Fold in the black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes with green chilies, simmer until thoroughly heated.

4. Mix with Pasta: Add the cooked pasta to the pot, stirring gently, to ensure the shells are evenly coated with the cheesy taco meat mixture.

5. Serve: Spoon this beef taco pasta into bowls, garnishing with sour cream and crushed tortilla chips for added texture and flavor.

Tips for the Perfect Taco Meat Pasta Dish

A spoonful of pasta and meat in a skillet.
Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

One of the things I love about this recipe is how forgiving it is. You can make all sorts of changes and it still tastes great.

For example, substitute ground beef with lean ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken for a lighter version. Or add garlic powder and chili powder to your homemade taco seasoning for an extra flavor boost.

Store this dinner in an airtight container for quick late-night snacks on busy weeknights. I suppose you could reheat it again for another dinner. As long as you’re good with leftover leftovers.

Leftover Taco Meat Saves Supper

A bowl of pasta with meat, cheese and lime wedges.
Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

This beef taco pasta isn’t just one of my favorite recipes. It’s a really creative solution to repurpose a bunch of leftovers into an easy, cheesy delight the whole family loves.

It’s a great example of the power of combining simple ingredients to create an easy weeknight dinner and a satisfying and economical dish. Serve it on its own or with a side of green salad and garlic bread for a complete, nutritious meal.

FAQs

A skillet full of corn and cheese in a pan with a spoon.
Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

I know you have questions about this recipe. Here are a few answers for you. If I missed anything, just drop me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

How long can I store this pasta dish?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently, adding a splash of milk if the sauce needs thinning.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Absolutely. Any pasta works well with this recipe, though pasta shells are perfect for scooping up the meat and sauce.

Can I freeze this leftover taco meat pasta?

Yes, this pasta dish freezes well. Just cool it completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or microwave, adding a little milk or broth to adjust the sauce’s consistency.

Yield: 4

Best Easy Cheesy Leftover Taco Meat Recipe

A spoonful of pasta and meat in a skillet.

Turn taco night leftovers into a cheesy taco meat pasta dish that's perfect for busy weeknights. A family favorite that's easy and delicious!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz box of medium shells
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 lb Velveeta: I used the queso blanco
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles: I use the fire-roasted Rotel

Instructions

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until browned and no longer pink.
  3. Add the taco seasoning and mix until combined.
  4. Next, pour in the milk and add the block of Velveeta cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melted.
  5. Add the corn and the can of diced tomatoes. Stir until combined and cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat down to low and pour in the cooked shells.
  7. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  • You can use the original Velveeta flavor.
  • Use any short pasta that you like.
  • Any kind of diced tomatoes with green chiles works great. Mild, hot, original, etc.
  • Some of my favorite toppings are lime, chopped cilantro, cotija cheese, and hot sauce.
  • Substitute two cans of your favorite beans for the beef to make it vegetarian.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 771Total Fat 49gSaturated Fat 23gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 183mgSodium 1152mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 58g

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Leftover taco meat pasta recipe.
Best easy cheesy leftover taco meat pasta.

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4 Comments

  1. I love this recipe! Finally made something delicious out of leftover taco meat and it’s absolutely easy to make. The whole fam enjoyed it!

  2. The cheesy goodness combined with the savory taco flavors was so delicious. Served with green salad and garlic bread and it’s was a complete meal. It’s such a great way to use up some leftover taco meat!

  3. This was so delicious. I always have leftover meat when I make tacos. This was a great way to switch it up because my husband is done eating leftovers. I added a can of black beans, too, and it was a perfect meal. He didn’t know he was eating leftovers – total win!

  4. I had a lovely dinner because of this! It was so creamy and cheesy, just the way I like! I added some sriracha for a little kick of heat. I’m definitely making this again!

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