April 14, 2024

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Health Can Do

Vegan Taco Pasta | Dietitian Debbie Dishes

vegan taco pasta in skillet garnished with avocado, red onion, and chopped cilantro.

This one pot vegan taco pasta is a weeknight dinner game-changer. It takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and has just 10 ingredients – plus it’s delicious! Our toddler has been loving this easy cheesy taco pasta, I hope you do too.

vegan taco pasta in skillet garnished with avocado, red onion, and chopped cilantro.

This post was originally published October 2017; updated March 2023.

If you’ve been following along with the blog for a little while, you may have noticed that I have been leaning into lots of easy vegan one pot meals. After becoming a mom, I’ve been looking for faster weeknight meal options! Some of my recent favorite one-pot meal recipes include this vegan lasagna skillet and my black bean enchilada skillet. Now we have this easy vegan taco pasta joining the party. 😁

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • One pot (that’s right, no need to boil the pasta in another pot), done in 30 minutes, and made with pantry staples – what’s not to love!
  • A family friendly option that even picky eaters may enjoy. (At least, my toddler eats this one!) Chock full of plant-based protein and fiber from the veggies makes this pasta dish a healthy option for an easy weeknight dinner. 
  • This creamy vegan taco pasta recipe is vegan, dairy free, egg free, and easily adapted to be gluten free by replacing the pasta with a gluten-free option.

Ingredients and Substitutions

one pot vegan taco pasta ingredients in small bowls on a white background.
  • Pasta: Use just about any type of pasta shape that you like such as macaroni, penne, rigatoni, gemelli, or cavatappi. I used campanelle shaped pasta in the photos for this post. Increase the fiber and add extra protein to this dish by using a legume pasta like chickpea pasta instead.
  • Plant-Based Crumbles: I used the plant-based crumbles from Gardein, a vegan ground meat substitute you can find in the freezer section at the grocery store. However, you could also use tempeh, TVP, or another plant-based ground meat product. Beans would also work well in this recipe. I would just substitute 1 can of black beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans for the plant-based crumbles.
  • Veggies: For this recipe, we’re adding pepper, onion, and zucchini. I used green bell pepper, but you can use yellow or red bell pepper too. However, you could use other veggies like mushrooms or sweet corn.
  • Salsa: Adds lots of flavor and some liquid to this pasta recipe. Salsa tastes best, but in a pinch you can substitute with 1 can diced tomatoes.
  • Vegan Cheese: We love adding a bit of vegan cheese shreds to this yummy vegan taco pasta. I usually lean towards either a vegan cheddar or a Mexican blend cheese. If you aren’t vegan, go ahead and use a dairy cheese if you’d like.
  • Taco Seasoning: adds tons of delicious flavor from cumin, garlic, and onion to this dish. We always keep some storebought taco seasoning on hand, but you can make your own.

Step by Step

Step One: Sauté the red onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and olive oil together in a large skillet with tall sides over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until onion is tender.

Step Two: Stir in the plant based crumbles and taco seasoning. Cook for 1-2 minutes just to thaw the crumbles.

Step Three: Add the water and salsa. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Step Four: Stir in the uncooked pasta and cover. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Stir every 5 minutes or so to ensure even cooking. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, stir in the vegan cheese until melted.

Expert Tips

  • Add Even More Flavor: Add even more flavor by using a vegetable broth instead of the water in the recipe.
  • Stir Frequently: You’ll need to stir every 5 minutes or so after adding the lasagna noodles so they don’t stick together or burn to the bottom of the pan. 
  • Medium Low Heat: After adding the noodles, keep the lid on as much as possible and use medium low heat as you don’t want all the sauce to cook off before the pasta is done. 
  • Customize to Your Preference: feel free to add different veggies, use different pasta shapes, or add different toppings when serving.
vegan taco pasta in skillet garnished with sliced avocado and fresh cilantro.

Storing Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or for a few minutes in a skillet on the stovetop.
  • Freezer: store leftovers in the freezer in airtight containers. (I like to store single servings in individual containers so I can reheat one portion at a time.) Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Recipe FAQs

Is taco pasta healthy?

Yes! This one pot vegan taco pasta is full of plant-based protein, micronutrients, and fiber. Use whole wheat pasta or a legume based pasta if you want to bump up the fiber even more.

Can I make this recipe gluten free?

Yes, you can easily make this recipe gluten free by using a gluten-free pasta of your choice. The plant-based crumbles I used from Gardein are gluten free, but if you are using a different plant-based meat – just double check the label.

More Delicious Pasta Recipes You’ll Love

Did you love this recipe? Make sure to leave a ⭐️ rating and tag #dietitiandebbie on instagram!

vegan taco pasta garnished with avocado and cilantro.

Vegan Taco Pasta (One Pot!)

Created by: Deborah Murphy

This one pot vegan taco pasta is a weeknight dinner game-changer. It takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and has just 10 ingredients – plus it’s delicious! Our toddler has been loving this easy cheesy taco pasta, I hope you do too. 

Prevent your screen from going dark

Instructions

  • Add oil, onion, bell pepper, and zucchini to a large skillet with tall sides. Sauté over medium heat until onion is translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the plant-based crumbles and taco seasoning. Cook for another 1-2 minutes to thaw the crumbles .

  • Add the salsa and water and bring to a simmer. Add the uncooked pasta and cover with a lid. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so until the pasta is cooked to al dente.

  • Stir in the shredded vegan cheese and stir to melt. Turn off the heat and garnish as desired then serve!

Notes

  • To serve, add desired toppings such as green onions, fresh cilantro, lime juice, vegan sour cream, black olives and sliced avocado.
  • Don’t have veggie crumbles? Use ground seitan, black beans, TVP, or vegan ground meat (like BeyondMeat).
  • Storage: store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 835mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1167IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 4mg

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