It only takes 25 minutes to bring this scrumptious Healthy Mexican Pasta Bake to the table. It’s easy, tasty, and even kind of healthy. Perfect weeknight meal without the fuss.
- 12 oz uncooked whole grain corkscrew pasta (or other pasta)
- 2 TB olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
- 1.25 oz or 2 1/2 TB homemade taco seasoning (or store bought)
- 32 oz jar chunky salsa
- 1 can (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed well and drained
- 1 can (2.25 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided (light or low-fat is fine)
- Garnishes: freshly chopped cilantro, avocado slices
- Preheat oven to 350F with rack on upper middle position. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil; cook pasta just to al dente only, taking care not to over cook. Drain immediately. Add drained pasta back to the empty pot and set aside (sprinkle with a bit of olive oil if needed to prevent sticking)
- While pasta is cooking: In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 TB olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic, stirring 2 min. Add ground meat and cook to brown. Stir in taco seasoning, salsa, black beans, olives, and oregano. Cook 1 minute until mixture is heated through.
- Add browned meat mixture to the pot of cooked/drained pasta, stirring to combine. Transfer to greased baking dish and evenly top with cheese. Bake uncovered 10 minutes just until cheese melts. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and avocado. Serve immediately.
Be sure to have the oven ready to go, so that once you combine the pasta and meat mixture, it immediately goes into the oven. Otherwise, your pasta might soak up too much sauce before it reaches the oven.