If you’ve ever thought, “Man, oh man, I really love pasta and I really love tacos, I just can’t decide which one I love more!” Well, you don’t have to choose between the two anymore!
That’s right, I took the delicious flavors of a taco and incorporated them into this baked ziti recipe, that is not only totally scrumptious, it’s totally easy too!
Last week I was dreaming about the Creamy Avocado Sauce from my Mexican Stuffed Shells and Chicken Enchiladas, (yes, this is what food bloggers actually dream about, lol) and thought, how else can I incorporate this sauce into my life?
I had a box of ziti pasta in my cabinet, and voila, Taco Baked Ziti with Creamy Avocado Sauce was born!
The combination of flavors in this dish is fantastic, from the light and creamy avocado sauce, to the taco seasoned ground beef, to the sweet cherry tomatoes and light, sprinkling of pepper jack cheese on top. I could eat this dish for every meal for a week.. and I did!
Seriously, this dish will serve 6-8 people, and I shared it with… no one… ok, I lie, I shared one bowl with my neighbor, but the rest was all mine 😉
- 1 lb. ziti pasta
- 1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning (click link for homemade recipe)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans (drained & rinsed)
- avocado sauce (recipe below)
- ½ cup pepper jack cheese
Creamy Avocado Sauce
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 large avocados (peeled & de-seeded)
- 4 oz can diced green chilies
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground coriander
Preheat oven to 400°.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the ziti pasta 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.
Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is boiling add the ground beef to a skillet over medium heat. Cook through, drain off any grease, then add the taco seasoning, cherry tomatoes & black beans.
Combine well, then simmer 5-7 minutes on low heat.
Now it’s time to put your multi-tasking pants on and prepare the avocado sauce while the noodles are boiling, and the ground beef is simmering!
Prepare the avocado sauce by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until creamy.
At this point, the pasta should be cooked and drained, the beef simmered and the sauce ready.
Combine the ground beef and pasta, then pour the sauce over the top.
Mix everything together, then transfer to an oven-safe baking dish.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
Cover loosely with foil and bake 15-20 minutes.
You have no idea how hard it was not to immediately dig into this dish when it came out of the oven!
I mean, come on people, doesn’t that big bowl of creamy pasta goodness just scream, “eat me immediately!!”
After about 30 minutes of taking pictures (longest 30 minutes of my life!) I grabbed a spoon and served myself a bowl!
That first bite was magical 😉
This recipe only takes 20 minutes of prep, (just remember to wear those multi-tasking pants… I think Nordstrom has a great pair on sale right now 😉 ) making it the perfect weeknight meal to feed a family, or one very hungry food blogger and her neighbor!
Want more great recipes made in under an hour? Check out LLB’s “Quick and Easy Dinner Dishes” on Pinterest where you’ll find 40 recipes perfect for weeknight meals!
♣ Vegetarian Option: Replace the ground beef with soy chorizo or meatless crumbles to make this recipe vegetarian.
♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute gluten-free ziti or penne pasta to make this recipe gluten-free. Make sure the taco seasoning used is gluten-free (if you make it homemade, it is!) Also, make sure that the chicken broth used in the avocado sauce is gluten-free.