We love Taco Tuesday – it’s a bit of tradition in our house. However, as much as we love tacos, sometimes, we like to think outside the tortilla and come up with new ways to bring Mexican-inspired flavors into our house. Enter the chicken taco pasta recipe.
This chicken taco pasta recipe, has a lot going on for it:
- First of all, it’s super yummy, and if a recipe isn’t super yummy, why bother going any further?
- It’s got enough flavor for the adults, but isn’t spicy so kids like it too.
- Our chicken taco pasta only needs one dish to make, which means that there is a lot less cleaning to do at the end of the night.
- Only a little bit of prep is needed, most of the cook time on this recipe is simmering time, so you can multi-task while making dinner.
- It’s not a 30 minute recipe, but you’ll still have a flavorful and fresh dinner on the table in just about 40 minutes, which we will take!
- This all-in-one recipe has protein, carbs, vegetables, and, most importantly in Wisconsin, dairy so it’s nutritionally diverse and beneficial.
Yeah, like we said, this dish has a lot going on, and we’re pretttttty confident that the reasons above should have you ready to get cooking. You can keep scrolling on down to the ingredients and directions, or if you want to learn a little bit more about this recipe, check out these answers to some commonly asked questions about how to make our chicken taco pasta recipe.
What type of chicken can I use in this recipe?
You can go with three different cuts of chicken in this recipe. Just make sure you cut them all into about 1″ cubes. Here are your options:
- Use whole boneless skinless chicken breasts. We wrote the recipe using this cut because it’s easy to find, popular, and an all-around safe bet.
- Save time and buy chicken breast tenders! These conveniently shaped pieces of chicken breast will save you prep time as they’re easier to cut into cubes, plus they’re more tender. Who’d have thunk that?
- Finally, if you want to bring more flavor to this dish, try using boneless skinless chicken thighs. They’ll sear beautifully and add a little bit of dark chicken oomph to round out the flavor in the dish.
What’s a taco seasoning packet?
It’s exactly what you think it is – one of those 1 ounce packets of taco seasoning from McCormick or Old El Paso or Lawry’s or La Preferida (our favorite) that you add to grown beef and end up with a delicious bunch of ground beef tacos.
If you’re not down with these packets, you can use your own favorite taco seasoning or your own taco seasoning blend and season this dish to your own taste!
What type of pasta should I use for chicken taco pasta?
This dish is great with a tube shaped pasta like rigatoni, penne, or ziti. We like rigatoni because it’s big and stands up to being mixed with all the other ingredients pretty well. You’ll also get slurps of the delicious sauce from inside the rigatoni and we think that’s a huge win.
Are there any other vegetables I could add to the chicken taco pasta?
Definitely. We tried to keep this recipe fairly straightforward and bring flavor without having to use too many ingredients, but you can add all of these vegetables if you’re looking to enjoy a few more veggies in your diet:
- Sear some diced onions with your chicken if you’d like a bit richer flavor base. White, yellow, or red, your choice!
- You could add a bit of minced garlic to the end of the sear if you’re a garlic fan.
- While not necessarily adding more vegetables to your chicken taco pasta, if you have freshly harvested local tomatoes, you could dice them up and use them instead of canned tomatoes. You know there’s nothing quite like a just picked tomato for freshness of flavor!
- And adding chopped jalapeño or other spicy peppers with the bell peppers will bring some heat to your dish (more on that later).
If I’d like to spice up this recipe, do you have any suggestions?
Well, we just mentioned adding jalapeño peppers to the dish as a way of bring some spice to your chicken taco pasta, but here are four more quick and easy ways to spice up the dish.
- Use diced tomatoes and chilies (Ro-Tel) instead of plain diced tomatoes. You’ll bring a touch of heat and smoky flavor without going overboard.
- Sprinkle in a teaspoon or two of cayenne pepper when you add the taco seasoning packet. That’ll heat up the dish nicely!
- Once your done cooking, taste the remaining liquid, and then add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce and stir it all up.
- Instead of topping your finished chicken taco pasta with shredded cheddar cheese, try using a shredded chipotle cheddar cheese or another similar spicy cheese.
We want to be clear – as it is written our chicken taco pasta salad is not a spicy dish. It’s meant to be enjoyable for the whole family, and it seems like every family has at least one person that does not like spicy. Not even a little bit. If your family can handle the heat, then by all means, spice it up!
What type of dish did you cook your chicken taco pasta in?
We’re glad you asked, as we are quite passionate about our love for our 6 qt. Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven. Unlike a traditional Dutch oven, the enamel finish on the inside of this one helps it resist acidic foods better than unfinished cast iron, and it also makes clean up a lot easier! You can make this in a well seasoned traditional cast iron Dutch oven, but make sure you do not let the tomatoes sit in the Dutch oven for long, or it will eat away at the finish.
We think that answers all the questions we’ve had asked about this chicken taco pasta recipe, but if you have tips, suggestions, or questions, please don’t hesitate to leave us a note below. If you’ve read through this recipe and you decide that nah, chicken taco pasta just isn’t going to work for Taco Tuesday, that’s okay too – we have plenty of taco recipes for you to check out as well.
Enjoy – we’ll see you soon at Lake Geneva Country Meats!
- 1.5 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (cut into 1″ cubes)
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 Taco Seasoning Packet (1 ounce)
- 12 oz Pasta (rigatoni, penne, or ziti)
- 1.5 cup Chicken Broth
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz)
- 1 Green Bell Pepper (cut into thin slices)
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (cut into thin slices)
- 1 can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup Corn
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese (for serving)
- 2 Tbsp Lime Juice
- Cilantro (chopped, for serving)
- Lime Wedges (for serving)
Add the vegetable oil to a large pot, such as a Dutch oven, and heat to medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until seared on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Once the chicken is seared, add the taco seasoning packet and mix to combine.
After seasoning the chicken, add the uncooked pasta, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Mix together and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the sliced bell peppers, black beans, corn, and lime juice. Continue simmering for another 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
Once the pasta is tender, remove the pot from the heat and serve by scooping a helping of the chicken taco pasta into a bowl. Top with shredded cheese, cilantro, and a lime wedge to squeeze on top. Enjoy!