These taco stuffed shells make the perfect comfort food meal. Each jumbo pasta shell is stuffed with taco seasoned ground meat and covered with salsa and melty cheese. Add your favorite taco fixings to 'em and you've got a meal that's sure to impress! Plus, these taco stuffed shells are so, so easy to make. Just a handful of steps are all you have to follow to make 'em and they should take you no more than 30 minutes to complete.
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WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
It's easy to make. Just cook and season the ground meat, stuff your shells, then top the whole thing with salsa and cheese and let it bake in the oven. The hardest part will be patiently waiting for the shells to finish baking!
Pure comfort food. Between hearty pasta, juicy ground meat, and plenty of melted cheese, every element of this dish screams comfort food.
Customizable. Like any good taco-inspired recipe, there's plenty of room to switch up the ingredients to suit your preferences or save you a trip to the store. You can add different toppings, switch up the meat, or sneak in some extra veggies. I'll be sure to give you plenty of options later on.
Everyone loves it. Anyone who loves tacos and pasta will get a kick out of these taco stuffed shells. Even the pickiest of eaters will be coming back for seconds.
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
- Pasta shells- jumbo shelled pasta, cooked and drained.
- Ground meat- I used ground beef, but any type of ground meat, like ground turkey or ground chicken, will work.
- Splash of water- keeps the ground turkey/beef juicy.
- Taco seasoning mix- any store-bought seasoning mix will do, or you can make your own.
- Salsa- use your favorite brand.
- Mozzarella cheese- or any type of shredded cheese, like a shredded Mexican cheese blend or shredded cheddar cheese.
- Toppings- I used pico de gallo, sour cream, and cilantro.
HOW TO MAKE TACO STUFFED SHELLS
1. Prep work. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC) and grease a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Then, cook the pasta shells as instructed on the package.
2. Cook the ground meat. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the meat until it's browned then season it with the taco seasoning. I like to add a splash of water right before adding the taco seasoning to it.
3. Stuff the shells. Fill each of the cooked jumbo shells with the taco meat and arrange them in the prepared baking dish. Top the shells with salsa and shredded cheese.
4. Bake. Cover the baking dish with foil and cook for 15-20 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a few more minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
5. Add toppings and serve. Serve the taco shells with pico de gallo, sour cream, cilantro, or any toppings you prefer, and enjoy!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THE TACO STUFFED SHELLS
TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST RECIPE
- Use an oven-safe skillet instead of a baking dish so you can cut down on cleanup.
- Make sure not to overcook the ground beef. Cook it just until it browns - it will continue to cook in the baking dish.
- Cook the pasta shells to al dente since they will continue to cook as the pasta bakes in the oven.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT YOUR LEFTOVERS
In the fridge: Store leftover taco stuffed shells in an airtight container or in the baking dish with the lid on and refrigerate them for up to one week.
In the freezer: Allow leftover taco shells to cool completely, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Reheating: I've found the best way to reheat taco stuffed shells is in the oven. First, transfer them back to a baking dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake them at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until the shells are fully reheated. You can remove the foil and continue cooking for an extra few minutes to melt the cheese.
Here are a few different ways you can "spice up" this dish:
- Add diced green chiles or a dash of chili powder to the ground meat to make a spicier dish.
- Crumble bacon bits over the top of the shells right before serving them to add some salty crunchy goodness to 'em.
- Experiment with different toppings, like chopped green onions, black olives, sliced avocado, or pickled red onions to change up the flavors.
- Stir in softened cream cheese to the ground meat mixture to make a creamier, richer dish.
- Add some enchilada sauce over top of the pasta before baking to make a saucier dish.
MORE MEXICAN INSPIRED RECIPES
- Mexican spaghetti
- Mexican chili
- Mexican meatloaf
- Mexican cornbread casserole
- Mexican ground beef casserole
- 12-16 pasta shells, cooked and drained
- 400 gr. ground meat
- 2 tbsp. taco seasoning
- 2 cups salsa
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Toppings: pico de gallo, sour cream, cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180ºC). In a non-stick skillet, cook the meat and season with the taco seasoning until browned.
- Fill each shell with the meat and arrange in a baking tray. Top with the salsa and cheese. Cover with foil and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove the foil and cook for a few more minutes, just until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Serve with pico de gallo, sour cream and cilantro.
Serving Size:1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 486Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 372mgCarbohydrates: 92gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 20g