Taco Stuffed Shells: A Flavorful Twist on Taco Night

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Looking to spice up your dinner routine? Look no further than Taco Stuffed Shells! This creative twist on traditional tacos combines the beloved flavors of tacos with the comfort of pasta, creating a mouthwatering meal that’s sure to please the whole family. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of making Taco Stuffed Shells, along with some helpful tips, variations, and keto-friendly options.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef? A: Yes, ground turkey is a great alternative for a leaner option. Simply cook it as you would the ground beef and proceed with the recipe.

Q: Can I use a different type of cheese? A: Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different cheeses such as Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Mexican blend cheese for a unique flavor profile.

Q: Can I make this recipe vegetarian? A: Yes, you can omit the ground beef and substitute it with cooked lentils, black beans, or your favorite meat alternative.

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For the Taco Stuffed Shells:

  • 8 jumbo pasta shells
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • ⅓ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ (16 ounce) jar salsa, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion

For Garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream


Step 1: Prepare the Pasta Shells

  1. Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.

Step 2: Cook the Ground Beef

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until browned and crumbled. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Stir in the taco seasoning mix and water, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Fill the Pasta Shells

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Spread a thin layer of salsa on the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Fill each cooked pasta shell with a spoonful of refried beans, followed by the taco-seasoned ground beef mixture.
  4. Place the filled pasta shells in the prepared baking dish.

Step 4: Bake the Stuffed Shells

  1. Top the stuffed shells with shredded Cheddar cheese and the remaining salsa.
  2. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Step 5: Garnish and Serve

  1. Remove the foil from the baking dish and garnish the stuffed shells with sliced green onions, shredded Cheddar cheese, and dollops of sour cream.
  2. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Spice It Up: Adjust the level of heat by using mild, medium, or hot salsa, and add additional taco seasoning or crushed red pepper flakes for extra spice.
  • Vegetarian Option: Substitute the ground beef with cooked lentils, black beans, or your favorite meat alternative for a vegetarian-friendly version.
  • Cheese Lover’s Delight: Add extra shredded cheese on top of the stuffed shells for a gooey, cheesy finish.

Keto Versions and Low-Carb Options:

  • Low-Carb Variation: Skip the pasta shells altogether and use large lettuce leaves or bell pepper halves as a low-carb alternative. Fill with the taco-seasoned ground beef mixture and toppings of your choice.
  • Keto-Friendly Option: Replace the refried beans with mashed avocado or guacamole for a creamy, keto-friendly filling. You can also use cauliflower rice instead of pasta shells to keep the dish low in carbs.

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Taco Stuffed Shells are a fun and delicious way to enjoy the flavors of tacos in a comforting pasta dish. With a perfect balance of savory beef, creamy refried beans, tangy salsa, and melted cheese, every bite is a burst of flavor. Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight dinner or entertaining guests, this recipe is sure to be a hit. So grab your ingredients and get ready to enjoy a fiesta of flavors with Taco Stuffed Shells!

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