Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells


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Taco stuffed pasta shells are a great twist on classic stuffed shells Jumbo pasta shells are filled with a creamy seasoned beef & vegetable mixture and topped with cheese. 

All you need to add to this delicious taco inspired casserole is a simple tossed salad, or some roasted broccoli!

A serving of taco stuffed shells on a plate garnished with parsley.

What Pasta To Use

Jumbo shells are sold with the pasta and are available in most supermarkets (or online at Amazon).  They often come in a box (to keep them from breaking) next to the lasagna. They are called conchiglie, because they resemble conch shells.

If you can’t find them, try substituting for the smaller shells and creating a casserole (layered like I do with my baked ziti), rather than stuffed shells.

How To Make Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

To make these stuffed pasta shells:

  1. Cook the pasta shells to al dente (they’ll cook a bit more in the oven).
  2. Brown the ground beef and onions and drain fat.

Two images showing taco stuffed shells filling in a pan then mixed and combined with cream cheese.

  1. Add tomatoes, taco seasoning, water, and veggies (per the recipe below). Cook until all of the water is evaporated.
  2. Fill each pasta shell with a few tablespoons of the beef mixture. Add them to a casserole dish.

Two images showing jumbo pasta shells being filled with the taco mixture and then lined up in a casserole dish.

  1. Top with salsa. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Then, add cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

You bet, these are even freezable! You can prepare these up until step 5, and store them in the fridge for up to 24 hours or freeze them (more on that below).

Two images showing taco filled pasta shells on a casserole dish topped with sauce and then with shredded cheese.

To Make This a Freezer Meal

This meal can be made ahead of time and frozen.  Prepare as directed but don’t add the cheese on top and don’t bake it. Ensure the filling is cooled and cover tightly with plastic wrap and then wrap in foil.

To Cook: Remove it from the freezer the night before and refrigerate overnight.  By dinner time the next day it’s ready to top with cheese and bake.

Storing and Reheating The Leftovers

Have leftovers? No worries! They will last about 3 days in the fridge, covered.

These reheat pretty well. To reheat this stuffed taco casserole, microwave for a couple minutes, or reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes.

More Tasty Taco Takes

We love traditional ground beef tacos and often cook the meat up in batches for meals. Add taco meat to your regular ground beef dishes to spice them up like taco lasagna or taco casserole.

Leftover meat is also great on Taco Salad or in a taco soup recipe!

4.82 from 11 votes
Review Recipe

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly N.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells. Jumbo pasta shells filled with a creamy seasoned beef & vegetable mixture and topped with cheese.  This is the perfect weeknight meal and fun twist on Taco night!

Ingredients

Filling
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 1 14.5 oz can of (low sodium) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped veggies (red, yellow or green peppers, corn, zucchini… whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
Other
  • 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 Cups Salsa
  • 2 Cups grated cheddar and/or monterey jack cheese
  • Sour cream for serving

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Cook pasta shells al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

  3. Brown ground beef and onion in a large pan until no pink remains.

  4. Add in undrained tomatoes, taco seasoning, 3/4 cup of water and veggies. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in cream cheese until melted.

  5. Fill each pasta shell with about 2-3 tablespoons of the beef mixture. Place into a casserole dish.

  6. Top with salsa. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Recipe Notes

To Make Ahead: Prepare up to step 5. Refrigerate or freeze overnight.
To Cook Frozen Shells: Defrost in the fridge overnight and proceed with baking as directed.
 
Nutrition Information
Calories: 745, Fat: 39g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Cholesterol: 152mg, Sodium: 2124mg, Potassium: 1179mg, Carbohydrates: 51g, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 11g, Protein: 47g, Vitamin A: 4565%, Vitamin C: 19.7%, Calcium: 289%, Iron: 6.4%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword stuffed pasta shells

 

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells served on a white plate.
Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells served on a white plate.
Top Photo - Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells served on a white plate. Bottom photo - Pasta shells in a casserole dish.

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About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Comments

  1. There is so reason for 2lbs of meat for this recipe. I used 1lb and still had some left over unless I’m not stuffing the shells correctly

    1. Glad you enjoyed the recipe Alissa and letting us know that the recipe works with one pound too. I may just have stuffed them with a bit more filling than you.

  2. I have made these and they are amazing!! I also make dinners once a week for other families and events and these have become the most requested meal lol absolutely awesome!!

  3. I made this for my husband over a month ago and it was really delicious! My family is coming over for dinner tomorrow and I am planning on making this for them. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did! 

  4. This dish looks amazing! Im making it tonight for the first time!!! I can’t wait to see how this comes out! So excited lol :)

  5. Fantastic recipe, thanks! I made this today, and it was both tasty and inexpensive. Made 1 tp eat and froze two for later. The only changes I made was to use veggie crumbles in place of beef, and mixed in some crockpot refried beans. It’s a real winner!

  6. I made this with ground beef taco seasoning, onions, green pepper, cans of cheddar cheese and cans of cheedar cheese fiesta blend for the soup isle, omg good, topped with the fresh tomatoes and black olives, I saved some of the mixture back to put on tortilla chips and the family loved it,

    1. Glad your family loved it! The cream gives a bit of creamy texture and flavour, but sounds like it worked great for you without it!

  7. I love the flavors in this recipe (ive made it twice) but im having some issues with the consistency. I am not a fan of tomatoes wheb they are chunky so i used tomato sauce instead and because of that, the mixture is coming out soupy. Any ideas on how i can still use tomato sauce but get the right consistency? Should i leave out the water or use lesss tomato sauce? ( ive been using 15oz) thank you!

    1. You might like to either leave the water out, cook the tomato sauce down until it thickens with the beef or just replace it with a bit of tomato paste for the flavor.

  8. Hi all! I made this recipe in my large electric skillet. Dinner was running late, so I skipped the oven part and just cooked it all up in the electric skillet. When it was done cooking, I smoothed it all out and covered it in cheese and put the lid on for 10 minutes until the cheese was melted. I serve it with salsa, hot sauce and guacamole on the side 

  9. I will be making this soon….there is one thing I will change and that is the cream cheese….not fond of it melted into some things….I will use pepper jack cheese and melt it in…..to kick it up a notch ….can’t wait to try this….

  10. Your recipe is awesome and thank you so much for sharing it with Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. YUM!
    I saw your thumbnail on the All Things Thursday link party and had to check it out. I love finding new recipes for freezer meals, and I pinned this to make soon.
    Happy Thursday,
    Ang, Juggling Act Mama