If you love making cheesy enchiladas, then you’re going to love this easy enchilada pasta recipe. It’s ready in about 30 minutes and one pot, so clean-up is a breeze.
This recipe makes the cut for our Pantry Budget Rescue series because the ingredients are easily found in your pantry, are inexpensive, this recipe feeds a crowd, and/or this is a freezer-friendly meal.
More recipes from the Pantry Budget Rescue Series:
- "Meat"ball Marinara Sub Recipe (Pantry Budget Rescue Series)
- Kielbasa Hashbrown casserole
- The Perfect Family Recipe for Authentic Swedish Meatballs
- Easy Chicken Spaghetti Recipe
- The simplest sheet pan beef nachos recipe
- Easy Gnocchi alfredo
- Ravioli Lasagna (aka Bachelor's Lasagna)
- Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles
- Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper
- One Pan Enchilada Casserole
What is typically in an enchilada?
An enchilada is usually meat, vegetables, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla. But today we are skipping the tortilla and opting to mix our enchilada inside with our enchilada outside in the form of flavorful, cheesy, mouth-watering pasta.
Our pasta has all the familiar flavors of enchilada sauce, meat, and cheese. Add veggies for topping and you'll find your new favorite way to eat enchiladas!
- Ground beef or ground turkey. For a vegetarian option, swap the ground beef for black beans.
- Red Enchilada Sauce. You can find this around the taco supplies in your grocery store.
- Crushed Tomatoes. Sub diced tomatoes if you have to.
- Queso Fresco. This is a soft, crumbly cheese. You can sub mozzarella cheese if you can't find the queso.
- Shredded Cheese. I prefer using pepper jack cheese but use your family's favorite melty cheese.
- Pasta. I prefer to use shell or rotini pasta. Use gluten-free if your diet requires it.
Where is enchilada sauce in grocery store?
You'll find the enchilada sauce (both red and green) in your international food aisles AND by your taco-making ingredients.
Add-in's to try:
- Corn. Try adding a can of drained corn or frozen sweet corn.
- Black olives are a necessity for some our recipe testers.
- Beans. Leave out the ground beef and replace it with black beans for a vegetarian option.
- Red bell pepper. Saute the pepper with the onion...great punch of color in the pasta.
- Green Chiles. Get a nice kick of flavor with a drained can of green chilis (or chopped fresh, if you have them!)
- Taco seasoning. For knock your socks off flavor add a package of taco seasoning with the ground beef.
- Place the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the diced onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir constantly.
- Add the sliced garlic and cook 1 minute, then add the ground beef, cumin, and chili powder.
- Cook the ground beef until completely browned and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package cooking time and drain. (Do not rinse.)
- Add the crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce and queso fresco to the cooked ground beef.
- Continue to cook, occasionally stirring, until heated through.
- Add in the pasta, stir to coat with the meat sauce, and then cover the entire dish with shredded cheese.
- Remove from heat and serve with your favorite enchilada-inspired toppings.
Tip: If you want your cheese extra melt-y put your pan (only if it is oven safe!) under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Sour Cream. A good dollop on top of my enchiladas is always a must-have.
- Avocados. Sliced or diced, avo's add a lovely creamy texture.
- Green onions. Sliced green onions make everything look pretty as well as add a nice flavor and texture.
- Lime. A little bit of fresh lime juice squeezed on top brings everything all together.
Make Ahead/Store Enchilada Pasta:
Enchilada pasta can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to heat. Simply make the pasta and put it into a covered casserole pan and place it in the fridge. When ready, heat the oven to 350degrees. and heat for about 45 minutes.
Enchilada pasta can be made ahead and frozen. Be sure to let the pasta cool before freezing. Freeze in an aluminum foil pan with foil on top. Thaw before placing in the oven and bake until heated through...about 45 minutes at 350degrees.