Give Black Bean And Corn Tacos The Pasta Treatment For A Heartier Meal

Black beans and corn are two staple ingredients for vegan-friendly tacos, but we've got an idea that can turn that dish into an even heartier meal: blending the Mexican-forward flavors with some Italian inspiration to make a one-pot pasta dish. We found inspiration for this ultimate comfort meal that's easy to whip up for a weeknight dinner from our original black bean and corn taco pasta recipe created by Tasting Table recipe developer Annabelle Randles.

We think it's an ideal dinner recipe for when you need a last-minute meal idea because it uses just three ingredients that might already be in your kitchen: a can of black beans, frozen corn, and a box of pasta shells. And if you don't already have these ingredients on hand, the three main components are fairly affordable and easy to find for a meat-free meal. 

The pasta dish is also a fun way to mix cuisines and unlikely ingredients to switch up your weekly dinner rotation. It's almost like a Tex-Mex-style macaroni and cheese because Randles adds 2 cups of grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese to the pasta dish. You can also use a Mexican cheese blend or whatever other variety you have on hand for this pasta.

Customize the recipe for a spicier or meatier taco pasta

In our recipe, Annabelle Randles suggests draining and rinsing the black beans before incorporating them into the dish. She uses frozen corn, but you can also use canned corn — just don't forget to drain it as you did with the beans. To make this one-pot meal as easy — and loaded with flavor — as possible, cook the pasta in the vegetable stock with the other ingredients. You don't even have to worry about draining off the water like you might with other kinds of pasta. 

If the pasta sauce is too thick after the pasta is cooked, add some more stock or water to thin it out before the freshly grated cheese goes into the pot. Recipes are really a guide, and there are many ways to customize your black bean and corn taco pasta. Do you prefer meat in your dinner? Add some ground beef, chicken, or turkey for a meaty take on this Southwestern pasta. 

A dose of heat also complements all of the ingredients, so swap the Monterey Jack with Pepper Jack cheese, use cayenne pepper in your seasoning blend, forgo the bell peppers in favor of jalapeños, or use a spicy sauce like arrabbiata instead of marinara if you need a little more spice in your food. To finish off the dish, add crushed tortilla chips for crunch, fresh or pickled jalapeños for more heat, diced avocado or sour cream for creaminess, or keep it simple with a garnish of chopped cilantro as Randles suggests.