Healthy Taco Pasta

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Healthy Taco Pasta. A fresh, healthy alternative to Hamburger Helper! #comfortfood

The first time I had Hamburger Helper was at a friend’s house when I was ten years old. I immediately deemed my friend’s mom the most amazing cook in the world.

I had no idea that all she did was brown some meat and add it to a packet of powder and dry pasta. I just knew it tasted good.

These days I try to eat more from the ground and less from a box, so Hamburger Helper has lost a lot of its appeal—though the concept behind it hasn’t. Protein mixed with pasta and topped with seasonings will always make for a delicious and easy meal.

Here’s one of my favorite Hamburger Helper alternatives: Healthy Taco Pasta. 

Healthy Taco Pasta
Serves 6
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  1. 1.25 lbs. ground turkey
  2. 8 oz. dry whole wheat pasta (rotini works well)
  3. 1 small onion, chopped
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
  6. 4 tbsp. taco seasoning
  7. 3 oz. cream cheese
  8. 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  9. salt and pepper
  10. shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend—optional)
  11. chopped green onions or fresh herbs for garnish (optional)
  1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground turkey until no longer pink, breaking up with a wooden spoon.
  3. When the turkey is almost cooked through, add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the tomatoes and the taco seasoning and stir.
  4. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and reserved pasta water. Mix with the cooked pasta, then combine with the ground turkey. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is well-blended. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Simmer the whole mixture over medium-low for a few minutes until the sauce reaches your desired thickness.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve, topping with shredded cheese and green onion/herbs, if you desire.
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Pick Any Two
If you’re not a fan of ground turkey, I think ground chicken or bison would work equally well—either would be both healthy and flavorful. You could also just heat up some beans with the seasoning to make a vegetarian version.

Also, check out this recipe for homemade taco seasoning—it’s so easy to skip the pre-packaged kind!

Did you eat Hamburger Helper as a kid? Is there a childhood favorite food that you now try to make in a healthier way?