Healthy Taco Pasta

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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Ingredients
  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)
Instructions
  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 https://pickanytwo.net/
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?

17 Comments

  1. Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 08:47:29

    Yum! Sounds good and not so exotic that even I, a less than enthusiastic cook, could find all the ingredients and make this.

    Reply

    • Katie
      Aug 12, 2014 @ 11:43:29

      YES! It’s a very accessible recipe, if you will.

      Reply

  2. Victoria
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 10:22:51

    I make something similar, but we do it without pasta and eat it on tortilla chips! I was the same way, wanted something like hamburger helper but without the box! 🙂 Looking forward to bookmarking this recipe.

    Reply

    • Katie
      Aug 12, 2014 @ 11:41:54

      Love the idea of making it more like a taco salad! If you try this I hope you enjoy it!

      Reply

  3. Tamara
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 15:13:08

    Pinned! (or rather, scheduled to pin, because I’m all good like that as you know)
    I wasn’t allowed Hamburger Helper a lot as a kid, because of the processed food thing, but holy cow did I Love it when I could eat it.
    So this is a much better alternative.

    Reply

  4. Wendy
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 18:03:56

    There is very little that I cook or bake from my childhood. My goal has been to make excellent, healthy, tasty meals with great variety.

    In the process, I’ve learned much and our home smells great! Last week we had black bean soup and lamb stew among other meals.

    Reply

    • Katie
      Aug 14, 2014 @ 14:03:44

      Both sound delicious! I’d love your black bean soup recipe, if it’s something you have written down.

      Reply

  5. Jill
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 18:29:40

    My absolute favorite as a toddler was frozen chicken pot pie. Now I love to make something similar in the winter, but I use little cubes of tofu instead of chicken. It’s remarkably similar to what I remember considering the omission of meat. But, looking back, I probably would’ve loved it without the chicken then too. The tiny little pimentos were the best part. I would line them up on the edge of my plate and save them for last.

    Reply

  6. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 00:00:00

    Yes! I remember Hamburger Helper! Oh my goodness, this looks and sounds like a fabulous substitute to a classic childhood dish!

    Thanks so much for sharing!
    xoxo

    Reply

  7. Abby McDonald
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 11:21:45

    Love it, Katie. Hamburger Helper makes me feel sick and I try not to eat anything out of a box either. Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply

  8. Rabia @TheLiebers
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 12:11:19

    I grew up on Hamburger Helper, but I don’t make it now. I was shocked recently at how easy it is to make those recipes on your own. I’m going to add this one to my list!

    Reply

    • Katie
      Aug 14, 2014 @ 14:02:37

      Hope you enjoy it, Rabia!

      Reply

  9. Sharon @ What The Fork Food Blog
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 16:49:20

    This sounds so good! I love homemade alternatives to processed foods 🙂

    Reply

  10. Shanice
    Aug 16, 2014 @ 14:47:32

    I am going to try this! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams, starts on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

    Reply

  11. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 01:26:00

    I don’t remember if we ever ate hamburger helper, but this is definitely something my kids would like. Pinning!

    Reply

  12. Friday Flash Blog No. 82
    Aug 21, 2014 @ 19:01:08

    […] Healthy Taco Pasta? Yes please! Recipe from Pick Any Two […]

    Reply

  13. Friday Flash Blog | Friday Linky Party
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 11:40:16

    […] Healthy Taco Pasta? Yes please! Recipe from Pick Any Two […]

    Reply

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