Yes, that is PASTA you see in my chicken taco casserole recipe. And no, pasta is not paleo.
This particular pasta, though, happens to be gluten free, so it does put it in the “scaleo” category, even if it’s not in the “paleo” category.
A few weeks ago, I got an email inviting me to enter a blogger recipe challenge. I thought to myself, “Hey, self, since you are tapering down on like 4 of your 6 jobs, why not bring another thing onto your plate? You don’t want to have TOO much downtime to like, relax, or something before you have a baby.”
And so, there I was, being mailed a jar of coconut oil and four boxes of gluten free quinoa pasta, and being asked to come up with not one, not two, but three different recipes: appetizer, entree, and baking.
One of the requirements of the challenge is that we include a photo of the product in the post. Guess who forgot to take a picture of the product before using it and throwing away the box? I blame it on pregnancy brain. So instead, I’ve included a photo of the other pastas they sent me that I haven’t used yet – just use your imagination, and pretend one of them is penne. 😀
And then you can see the deliciousness it turned into.
This one had a few iterations, and almost became some sort of chicken thai casserole, but the chicken taco casserole worked way better. Who doesn’t love all that spicy taco goodness?
You can serve this casserole without toppings, but I don’t recommend it. It will still be flavorful, but the olives, cilantro, extra salsa, and lime (or whatever your mexican food toppings of choice are) really take it to a whole other level.
You might be saying, “but where’s the cheese?” And to that I say, there is no cheese. And you probably won’t even miss it. C’mon, I can make a gluten free pasta dish in the name of scaleo, but I can’t add cheese to it also and still feel like I’m staying in the scaleo lane!
That being said, if you want to add cheese to the top of your chicken taco casserole, I promise not to tell. 😉
- sliced black olives
- fresh cilantro
- slices of lime
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
On another burner, bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
Add the gluten free penne pasta to the boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
Add the chicken taco meat to the skillet and brown for 4-5 minutes.
Add pepper, onion and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes more, until peppers and onions are beginning to soften.
Your pasta should be about done by now - remove from heat and drain.
Remove meat mixture from heat and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the salsa, green chiles, lime zest, and lime juice and stir to combine.
Add the whisked eggs to the mixture, and stir again, combining well.
Grease an 8x8 baking dish with the other teaspoon of coconut oil.
Starting with the taco meat mixture, layer the taco meat and the gluten free penne pasta - meat, pasta, meat, pasta - until none remains. Be sure to make the top layer the meat mixture to keep the pasta from getting dried out!
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the center is no longer jiggly and the eggs are cooked through.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. While the casserole cools, prep your toppings.
Cut casserole into squares and serve, topping with olives, cilantro, salsa, or other toppings of choice!