This easy chicken taco casserole is the perfect weeknight meal. With salsa, green chiles, and fresh peppers and onions, it packs a punch of flavor that is loved by kids and adults alike. Use gluten free pasta for a healthier option! Taco night, redesigned, with the Mexican flavors you love.
The casserole is a beautiful thing, isn't it? It's a complete meal in one pan. It makes great meal prep, is an easy way to make dinner for the entire family, and puts all the best flavors together in one dish.
Today, we're making a chicken taco casserole. And yes, that is PASTA you see in my chicken taco casserole recipe. And no, pasta is not paleo.
This particular pasta is from TresOmega Nutrition. They make a number of products, to include chia seeds, coconut oil, and gluten free pasta: elbows, fusilli, spaghetti, and penne. There are many other companies that make gluten free pasta options.
We don't eat a lot of pasta in our house, but when we do, we try to make sure it is gluten free. If it's grain free, that's an even bigger win!
Grain free pasta is a bit harder to come by - our go-tos in that category are Jovial cassava flour pasta that I get on Thrive Market and these asian sweet potato glass noodles that I buy on Amazon. (If you're not familiar with Thrive, you can read my review of it here!)
If you prefer not to use pasta and are looking for a more low carb option, you may want to visit my recipe for Chicken Enchilada Casserole, which uses cauliflower rice instead - more of a keto chicken taco casserole alternative.
Aside from your pasta of choice, you'll need your chicken taco meat. I use ground chicken and my homemade taco seasoning from this recipe, but you could also cook up some chicken breasts and turn it into shredded chicken before seasoning if you prefer that texture to ground meat.
If you don't want to make your own taco seasoning (which is really so easy, but I get it), you can find a taco seasoning mix at the store. I recommend you stay away from things like Old El Paso and stick to the more health conscious brands like Siete taco seasoning, that pay attention to the quality of the ingredients they are including.
Next we're going to pack in some healthy diced up bell pepper and onion to get in our veggies for the day and give it more texture and flavor.
Then, we're going to mix together eggs, a traditional tomato based salsa, and a can of mild diced green chiles. This gets poured over all your ingredients in a baking dish, and when it bakes, it will not only hold it all together, but give it fantastic flavor as well.
If you know me, you know I'm always here for the simple easy recipes that the whole family will eat. No long hours in the kitchen; no making 3 different meals for 3 different kids. Easy casserole recipes are my jam.
You'll need to cook your pasta and your meat before combining everything. A great way to save time here is to get your water going, then chop your peppers and onions while you wait. Put your pasta in and get it cooking.
Meanwhile, fire up a skillet over medium heat and get the meat cooked. Once the meat is done, the pasta is also probably done. Drain your pasta, remove your meat to a large bowl, and sauté your peppers and onions up in the same skillet. If it feels dry, add a touch of olive oil or ghee.
Add your pasta and your cooked veggies to the large bowl that's holding your chicken. (Don't drain the juice from the chicken - it's full of flavor!)
In a smaller bowl, whisk your eggs, salsa, and green chiles. Pour that into the large bowl. Toss to coat everything, then transfer it to your baking dish.
Serve this chicken taco casserole with your favorite taco fixings! I love topping it with things like green onions, black olives, fresh pico de gallo, salsa verde, some diced avocado, or fresh cilantro.
I also love a little crunch with my taco night. One of my favorite things to do is to crumble up some Siete grain free tortilla chips (the lime are my favorite!) and sprinkle them on top of any Mexican meal I serve, this one included!
A note on dairy
If you can tolerate dairy, you could certainly add sour cream or cheese to your list of toppings. You could also stir some cream cheese into the casserole before baking and let it melt to make it even creamier.
I've found over the years that most dairy products cause my skin to break out and don't agree well with me in general. For these reasons, I choose to steer clear of them most of the time. When I make recipes like this one that are super flavorful, I find I never even miss it!
The best thing about casseroles is they are often better the next day. If you don't intend to eat this right away, you can cover it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to a week.
It also makes a great freezer meal. One great option is to allow it to cool, then cut it into pieces and freeze individually, so you can defrost as needed and not have to defrost the whole casserole at once.
Just make sure those pieces are in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. (I love to use my FoodSaver vacuum sealer for this!)
You can definitely sub a different meat here if you want to! One of the things I love about this recipe, and casseroles in general, is the flexibility.
I used ground chicken, but you could sub any other ground meat if you wanted to. Turkey would be the most similar, but you could also use ground pork or ground beef if you wanted to.
You'll need to turn whatever ground meat you choose into taco meat before adding it to the casserole. I have a quick and easy taco meat recipe here - you can add the chili powder and other spices to any ground meat to turn it into taco meat!
However you choose to make it, this casserole is sure to make your dinner table shine!
Love casseroles like I do? Check out these 3 Easy Casserole Recipes that are simple and kid-friendly!
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 8-oz box gluten free penne pasta
- 1 pound ground chicken taco meat
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 4.5 oz can green chiles
- ½ cup medium salsa
- 1 large lime, zest and juice
- 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!
This makes a great freezer meal! Allow the casserole to cool, then cut up into pieces and store in the freezer. I love to use a vaccum sealer to prevent freezer burn.
Experiment with your ingredients. Casseroles are very forgiving! Try a different meat, or sub rice for the pasta.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 424Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 678mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 38g
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