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Dec 162013

One Pot Wonder Southwest Pasta

One pot wonder southwest pasta is a vegetarian meal that only takes 25 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

I’m obsessed with this one pot method for cooking pasta.  And it seems like everyone else is too since my other one pot wonder recipes have been shared/pinned HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of times (Pasta Con Broccoli, Chicken Lo Mein).

If you are not familiar with the one pot wonder method, you simply put uncooked pasta, veggies, seasoning, and broth into a large pot, cover it, and let it cook for about 12-15 minutes.  That’s it!  The pasta absorbs the cooking liquid and creates an almost creamy sauce.

One Pot Wonder Southwest Pasta

This southwest style pasta gets a spicy kick from a can of Rotel (tomatoes and green chilies) and taco seasoning.  Sweet corn kernels and bell pepper provide a nice contrast of flavors.

One Pot Wonder Southwest Pasta

This dish is healthy without tasting like health food.   It has lots of veggies, black beans, and whole wheat pasta so it’s packed with vitamins/minerals and fiber.  If you’re not a fan of whole wheat pasta, regular pasta can be substituted.

The main protein source in this pasta is canned black beans.  So, it’s perfect for vegetarians and those people that practice Meatless Mondays (going vegetarian one day a week).

One Pot Wonder Southwest Pasta

One Pot Wonder Southwest Pasta Recipe
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 1 13.5 oz. box of whole wheat rotini (or any pasta you like)
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 medium green bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 15 oz. can Rotel canned tomatoes and chilies (I used the Mexican blend with lime and cilantro)
  • ¼ cup taco seasoning (I used Old El Paso, medium)
  • 1 tsp. salt (if the taco seasoning you use contains a lot of salt, you may want to reduce this)
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups fat-free chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Mexican cheese blend, plus more for topping (Optional)
  1. Add all but the last 2 ingredients (beans and cheese) to a large pot. Stir, cover, and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. There should be ¼ to ½ inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot when it is done.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in the black beans and cheese (optional). Let it rest for 5 minutes to warm the beans, melt the cheese, and absorb the excess liquid.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 320 Fat: 4.2 Saturated fat: 0.9 Carbohydrates: 60.1 Fiber: 7.4 Protein: 11.7

  40 Responses to “One Pot Wonder Southwest Pasta”

  1. Have you tried Brown Rice Pasta or Corn Pasta (for gluten-free folks) in these One Pot Wonder dishes? I am wondering if they would produce the same sauce consistency and if the cooking times would need to be adjusted.

    • Hi Kellie. I have had a couple of readers inform me that they had good luck with rice pasta, specifically Trader Joes brown rice pasta and Tinkyada gluten-free pasta. However, they said that the rice pasta didn’t seem quite as absorptive as traditional pasta and that it seemed to clump together a little easier.
      So, if I were going to use rice pasta, this is what I would try.
      Cut the broth to 3 1/2 cups (instead of 4 cups) and stir every 3 minutes to prevent clumping.
      I don’t have any information on how corn pasta would work in this type of dish. Sorry.
      I should also probably mention that other readers have said that quinoa noodles do not work well.
      Hope this helps.

  2. This was awesome. I used the Barilla pasta with added protein, and I threw in a big handful of spinach right before I ate it, which wilted perfectly. I also used Cubanelle peppers rather than green peppers, because they are far cheaper and have a medium heat. Great recipe. Cheap and easy!

    • Jessamin,
      I love the cubannelle and spinach ideas! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Thanks!

  3. Made this recipe this week – it’s absolutely excellent. This is definitely going to be a staple in the menu rotation from now on. The only thing I changed was I used Habanero Heat cheese to give it a bit of kick.

  4. I added ground beef to this and the family loved it! Almost like a homemade hamburger helper, only healthier!

  5. I just tried this and it was delicious! So simple, too, especially for the yield you get from it. I’m looking forward to my leftovers, and I will be making it again!

    I love that this recipe is flexible, too — I had two members of my family serve themselves before I added the black beans (since they don’t like them) and they said it still tasted great!

  6. This was perfect! I’m so glad I found your blog on Buzzfeed!

  7. Thanks for posting this. I just made a vegan version by using daiya (vegan cheese). I subbed green beans for the green pepper, because I don’t buy green peppers due to the lack of nutrition. I also subbed salsa for the canned tomatoes and whole wheat spaghetti broken into pieces for the rotini. It came out really good. The only thing I would advise to readers is to stir often if you have an electric stove. My pasta kept sticking to the bottom when I tried waiting 3 minutes between stirs. It was also ready faster since the pasta shape was skinnier…bonus!

  8. pinto beans and serrano peppers! YEAH. BUDDY. :)

  9. Just tried this last night and it was awesome. I also baked chicken breast, shredded it and put it in and it was amazing!

  10. Did this with honey Chipotle marinated chicken….oh my gosh!!!

  11. Do you think this recipe would freeze well?

    • Gena,
      I do think it would be ok to freeze. But, I wouldn’t try to reheat it in a pasta pot. I find that when you freeze and reheat noodles or pasta, they become a little mushy and fall apart easily. The best way to reheat them is by baking them, so they don’t need to be stirred.
      If I were going to try to freeze this, I would spoon the cooked product into one of those disposable aluminum casserole dishes. Cover it with aluminum foil; and freeze it. When it’s time to reheat it, I would bake it at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes covered. Then, another 15-20 minutes uncovered.
      Hope this helps.

  12. I made this tonight and stirred in some cilantro, green onions, and lime juice at the end (also used a red pepper and whole wheat penne as that’s what I had on hand). Absolutely delicious. Bonus I have lunch for the next few days AND cleaned out the fridge.

  13. Do I cook the noodles first then add everything or do I add everything….how much water am I suppose to put also

    • Jessica,
      No need to cook the noodles ahead of time. Everything goes into the pot all at once (uncooked pasta, veggies, broth, etc.), except for the last few ingredients as indicated in the recipe.
      Also, there is no need for water. The pasta cooks in the broth.
      Hope this helps.

  14. Made this tonight with a couple changes – chicken instead of beans (cooked chicken first in the same pot then added the ingredients. I used salsa instead of the canned tomatoes and chipotle seasoning instead of the taco seasoning. It was delicious!!! Will for sure make again.

  15. Question- I saw some of you placed chicken in here. How did you cook the chicken exactly?
    What did you season your chicken with before? I’m brand new to crock pot meals and my hubby HAS to have meat….Pls help.

    • Grisela,
      I have other one pot meals that do call for chicken. I think the best way to add it is to cut boneless, skinless chicken into small chunks. Add the oil that is called for in the recipe and the chicken to the pot and place it over medium-high heat. Sautee the chicken, stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes. Then, follow the recipe from the beginning (adding the veggies, spices, broth, etc. to the pot with the chicken and letting it boil).
      Also, I’m assuming you meant one pot meals. Because this wouldn’t work in a crock pot.
      Hope this helps.

  16. I made this tonight for dinner. My husband wasn’t thrilled when I told him we were having “Meatless Monday”, until he tasted this dish! It was a huge hit, super yummy & filling & inexpensive & easy! Right after he finished a huge bowl of it, he asked me to make him a bowl to take for lunch. I followed the recipe exactly (I did add some hot sauce to my bowl cuz I like extra spicy, hubby ate it as is) & had all ingredients on hand so no extra store trips. Thank you for this delicious recipe, it will be on our dinner rotation now. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes soon.

  17. Is taco seasoning in powder form… a packet or liquid? I am unsure what to buy.

  18. I feel like there is a liquid ingredient missing to cook the pasta?

  19. That looks and sounds great! Planning on trying it within the week. Thanks for the tip!

  20. Hi Amanda! I made this recipe last week and was wondering if I could post it on my blog (with full credit and a link to your blog)?


  21. Is 1/4 cup taco seasoning correct? How many packets would that be?

  22. Tried this recipe today, it turned out delicious!!! The hubby asked for seconds and is even taking it for lunch tomorrow. Thank you :)

  23. I’m making this as I type… We are having a vegan version I think it will be a winner! I am still amazed at how easy it was! Thank you!

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