Spicy Southwest Pasta

Decided to try some brown rice pasta. I’ve never had it and didn’t know if it was something we could add to our rotation. We’re trying to eat less white pasta and the whole wheat pasta is, to put it charitably, somewhat heavy. These brown rice elbows turned out to be delicious and the texture was just what I’d expect from a regular pasta. So this was a win.

This recipe makes enough for four servings and reheats well for lunch.

  • 4 ounces brown rice pasta (I used elbows)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup cooked black beans (I used canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup salsa of your choice
  • 1/2 cup Spicy Ranch Dressing (this is something I keep in the fridge all the time)
  • salt & pepper
  • cayenne pepper if desired – depends on how spicy you like it. The dressing I make is spicy enough and if I added any extra to this, it would be less kid-friendly. But when I make it for just me and my husband, I do spice it up.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and once it’s going, start the onions sauteeing in a skillet in a bit of olive oil. Add the ground beef and the spices and cook until the ground beef is nicely browned. Add the bell pepper and cook just until tender but still crisp. Stir in the black beans. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it back to the skillet with the dressing and salsa. Stir until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe is pretty versatile. You can add whatever vegetables you like – diced summer squash or diced tomatoes would be tasty. This dish is pretty healthy if you eat the suggested serving and add a side salad or other vegetable accompaniment. The spicy southwest dressing adds only 42 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving but adds that rich creamy taste to the pasta sauce that is very satisfying.


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