Aggie's Kitchen

Mexican Baked Penne and Cilantro Vegetable Medley

I love it when you can take a traditional recipe like Baked Ziti and turn it into something else just by changing a few simple ingredients. I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I can’t. I found it on a South Beach Diet message board last year along with lots of other great healthy recipes. I added a little more flavor to it though by throwing in some spices and additional vegetables.

I can take credit for the vegetables though…I had originally planned on making Summer Vegetable Gratin for dinner, but wanted to try and incorporate the same flavors that were in the pasta instead. They turned out great and I used the leftovers on a pita pizza the next day.

Baked Mexican Penne
Recipe adapted from an original recipe posted on a South Beach Message Board

1/2 lb of whole wheat penne (1/2 box)
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 TB olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bell pepper, chopped (I used a cubanelle because it’s what I had in the fridge)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 jars of salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
2 cups of shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (use 2% if you are trying to keep it lighter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring pot of water to boil for pasta, cook according to directions.

In large heated non stick skillet, add oil, garlic, peppers and onions. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add ground beef and brown. Add spices, salt and pepper. Drain and add to a large bowl with black beans, salsa and pasta. Toss to combine.

Pour half of pasta mixture into casserole dish. Spread 1 cup of shredded cheese over pasta. Add rest of pasta over cheese and top with remaining cheese. Place in oven and cook for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is golden.

And on the side…

Cilantro Vegetable Medley

1 large zucchini, chopped
1 large squash, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
2 TB chopped cilantro
1 TB olive oil

Heat oil in large nonstick pan over med high heat. Add garlic and vegetables and saute. (Make sure you cook vegetables over high enough heat to avoid them getting mushy). Add spices, salt and pepper and toss. Add cilantro and toss.


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23 comments on “Mexican Baked Penne and Cilantro Vegetable Medley”

  1. OH, that looks delicious. Who would guess it’s good for you with all those great flavors? And those veggies with hot pepper and cilantro are looking so good.

  2. I like the twist on pasta!

  3. What a great pasta dish, loving all that’s in it… and I’m so hungry right now!!!

  4. This sounds like a delicious pasta dish – and a great way to work in more veggies!!

  5. Wow- this looks so good. I love taking something traditional and switching it up with a few things and making it something else entirely. I love all the veggies going on here!

  6. That pasta sounds great…now I am craving pasta!

  7. I love Mexican food and this meall looks perfect. I’ve never thought of making pasta into a Mexican meal…great recipe.

  8. i would love to give those veggies a try. I love all the flavors going on in the pasta as well. Great take on the original, Aggie!

  9. A tasty recipe that’s also healthy – thanks for sharing!

  10. What a tasty meal you put together! Those veggies are begging to be on my plate:)

  11. The pasta dish looks wonderful. The veggies sound so good too with the hot pepper!

  12. oh yum…I love the twist you put on dinner!

  13. Aggie you certainly are creative. I’m in love with this dish and gotta try it!

  14. Yum Aggie,
    I’d take a big bowl of that pasta for breakfast right now, and then a side of veggies! Looks fantastic!

  15. We love Mexican food at my house – this looks great!

  16. Oh how I love cheesy pasta dishes. And it is a spicy Mexican dish to boot.

  17. Yum lady! I do a baked ziti too, so as I think about it, I’m sure it transitions great into a Mexican pasta dish to switch it up -great idea!

    And the veggies look healthy and satisfying -seems like just what I’d be craving after eating too many sweets all day!

  18. Yum, this looks great and just what my family likes to eat. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m glad to add yours to my google reader!

  19. You are the best! I have a few recipes I was going back and forth between but I think I am sold on this! It looks sooooo good! And its a little different! Thank you Thank you!

  20. I made this today! It looks soooo fabulous! Thank you!

  21. I am making the cilantro vegetable medley tonight! I have all the ingredients 🙂

  22. Pingback: Mexican Baked Pasta | Aggie's Kitchen