Take your taste buds on a flavorful journey with this Spicy Mexican Spaghetti. This fusion dish blends the beloved Italian classic with the bold and vibrant flavors of Mexico. Made in one pot, perfectly cooked spaghetti bathes in a zesty, spicy tomato sauce. Experience the best of both worlds in a single, delicious bite—Spicy Mexican Spaghetti is a fiesta for your palate!
It's basically like taco pasta but spaghetti style! If you're in a food rut and need something new, make this for your next pasta night!
It's so simple to make, made in one pot, and ready in just 25 minutes!
What is Mexican spaghetti?
Mexican spaghetti, while not a traditional Mexican dish, is a spin-off of fideo. If you're not familiar with fideo, it means "noodle" in Spanish but is most recognized as being thin, short noodles that resemble spaghetti that has been cut. These noodles are typically toasted or fried before being incorporated into dishes like "Sopa de Fideo" (noodle soup).
Instead of fideo noodles, Mexican spaghetti often utilizes regular-length spaghetti noodles but this recipe can be made with any shape noodle you desire! This one-pot wonder combines Italian pasta with the bold and spicy flavors of Mexican cuisine. It's basically like taco pasta but spaghetti style!
Switch up taco night and make this taco-flavored spaghetti instead. It's perfect for busy weeknights and is a recipe the whole family will love—even picky eaters!
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Firm Tofu: Tofu is a great option for a vegetarian ground beef option. I love making tofu ground beef when I need a meat substitute. Opt for firm tofu to ensure a hearty texture in the Mexican Spaghetti. Press the tofu before use to remove excess moisture, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the sauce better.
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce: Choose low-sodium soy sauce to control the salt content of the dish. This ingredient adds a savory umami depth to the tofu, enhancing its overall taste.
- Chili Powder: Adjust the amount of chili powder based on your spice preference. This ingredient brings the characteristic warmth and depth to the dish, infusing it with a hint of Mexican heat.
- Seasonings: Ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika all add layers of flavor! Choose smoked paprika for a deeper, smokier flavor.
- Dried Oregano: Although regular or Italian oregano works just fine, Mexican oregano is the best choice. While regular has minty undertones, Mexican oregano has citrusy undertones that complement this dish perfectly!
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes and Canned Diced Tomatoes: The combination of crushed and diced tomatoes provides a varied texture to the sauce. Don't drain the juices or the liquid ratio will be off.
- Canned Corn and Black Beans: These canned ingredients add sweetness from the corn and a hearty protein boost from the black beans.
- Whole Wheat Spaghetti: Opt for whole wheat spaghetti for a healthier twist. It not only adds a nuttier flavor but also provides additional fiber and nutrients to the dish.
This recipe is really versatile so feel free to adjust the quantities and spice levels to suit your personal taste, and enjoy the delicious marriage of Italian and Mexican flavors in this unique Spicy Mexican Spaghetti!
How to make this Mexican spaghetti recipe
This easy mexican spaghetti is a great one-pot meal that only takes a few steps to make! Here's the simple step-by-step process:
Step 1: Begin by draining any residual water from the tofu, then crumble it into a large skillet or large pot set over medium heat. Add the soy sauce and spices, cooking until excess moisture evaporates—approximately 5 minutes.
Step 2: Next, add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, drained corn, black beans, and water into the skillet, bringing the mixture to a boil.
Step 3: Break the spaghetti noodles in half and add them to the pan, stirring well before reducing the heat to a simmer. Cover the skillet and let it cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta reaches al dente.
- Adjust Spice Levels: Tailor the amount of chili powder and other spices to your taste preferences. If you prefer a milder dish, start with less spice and gradually add more if needed.
- Use Whole Wheat Pasta for Nutrient Boost: Whole wheat spaghetti not only adds a nutty flavor but also provides extra fiber and nutrients. It's a healthier choice that complements the other ingredients. Feel free to use your favorite pasta shape. Short noodles work great too!
- Monitor Pasta Cooking Time: Keep a close eye on the spaghetti while simmering to achieve the perfect al dente texture. Overcooking can result in mushy noodles, so follow the recommended time closely.
- Customize with Toppings: Add a personal touch by garnishing the finished dish with toppings like fresh cilantro, avocado slices, or a sprinkle of cheese for extra flavor and texture.
- Vibrant Bell Peppers: For a burst of color and sweetness, add a diced bell pepper to the skillet when sautéing the tofu. Red, yellow, and green peppers not only contribute to the visual appeal but also introduce a delightful crunch to each bite.
- Taco Mix Seasoning: Keep it quick and convenient by using a pre-mixed taco seasoning. This convenient blend of spices, including cumin, chili powder, and garlic, imparts the distinctive Mexican twist to the dish without needing to have each individual spice in your pantry.
- Add Some Heat: Amp up the spiciness by introducing diced green chilies to the sauce. Whether you opt for mild or hot varieties, green chiles bring a bold, authentic heat that harmonizes with the other spices, creating a tantalizing balance. Grab a can of diced green chilies or use Rotel tomatoes with Green Chilies to combine a step. If you like it even spicier, sprinkle the finished dish with red pepper flakes.
- Cheese Lover's Delight: For a gooey, indulgent touch, sprinkle your Mexican spaghetti with shredded Mexican cheese or a blend of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack. I love this dairy-free Mexican style shreds from Violife. Place a lid on the skillet after adding the spaghetti to allow the cheese to melt and create a luscious, savory coating.
- Spaghetti Tacos: Have you tried making spaghetti tacos? They were made popular by the TV show iCarly. Simply add this Mexican spaghetti sauce and noodles to taco shells and add your favorite toppings. Try it for your next taco Tuesday!
- Go With Some Garnish: Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro or green onions over the finished dish just before serving. Fresh herbs add a burst of freshness, enhancing the overall aroma and bringing a hint of citrus to each forkful.
Feel free to mix and match these variations to create your own signature Mexican spaghetti masterpiece!
How to store
Allow any leftover Mexican spaghetti to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Place the spaghetti in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
When ready to enjoy the leftovers, reheat the Mexican spaghetti thoroughly. You can do this on the stovetop in a pan with a bit of water or sauce to prevent it from drying out, or use a microwave. Stir the spaghetti occasionally to ensure even heating.
If you want to store Mexican spaghetti for an extended period, consider freezing it. Place the cooled spaghetti in a freezer-safe container. Ensure it's well-sealed to prevent freezer burn. Thaw the spaghetti in the refrigerator before reheating.
When reheating, be cautious not to overcook the spaghetti, as it can become mushy. Reheat just until it reaches the desired temperature.
If your Mexican spaghetti has fresh toppings like avocado or cilantro, consider adding these after reheating to preserve their freshness and flavor.
If you enjoyed this one-pot taco spaghetti recipe, please leave a star rating and let me know what you think!
Mexican Spaghetti (One Pot)
- 16 ounces extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, *
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, with the juices
- 1 15-ounce can corn, drained
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, *
- Drain any excess water from the tofu, then crumble into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the soy sauce and spices and cook until excess water has evaporated; about 5 minutes.16 ounces extra firm tofu, 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, and water and bring to a boil.28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 15-ounce can corn, 1 15-ounce can black beans, 2 cups water
- Break the spaghetti noodles in half and add to the pan. Stir and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
- Garnish with your favorite toppings! Cilantro, avocado, lime juice, green onions, and cheesy shreds all would be great!