Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn

Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs on top on a plate with fork holding a bite. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.
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Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs on top on a plate with fork holding a bite. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

What could be better than a big ole pot of pasta with meat and tomato sauce?  How about a big ole pot of Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef, Corn, and Green Chile-Chipotle-Tomato Sauce!  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef and chunky tomatoes.  Then flavor bombs chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings are added to bring in the warmth and a slight kick of heat.  Corn kernels are added for a pop of sweet and texture, and grated Parmesan thickens up the sauce and adds creaminess.  Finally, Pappardelle is mixed in and buttery toasted breadcrumbs are sprinkled on top for crunch.

You can make the sauce ahead and mix in the pasta right before serving for dinner on a busy weekend!  Your family will love it. 

CHECK OUT THE EASY RECIPE FOR SOUTHWESTERN GROUND BEEF AND CORN

WHAT MAKES THIS SOUTHWESTERN?

Southwestern cuisine is an adaptation of Mexican cuisine that you will typically find in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.  It is similar to Tex-Mex which is also an adaptation of Mexican food.  

Some of the common ingredients in Southwestern cuisine are chile peppers, corn, and beans.  So, what makes this Pasta with Ground Beef Southwestern is honestly a loose interpretation of the cuisine.  It’s the addition of the corn, the green chiles and the chipotle peppers in adobo.  It’s not true Mexican, though Mexican was an inspiration.  And it’s not Italian, though it was also a big inspiration.  It’s a mash-up recipe which is how Southwestern cuisine evolved to begin with.

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For this recipe, you will need a large pot for cooking the pasta and a large pot or deep pan for the sauce. I used my dutch oven which is perfect for browning the beef, building the sauce, and then mixing in the pasta.

Oh, and mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR SOUTHWESTERN PASTA WITH GROUND BEEF

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

For this recipe, you can make the sauce entirely ahead!  However, assuming that you just want to get ahead before cooking, then you can prep all of the ingredients for the sauce.  Open the cans of tomatoes, chiles, and paste. Mince the garlic cloves and the chipotle peppers. Measure out all ingredients and add to a bowl for adding to the cooked beef. Store ingredients in the fridge if doing this ahead of time.

Next, you can husk the corn and remove any corn silk. Using a large knife, cut the kernels from the cob.

Knife cutting corn kernels off cob for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs.  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings. 

Last, using the back of the knife, scrape down the cob to remove any remaining kernels and the corn ‘milk’. Save all corn removed in the fridge until ready to add to the sauce.

Knife cutting corn kernels off cob for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs.  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

COOK YOUR SOUTHWESTERN SAUCE

If you are cooking the sauce right before serving it, then you can start first by getting the pasta water going.  If you’re making the sauce ahead to reheat later, no need to worry about the pasta right now.

The sauce all cooks in one big pot, starting with the ground beef and then adding the rest of the ingredients.

Raw ground beef cooking in a pot for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs.  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

Diced tomatoes added to ground beef cooking in a pot for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs.  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

Once the tomatoes, tomato paste, green chiles, minced garlic, chipotle peppers in adobo, Beef broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper are in the pot, stir and bring to a light boil. Then reduce the heat down to lowest setting, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Tomatoes, chiles, and ground beef cooking in a pot for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs.  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

While the sauce is simmering, you can toast the breadcrumbs.

When there is just 2-3 minutes left in the sauce cooking time, remove the cover and add the corn. Stir to combine. Then cover again. At the end of the 20 minutes, stir in the parmesan cheese.  

Corn kernels added to pot of ground beef and tomato-chile sauce for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs.  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

Spoon mixing parmesan cheese into pot of ground beef and tomato-chile sauce for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs.  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

Boil the pasta until al dente. Using a Pasta spoon or tongs, transfer the cooked pasta directly from the cooking water to the meat sauce. Gently toss to combine.

Pappardelle pasta being mixed into pot of ground beef and tomato-chile sauce for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs.  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

RECIPE FAQS

How far in advance can I make this?

The sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead and stored sealed in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze this sauce?

Yes, though I recommend freezing it without the pasta and adding fresh-cooked pasta when you thaw and reheat it.  To freeze the sauce, first cool it down in the fridge.  Then transfer the sauce to a freezer bag or storage container and seal it airtight.  It will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.  To reheat, you can thaw in the fridge 24 hours ahead.  Then reheat it in a bot on the stove, covered, on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

Can I use frozen corn kernels?

Yes, of course!  Just add them frozen to the sauce just as instructed for the fresh.  The frozen will thaw and warm in the same time the fresh will take to cook.

Can I substitute Ground Chicken or Turkey?

Yes, ground chicken or turkey can very easily be substituted into this recipe.  Cook according to the same instructions as the ground beef.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn

Get ready for BIG flavor with this Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef, Corn, and Green Chile-Chipotle-Tomato Sauce!  The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef and chunky tomatoes.  Then flavor bombs chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings are added to bring in the warmth and a slight kick of heat.  Corn kernels are added for a pop of sweet and texture, and grated Parmesan thickens up the sauce and adds creaminess.  Finally, Pappardelle is mixed in and is the perfect vehicle for carrying all of this goodness. You can make the sauce ahead and mix in the pasta right before serving for dinner on a busy weekend!  Your family will love it. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican, Southwestern
Keyword corn, ground beef, meat sauce, pasta, southwestern pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Meat Sauce

  • 1 pound Lean Ground Beef I used 90% lean
  • 1 teaspoon Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 ounces Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 ounces Green Chiles
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons minced)
  • 1 tablespoon Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, minced
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Final Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Corn Cob or 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 12 ounces Fettuccine Pasta, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Butter, salted

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. MEASURE. Open the cans of tomatoes, chiles, and paste. Mince the garlic cloves and the chipotle peppers. Measure out all ingredients and add to a bowl for adding to the cooked beef. Store ingredients in the fridge if doing this ahead of time.

  2. PREP CORN. Husk the corn and remove any corn silk. Using a large knife, cut the kernels from the cob. Last, using the back of the knife, scrape down the cob to remove any remaining kernels and the corn 'milk'. Save all corn removed in the fridge until ready to add to the sauce.

    Knife cutting corn kernels off cob for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

Cooking Steps

  1. PASTA WATER. Fill a wide/large pot with 6-8 cups of water for the pasta. Heat on high to bring to a boil for dropping the pasta after the meat sauce is ready.

  2. COOK BEEF. Preheat a dutch oven or large and deep pot/pan on high heat. Add the olive oil and the ground beef. Break the beef up with a spatula and then let it cook, stirring every few minutes to break it up and brown on all sides. Should take about 8 minutes for all pink to be gone.

    Raw ground beef cooking in a pot for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.
  3. COOK SAUCE. Once the beef is cooked, add all of the other Meat Sauce Ingredients – tomatoes, tomato paste, green chiles, minced garlic, chipotle peppers in adobo, Beef broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring to a light boil. Then reduce the heat down to lowest setting, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

    Tomatoes, chiles, and ground beef cooking in a pot for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.
  4. CORN & PARMESAN. When there is just 2-3 minutes left in the sauce cooking time, remove the cover and add the corn. Stir to combine. Then cover again. At the end of the 20 minutes, stir in the parmesan cheese.

    Spoon mixing parmesan cheese into pot of ground beef and tomato-chile sauce for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.
  5. PASTA. Once the pasta water is boiling (but no sooner than 5 minutes remaining on the meat sauce cooking time!), add a splash of Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir so that it all is immersed in the water and doesn't stick it itself. Boil the pasta until al dente. Using a Pasta spoon or tongs, transfer the cooked pasta directly from the cooking water to the meat sauce. Gently toss to combine.

    Pappardelle pasta being mixed into pot of ground beef and tomato-chile sauce for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.
  6. BREADCRUMBS. Preheat a small pan on medium-low heat. Add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring constantly, just until they start to brown.

    Breadcrumbs toasting in a pan for Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.
  7. SERVE. Serve the Southwestern Beef and Corn Pasta on a platter or individual plates. Garnish with the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Enjoy!

    Southwestern Pasta with Ground Beef and Corn and breadcrumbs on top on a plate with fork holding a bite. The sauce is thick and hearty with ground beef, sweet corn kernels, chunky tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, green chiles, parmesan cheese, and lots of smokey and spicy seasonings.

Recipe Video

Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe

Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion, in flour tortillas on a plate. Topped with Cilantro Lime Crema, fresh cilantro leaves, and lime wedges. Sheet pan with pork, peppers, and onions in background along with crema and tortillas.
Jump to Recipe

Raise your hand if you hate washing dishes!  Well, my friend, sheet pan dinners are for you because everything cooks on a sheet pan for super easy cleanup. This Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe has all the incredible flavor you love from sizzling fajitas without the fuss because the oven does the work! The pork is tender, smoky, and so flavorful. Fill warmed flour tortillas with the pork, peppers and onions, then top with Cilantro Lime Crema!

SHEET PAN DINNERS

The basic rule with sheet pan dinners is to find items with similar cooking times or that can be added to the pan in the oven in stages.  For this Pork Fajitas Recipe, everything cooks at the same time.  However, in my Sheet Pan Flank Steak and Potatoes dinner, you need to start the potatoes earlier and then add the steak later.  Sometimes you may want to bulk up the dinner with some rice that you cooked ahead of time or a simple boiled pasta.  But in general, sheet pan dinners are a great way focus less on the starch and more on the veg!

Here are some of my favorite sheet pan dinners:

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11)

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR THIS SHEET PAN PORK FAJITAS RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

The good news about this recipe is that you can (a) prep all of the ingredients ahead and then cook on the night you want to eat or (b) cook everything ahead and reheat it!  There is a bit of prepping to do, so I HIGHLY recommend doing this on the weekend to save you time on the night you cook and eat it.

The Crema can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge.  Chop the cilantro. Then in a mixing bowl, add the sour cream, cilantro, and salt. Cut the lime in half (stem to bottom) and add juice from half. Cut the other half into wedges for serving with finished fajitas. Mix the crema and keep in the fridge until serving.

Bowl with sour cream, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice not mixed and lime cut in half next to bowl for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.

For the rest of the veggies, peel, de-seed, and slice the peppers and onions into thin slices and place in a large bowl in the fridge until ready to mix with other ingredients.

Slice the pork tenderloin into thin strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

Strips of raw pork tenderloin on a plate for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.

Add the pork to the bowl with sliced peppers and onions, along with the olive oil and water.

Last, mix seasonings in a small bowl (black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin powder, salt), then pour over the pork and veggies and mix to combine and coat.

 

COOK YOUR SHEET PAN PORK FAJITAS

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Transfer the pork and veggies to a large sheet pan that is coated with olive oil. Spread out into a single layer. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Raw seasoned strips of pork tenderloin, onion, red pepper, and green pepper on a sheet pan for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe.

While the pork and veggies bake, preheat a large pan and add the flour tortillas to slightly toast them on each side.

Cooked seasoned strips of pork tenderloin, onion, red pepper, and green pepper on a sheet pan for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe.
Serve the tortillas with the pork and veggies and top with the Crema.

RECIPE FAQS

Can I use another protein other than pork?  

You can substitute chicken breast strips or flank steak strips with the same cooking time.  You can also sub in shrimp, but check them at 10 minutes as they cook very fast.  If you want to go meatless, you could sub in slices of portabella mushrooms or zucchini.  You could also use extra firm tofu cut into strips.

How do I reheat the pork and veggies?  

If you cooked everything ahead and need to reheat it, you want to make sure you don’t dry out the pork.  The best way to do this is to warm it on medium heat in a skillet or pan.  You can add a couple tablespoons of water to both steam and moisten the fajita filling.  You can also warm in the microwave just until warmed, about 1-2 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook it in the microwave.

What can I serve with these Pork Fajitas?

You can serve a simple salad with some greens and tomato, steamed rice, Cilantro Lime Quinoa,  , or Easy Refried Black Beans.  On top, in addition to the tangy Cilantro Lime Crema, you can make this Easy Avocado Crema Recipe.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe

This Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe has all the incredible flavor you love from sizzling fajitas without the fuss because the oven does the work! The pork is tender, smoky, and so flavorful. Fill warmed flour tortillas with the pork, peppers and onions, then top with Cilantro Lime Crema!  The best part is the super easy clean up since it all cooks on 1 pan!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword fajitas, pork fajitas, pork tenderloin, sheet pan dinner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

CILANTRO LIME CREMA

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Cilantro chopped
  • 1 Lime
  • ½ teaspoon Salt

PORK, ONIONS, PEPPERS:

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 2 red peppers or green peppers
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 12 flour tortillas 6-8″

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. MAKE CREMA. Chop the cilantro. Make the Cilantro Lime Crema by mixing the sour cream, cilantro, and salt. Cut the lime in half (stem to bottom) and add juice from half. Cut the other half into wedges for serving with finished fajitas. Mix the crema and keep in the fridge until serving.
    Bowl with sour cream, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice not mixed and lime cut in half next to bowl for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.
  2. PREP VEGGIES. Peel, de-seed, and slice the peppers and onions into thin slices and place in a large bowl in the fridge until ready to mix with other ingredients.
  3. PREP PORK. Slice the pork tenderloin into thin strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Add to a bowl with sliced peppers and onions, along with the olive oil and water.
    Strips of raw pork tenderloin on a plate for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.
  4. MIX SEASONINGS. Mix seasonings in a small bowl (chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper), then pour over the pork and veggies and mix to combine and coat.
    Seasonings in a clear bowl on counter. From top clockwise, there is ground black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin powder, and salt for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.

Cooking Steps

  1. ROAST. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Transfer the pork and veggies to a large sheet pan that is coated with olive oil. Spread out into a single layer. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

    Cooked seasoned strips of pork tenderloin, onion, red pepper, and green pepper on a sheet pan for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe.
  2. HEAT TORTILLAS. While the pork and veggies bake, preheat a large pan and add the flour tortillas to slightly toast them on each side.
  3. Serve the tortillas with the pork and veggies and top with the Crema. Enjoy!
    Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion, in flour tortillas on a plate. Topped with Cilantro Lime Crema, fresh cilantro leaves, and lime wedges.