This Southwestern spaghetti recipe embraces the flavor-bursting excitement of Southwestern cuisine with the use of diverse ingredients. It features tender spaghetti, savory beef, sweet corn, black beans, and bright veggies, all infused with robust and smoky spices that captivate the taste buds from the very first bite.
Even though this dish is loaded with various foods and seasonings, it’s not at all complicated to prepare and make. This is a one-pan dish that comes together relatively quickly, making it an ideal choice for any weeknight dinner.
Is Southwestern Spaghetti Healthy?
Yes, it is. Each serving contains approximately:
7.4 g saturated fat
529 mg sodium
These amounts result from a careful calculation of ingredient portions so that the dish adheres to our nutrition guidelines.
This colorful spaghetti is a balanced mixture of meat, vegetables, and legumes. We used 85% lean ground beef, which suggests it contains 15% fat—a fairly low amount. Furthermore, lean red meat also provides complete protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, zinc, and heme iron.
As for vegetables, we loaded this dish with tomatoes, red bell pepper, corn, and onion. This helps to bring in essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients.
Since this is a Southwestern-inspired recipe, we also added some black beans. This legume adds a boost of protein and fiber, which may help to lower blood pressure, support heart health, and improve digestion.
Ingredients for This Recipe
Staying true to the Southwestern inspiration, this dish features colorful veggies and strong spices.
Spaghetti: As the name suggests, we used spaghetti for this recipe. You can also use other long-strand varieties like linguine or fettuccine, but we believe spaghetti is best suited for this recipe.
Beef: Lean ground beef was used because it’s convenient and cooks relatively fast. The beef’s savory flavor and distinct texture also help to significantly enhance the dish’s overall taste, and you’ll notice this in our foolproof Spaghetti Casserole and Cheesy Taco Pasta dishes.
Vegetables: We added corn, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and yellow onion to diversify the dish’s taste and texture. These vegetables are mostly sweet, but they each have distinctive undertones and textures that fill the taste buds with an exciting array of flavors.
Black Beans: We incorporated canned black beans since it’s more convenient. They still have a nearly identical taste to the fresh variety, with mild hints of earthiness and a delightful creaminess that accompanies each bite.
Seasonings: Southwestern dishes are known to be spicy, so we used salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, paprika, and cumin to achieve that signature flavor intensity.
Chicken Broth: Chicken broth was added to subtly enhance the flavor of this spaghetti. This recipe uses the unsalted variety to minimize the amount of sodium.
Cheese: Cheddar’s buttery and mildly earthy taste complement the remaining ingredients marvelously. A sprinkle of cheddar is more than enough to top off the dish with a memorable tangy taste.
Can I Use Frozen Ground Beef for This Recipe?
Yes, you can, as long as the beef is properly thawed prior to cooking.
The best way to thaw beef is to leave it in the fridge overnight. Make sure you keep the beef inside a sealed package and separated from other foods to avoid contamination.
If you don’t have time, soak the sealed beef package in a bowl of cold water. This should quickly defrost it within an hour. Make sure that the water remains cold to prevent bacteria from developing.
What to Serve With
This spaghetti is a party of textures and flavors on its own, so a simple and light side dish should be enough to make a complete meal. Here are some of our suggestions:
This Southwestern spaghetti should last for around two or three days when kept in airtight containers in the fridge. When reheating, put it on the stovetop over medium heat and stir around to separate the strands. You can add a bit of olive oil or water to loosen the dried pasta.
This Southwestern spaghetti recipe features tender spaghetti, savory beef, sweet corn, black beans, and bright veggies. Infused with robust and smoky spices, it's a dish that captivates the taste buds from the very first bite.
Cook the Pasta: Boil the water, add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions. Gently stir every few minutes until al dente then drain with a colander.
Dice the Onion: Halve the onion but leave the roots on. Lay each half flat and thinly slice. Turn the onion, push the knife crosswise into the slices then make diagonal slices. Continue making downward slices to create diced pieces.
Mince the Garlic: Remove the peel. Trim off the end then thinly slice. Rock the knife back and forth over the sliced pile until finely minced.
Chop the Parsley: Bunch the leaves together and thinly slice using a chef’s knife. Then, rock the knife over the sliced pile once or twice until they are finely chopped.
Dice the Tomatoes: Slice the tomatoes, stack the slices, and cut them into strips. Then, dice the strip into small cubes.
Dice the Bell Peppers: Halve the pepper, remove and discard the cord and seeds, then cut each half lengthwise into strips. Gather the strips and dice into small cubes.
Sauté the Aromatics: In a pan over medium heat, sauté 1 tbsp garlic and 2 oz yellow onions with 1 tbsp olive oil for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add the Beef: Add 10 oz 85% lean ground beef and stir around for 2 minutes until brown.
Add the Veggies and Seasonings: Add 4 oz tomatoes, 2 oz red bell pepper, 1/2 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir around for 3 minutes until well-mixed.
Add the Corn and Beans: Add 2 oz corn, 2 oz canned black bean, and 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth. Stir around for 2 minutes until well-mixed.
Add the Spaghetti: Add 16 oz cooked spaghetti and gently stir for 2 minutes to thoroughly coat with the sauce.
Garnish and Serve: Garnish with 1.5 oz cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp chopped parsley and 1/4 cup cilantro. Take off the heat and serve hot.
How to Make Southwestern Spaghetti
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 484Calories from Fat 205
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 7.4g
Vitamin A 1176IU
Vitamin C 29mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
This is a flavorful and easy-to-make pasta dish that's perfect for a weeknight dinner."