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40 Taco-Inspired Recipes That Don’t Call for Tortillas

Love tacos but not the mess? These taco-inspired recipes, ranging from taco pizza to taco soup, deliver all the traditional taco flavor but leave the shell behind.

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Taco Salad Casserole

This taco casserole recipe tastes like a taco salad and is a breeze to assemble. I crush tortilla chips to form a bottom layer, then spread on refried beans, a spicy meat mixture and cheese. —Rhonda McKee, Greensburg, Kansas

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Beef Taco Chili

This is one of my husband's absolute favorite dishes. It was also voted Best Chili in our county's autumn Harvest Festival. If you like less broth, use just 1-3/4 cups water and 1-1/2 tsp. bouillon. —Dana Beery, Ione, Washington
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Taco Burgers

My family loves the taste of tacos, but I dislike the mess! So I developed these burgers as a tasty but tidy alternative.—Linda Logan, Warren, Ohio
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Taco Pasta Salad

My family loves this savory taco pasta salad. Serve taco or corn chips on the side, and you have a complete meal. —Gert Rosenau, Pewaukee, WI
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Easy Taco Pizza

Convenient prebaked crust makes this tasty taco pizza as easy as can be. It's a great recipe, especially if you have teenagers. I keep the ingredients on hand so that we can whip up this filling meal anytime. —Mary Cass, Baltimore, Maryland
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Taco Turkey Meat Loaf

After buying a supersized package of ground turkey, I made this spicy taco turkey meat loaf using what I had on hand. It's now become a family favorite! I serve it for tailgating parties and it's delicious the next day for sandwiches. —Holly Battiste, Barrington, New Jersey
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Taco Mac

This zesty taco mac and cheese is just as yummy the next day. Simply warm it up and garnish with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and cheese. —JoLynn Fribley, Nokomis, Illinois
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Taco Twist Soup

The fun, family-friendly twist in this taco soup is the spiral pasta. I lightened this soup by substituting black beans for ground beef. —Colleen Zertler, Menomonie, Wisconsin
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Taco Baked Potatoes

Stuffed with your favorite fixings, this baked potato recipe is an easy meal in one. Make it vegetarian by using smashed black beans instead of ground beef. —Anne Ormond, Dover, New Hampshire
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Taco Skillet Pizza with Cornbread Crust

Our family loves taco pizza, and I have made so many versions of it. This recipe is like a deep-dish skillet pizza. It's a hearty meal and can be served straight out of the pan. — Pamela Shank, Parkersburg, West Virginia
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Taco Bowls

When it’s done slow-cooking, this beef shreds like a dream. We make it often, because it’s super easy to customize with fun, fresh and healthy toppings. —Hope Wasylenki, Gahanna, Ohio
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Easy Ground Beef Taco Salad

Every time I have to bring a dish to a party, friends ask for my taco salad. Even players on my son's football team ask for it. —Lori Buntrock, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
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Taco Pinwheels

These pinwheels come together quickly when you start with leftover taco meat. They make an appealing party appetizer served with salsa, or a fun lunch option with a salad on the side. —Cindy Reams, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
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Taco Pizza Squares

Everyone will come running the minute you take this fun twist on pizza out of the oven. I top convenient refrigerated pizza dough with leftover taco meat, tomatoes and cheese, bringing a full-flavored fiesta to the table in under half an hour. —Sarah Vovos, Middleton, Wisconsin.
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Skillet Tacos

This fast and healthy alternative to traditional tacos has a delicious southwestern flair. The fact that is comes together in just 30 minutes makes it even more irresistible. —Maria Gobel, Greenfield, Wisconsin
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Taco-Filled Pasta Shells

I've been stuffing pasta shells with different fillings for years, but my family enjoys this version with taco-seasoned meat the most. The frozen shells are so convenient, because you can take out only the number you need for a single-serving lunch or family dinner. Just add zippy taco sauce and bake. —Marge Hodel, Roanoke, Illinois
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Cheesy Chicken Taco Dip

We're huge college football fans (go Irish!), and my chicken taco dip hasn't missed a season opener in many years. A slow cooker keeps the dip warm for the whole game—if it lasts that long! —Deanna Garretson, Yucaipa, California
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Deep-Dish Beef 'n' Bean Taco Pizza

My whole family enjoys this dish that tastes like a taco and looks like a deep-dish pizza. The thick tasty crust can handle lots of toppings, so load it up for a bright, fun meal. —Nancy Circle, Perkins, Oklahoma
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Instant Pot Taco Pasta

This Instant Pot taco pasta is a welcome change from boring meals. I've taken all the flavors of tacos and created an easy pasta dish. Kids love the taste, and Mom loves how quick and easy it comes together. To lighten things up, use ground turkey. —Christine Hadden, Whitman, Massachusetts
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Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

Skip the store-bought stuff and learn how to make taco seasoning yourself. This recipe is right on. It tastes like purchased mixes, but is cheaper and has nearly half the sodium. Your heart and wallet will surely thank you! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Meatless Taco Salad

This colorful entree combines popular taco ingredients—minus the ground beef. And you won't miss the meat at all! I top each serving with a creamy guacamole dressing, crunchy corn chips and cheese. —Kimberly Dray, Pflugerville, Texas
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Taco Tater Skins

I wanted to make a version of these with ingredients most people have on hand. We make a meal out of these skins, but they're also great for parties as appetizers. —Phyllis Douglas, Fairview, Michigan
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Chicken Taco Pockets

We love these taco-flavored sandwiches made with crescent dough. They make a quick, easy lunch or supper with a bowl of soup or a crisp salad. I also like to cut them into smaller servings for parties. —Donna Gribbins, Shelbyville, Kentucky
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Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Salad

We use this super duper chicken across several meals, including it in tacos, sandwiches, omelets and enchiladas. My little guys love helping measure seasonings. —Karie Houghton, Lynnwood, Washington
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Simple Taco Soup

We first sampled this chili-like taco soup recipe at a church dinner. What a warming dish for a cold day. And because it uses packaged seasonings with several cans of vegetables, it's a snap to prepare. —Glenda Taylor, Sand Springs, Oklahoma
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Taco Pumpkin Seeds

Here is a hot idea from our Test Kitchen—toast seeds from a freshly cut pumpkin in taco seasoning and a bit of garlic salt. The combination packs a tasty punch! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Taco Noodle Dish

I got creative while we were housebound during a snowstorm one winter...and used ingredients I had on hand to come up with this hearty casserole. Later, I modified it so it has less fat and fewer calories. —Judy Munger, Warren, Minnesota
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Tiny Taco Meatballs

These meatballs may be tiny, but they're big on taste. Taco seasoning adds a tasty twist to these appetizers that my grandson gobbles up! —Joyce Markham, Belmond, Iowa
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Texas Taco Dip Platter

When I'm entertaining, this colorful dish is my top menu choice. My friends can't resist the hearty appetizer topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and olives. —Kathy Young, Weatherford, Texas
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Easy Taco Cups

These zesty little cups rank high on my list of favorites because they combine three things I look for in a recipe: fast, easy and delicious! They make a simply fantastic finger food for parties, and my guests have fun selecting their desired toppings. —Ashley Jarvies, Manassa, CO
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Ground Beef Taco Salad

Everyone at our house loves this taco salad. In spring we look for something light and refreshing on the menu after the heavier comfort food of winter. —Muriel Bertrand, Shoreview, Minnesota
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Taco Cornbread Casserole

A whole can of chiles adds fire to this cornbread casserole. For less heat, you can use just enough of the can for your taste. —Lisa Paul, Terre Haute, Indiana
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Hearty Taco Chili

Ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning give extra special flavor to my hearty chili. Folks will come back for seconds. —Julie Neuhalfen, Glenwood, Iowa
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Taco Spaghetti

I came up with this kid-friendly Southwestern recipe one afternoon when I was using up leftover spaghetti and ground beef. When I'm lucky enough to have extra time, I make two batches and freeze one. —Johanna Van Ness, Wichita, Kansas
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Ground Beef Taco Dip

What's a football party without taco dip? This version made with spicy ground beef and fresh toppings does not disappoint the die-hards. It is full of classic flavors and is a little extra filling for game day appetites. —Errika Perry, Green Bay, WI
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Turkey Taco Macaroni

This is a nice little twist on a classic dish. If you love cheese, feel free to add more, and green peppers are a great taste if you want some vegetables. —Barb Kondolf, Hamlin, New York
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Taco Meatball Ring

While it looks complicated, this attractive meatball-filled ring is really very easy to assemble. My family loves tacos, and we find that the crescent roll dough is a nice change from the usual tortilla shells or chips. There are never any leftovers when I serve this at a meal or as a party appetizer! —Brenda Johnson, Davison, Michigan
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Refried Bean-Taco Pizza

I like to make pizza, and this one is my favorite. I use a ready-to-use pizza crust when time is tight. If you like taco salad, you'll love this. —Mary Detweiler, Middlefield, Ohio
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Cornbread Taco Bake

The cornbread and beef bake together in one casserole dish, making this entree convenient. This Mexican cornbread casserole is packed with tempting seasonings, and the cheese and onions make an attractive topping. —Vicki Good, Oscoda, Michigan
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Potluck Taco Casserole

This is the dish I most often take to potlucks, and the pan comes home empty every time. It has the irresistible taco taste that everybody craves. —Kim Stoller, Smithville, Ohio

Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. As the editor of the Taste of Home Christmas Annual (among other titles), she's in the holiday spirit all year round. An enthusiastic baker, she's known for her cookies, cakes and other baked goods. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.
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