Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Tex Mex Pasta with Creamy Avocado Jalapeno Sauce

I've been sitting on this recipe for a while.  It was definitely good enough to be featured on this blog, but it was impossible to get a good picture.  I briefly considered making it again and trying to get a better photo, but I honestly didn't think it would help.  This is one of those times where I have to say, "Just trust me ... It tastes much better than it looks!"

I mean, seriously ... It looks like a baby ate some green mashed up vegetables and then proceeded to shit all over a plate of pasta.  (And yes, I realize I'm making this meal sound horribly unappetizing.)  But look at this:

I'm really not kidding.  It looks gross.

Despite its unfortunate appearance, this pasta is actually really good.  I drew inspiration for this meal from a couple of different recipes, combining elements from each and playing around with the flavors to make it my own.  I was definitely happy with the result (despite the less than amazing pictures)!

Tex Mex Pasta with Creamy Avocado Jalapeno Sauce 

Adapted from recipes on Budget Bytes and Gimme Some Oven.

Ingredient List:
  • 1 box short pasta (I used Garofalo organic gemelli from Costco)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp low fat margarine or butter (I used low fat margarine)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (You don't need to chop this since it will be going in the food processor, but if you don't want the sauce to be very spicy, you should cut it enough to remove some of the seeds)
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup cheese, shredded (I used a cheddar Jack blend, but I think a Mexican blend or Pepper Jack would also be good)
  • 2 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 oz. can vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chicken broth (If you want to make this a true vegetarian meal, you could substitute vegetable broth here)
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used low fat, and it worked well)
  • 3 tsp cilantro, divided
  • 4 tsp garlic salt, divided
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper

I thought lifting some pasta up with a fork might somehow make it look more appetizing.  It really didn't, but this was still one of the better pictures I took.


1.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the red bell pepper and red onion, cooking until slightly softened.

2.  Add the diced green chilies, black beans, vegetable broth, pasta, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, 2 tsp garlic salt, and 2 tsp cilantro to the vegetables in the skillet.

3.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cover.  Allow it to simmer until the pasta is fully cooked and the liquid has mostly been soaked up by the pasta.  (This should take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on what type of pasta you use.)

4.  While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a separate small saucepan.

5.  Add the flour, then slowly pour in the chicken broth, stirring well to get rid of any lumps.

6.  Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.  Allow the sauce to simmer for approximately 5 minutes, stirring often.

7.  Add the sour cream, 1 tsp cilantro, and 2 tsp garlic salt to the sauce.  Stir well to combine.

8.  Add the avocados and jalapeno pepper to a food processor, blending until fairly smooth.  (It's okay if there are some lumps at this point.)

9.  Slowly pour the sauce into the food processor, and blend with the avocados and jalapeno pepper until smooth and creamy.  (Be very careful blending hot liquid in a food processor!  Make sure you open the lid regularly to allow heat to escape!)

10.  Squeeze the juice from the lime into the sauce, and pulse a few more times until everything is thoroughly mixed.

11.  Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta in the skillet.

12.  Top the pasta and sauce with shredded cheese and tomato, then replace the lid until the cheese has melted.

I realize that this may sound like a lot of steps (and a lot of ingredients), but it's really a pretty simple dish.  It reheats fairly well, but I will warn you that the sauce may turn a little brown.  I was worried it might be gross after I saw the color change, but it actually didn't alter the taste at all.

I didn't serve a side dish when I originally made this meal, but if I do in the future, I'll probably just make a simple green salad.

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