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Fiesta Pasta Closeup

Fiesta Pasta

  • Author: Brook Hagen
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 - 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This is a plant-based, Tex-mex variation on mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s a great “gateway” dinner for kids (and adults) that want to eat more plants!

Bonus: it’s easy, quick, and oh yeah – delicious!


  • 8 oz of gluten-free pasta (I used lentil-based pasta for this recipe and nutrition info)
  • 2 Tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened, non-dairy milk (cow milk works, too)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes or powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
  • 1 10-oz can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chiles (or about a cup of your favorite salsa)
  • 2 15-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Cook the pasta: In a large saucepan, cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain it and set aside; I like to just let mine sit in the colander in the sink.
  2. Whisk the sauce: In the same pan (or a new one, depending on how many dishes you want to use), whisk together the miso paste, milk, nutritional yeast, and all the spices until mixed well. Then, add the cornstarch and diced tomatoes and continue to whisk until blended.
  3. Thicken the sauce: Heat the sauce over medium heat and continue to whisk until it reaches a simmer. Then, turn the heat down to low, continue to stir until thickened.
  4. Put it all together: Combine the beans, cooked pasta, and thickened sauce; mix until everything is well-coated with the sauce.
  5. Taste test: Taste it and add more salt, spices, or red pepper if desired.
  6. Serve with sides and add-ons, if any. 😋


Ingredient Notes

  • Miso Paste: Miso is a fermented soybean paste that has been used to flavor Japanese dishes (soup, udon, and others) for thousands of years.
    • Miso comes in colors – typically white, yellow, and red. White is the most common, as well as the “sweetest” and mildest-tasting.
    • Most supermarkets throughout the US carry miso paste.
    • White or yellow miso work well in this recipe.
    • If you don’t have miso (and don’t want to buy any), substitute 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari for the 2 tablespoons of miso paste called for in the recipe.
    • Buy miso paste online: Hikari is a well-known and trusted brand of miso, but the 17-oz package is overkill if you don’t use miso often. Muso from Japan Smart Miso comes in a convenient 5-oz squeeze pouch.
  • Milk
    • If using non-dairy milk alternative (NDMA), make sure it is unflavored and unsweetened.
    • Dairy milk works well, too. That’s usually what I use, because all my NDMA is vanilla-flavored. 😉
  • Cornstarch substitutes
    • You can use arrowroot starch as a direct, 1-to-1 substitute.
    • Tapioca starch is another substitute that you can use, but you’ll need twice as much.


  • Topping suggestions:
    • Vegan: sliced green onions, chopped avocado, fresh cilantro, sliced jalepeños
    • Dairy: shredded cheese, sour cream, queso fresco
    • Meat: shredded chicken, bacon, pulled pork, ground beef (in my house, any leftover meat gets thrown on top)


Side salad with your favorite dressing (my favorite), tortilla chips, fresh fruit

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Stovetop


  • Serving Size: 1/5 of recipe
  • Calories: 448
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 1275 mg
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 75 g
  • Fiber: 21 g
  • Protein: 32
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, high protein, high fiber, plant-based