Dinner Tonight: Spinach Pesto Baked Tacos

Taco night is a tradition in our house…but baked tacos?  With spinach and a little pesto?  Now, that sounds kind of special, right?!  It was!  Not only was it a different twist on taco night…it was easy and delicious! And like I always say, nothing makes the mama happier than an easy and delicious dinner.

Shopping List
1 pound ground beef (or you could use ground chicken or turkey)
1 package taco seasoning
1 box frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed of all the excess water
1 cup store bought Pesto
2 cups salsa
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
5 taco shells (I used the “stand and stuff” ones…but regular will work)
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat a tablespoon or so of EVOO over medium-high heat in a skillet.  Add in your ground beef and cook until browned and crumbly.  Stir in your taco seasoning, spinach, pesto and salsa.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, in an 8×8 inch baking dish, line your 5 taco shells up.  Divide the ground beef mixture between all 5 shells.  Top tacos with cheese and pop dish in the oven.  Bake about 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown.

That’s it!  Simple, right?  And of course…you can mix and match this a million different ways!  Trade out your fillings for beans, chicken, fresh spinach…go nuts!  The tacos get so crispy when you bake them that you’ll never go back to unbaked tacos again.  Trust me…this method is life changing :).

Happy Taco Night!

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  • Beth February 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Ok, yes, making these tonight! Yum!

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} February 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I've see a version of these floating around Pinterest…but I love your twist on it! Will be making these for sure!

  • Shelby February 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Wow!! Now if this is not mixing & matching I don't know what is!! What a great twist on traditional tacos! And thanks for yet again another excuse to hide spinach in my toddlers' meals! šŸ™‚

  • The Dose of Reality February 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I definitely like the idea of baked tacos! šŸ™‚ YUM!

  • Narci D February 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Definitely will try this-we love taco night! šŸ™‚

  • Barrett February 19, 2013 at 12:02 am

    These look great!!!!

  • axellskitchen February 20, 2013 at 2:09 am

    This seems so strange yet so good at the same time! Definitely have to try this!

  • Hayley February 21, 2013 at 4:07 am

    I have been following your blog for a while now and have made a number of your recipes. I tried these tacos tonight, and they were delish!

  • Heidi February 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I am new to your blog and love reading your posts. I made this recipe last night, but wondered what kind of pesto you used? I had basil pesto sauce, but not sure that was what you meant because 1 cup of that would have been way too much. The recipe still turned out well, but was just curious where you would find the pesto in your grocery store. Thanks!

  • Colossians 2:6-8 February 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    These were great! I substituted a bag of frozen collars greens instead of spinach because I didn't have spinach. It was really good! Thanks for posting! Also baked tacos are amazing, never had them before!

  • Richard Beechy February 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Dang! best tacos ever. Thanks for posting.

  • Anonymous April 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    love all your posts!!! just curious what is the best way to drain spinach after defrosting? Thanks

  • Mix and Match Mama April 3, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I squeeze it in a clean kitchen towel over the sink. It's perfect!

  • The Mommy April 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Made these last night for dinner. My kiddos & husband LOVED them (as did I). Thank you so much for this awesome recipe. Love your blog!


  • beamer0821 May 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    sounds delish! what would you pair this with? i struggle with what sides to put with taco or enchilada night that isnt rice or beans. most meals ill do a salad or roasted veggie b/c they are easy and quick but those can be snoozers after awhile!

  • Mix and Match Mama May 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    These tacos would be delish would guacamole or a green salad with sliced avocado and tomatoes on top.

  • Julie H. May 11, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I made these tonight and thought they were delicious!!!! However I stuffed those 5 shells to the brim and still had meat leftover and my shells got soggy on the bottom…. has anyone else had this happen?? Suggestions to prevent for next time?
    Other than that the taste was fabulous! Thanks for the great recipes šŸ™‚

  • Mix and Match Mama May 12, 2013 at 11:41 am

    They're supposed to be a little soggy on the bottom…that's what happens when you bake them up. You probably used more than a pound of ground beef (which is easy to do since it's often sold larger than a pound). Next time, just make a few more tacos.

  • Monika July 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I made these last night for dinner. I was a little hesitant about pesto in a taco dish, but it worked! They were great. My husband (a chef) loved them! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Lauren Chudzik September 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I made these for dinner last night and they were absolutely delicious! My first try at baked tacos and I loved them. Like others, I seemed to have a bit too much meat. I actually stuffed 6 shells and still had about 1/3 of my meat / spinach combo left. No worries…I have it for leftovers tonight on a taco salad.

  • RachelZoe September 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Shay, I made these for dinner last night, and not only were they super easy, but my boyfriend thought i had spent hours slaving away bc they were soo delicious!!! AND the night before I made the frito pie casserole….so amazing!!!! I'm so thankful for your website!!


  • Megan November 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I made these for my husband and I Saturday then again Tuesday night (had leftover taco shells). We loved them! I had the same question as another user about the pesto. I only put about 1/4 a cup because felt it would be way too much and it made the tacos quite oily. I think I am using the wrong pesto- do you have suggestions for what kind? Thank you!

  • Mix and Match Mama November 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Pesto is oil based, so it's probably nothing you're doing wrong. These tacos are moist because of the pesto, so it could be that too.

  • Jack's Mom December 14, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Keep meaning to comment on how delicious these were!!! We ate our extra stuffing on chips for lunch the next day as nachos. Why have I never heard of stand and stuff shells???? My life has now been changed and I will embrace crispy tacos.

  • carrie December 29, 2013 at 3:08 am

    I don't normally comment on blogs but find comments on recipes so valuable… so, people, these are so great! I modified a bit (fresh spinach, probably 1/3 cup pesto, pepper jack cheese) and will be making these again and again. Shay, I never would have thought this would be a good combination but wow, so tasty! Thanks for sharing!

  • Angie July 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    These were delicious, my whole family enjoyed them! I had leftover meat that I had for lunch the following day and ate it with tortilla chips. Yum!

  • katiemiddleton August 8, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    delicious!!! thanks for easy and unique recipes- our dinner guests LOVED them!

  • Hilary Jose August 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    MMM… made these and they were tasty! Just a little less pesto/oil and actually used a chunky mango salsa from Costco since that's what we had on hand. The mango chunks complimented the pesto and taco seasoning in a good way! Thanks for sharing all your recipes. I'm a big fan!

  • Morgan Soper November 14, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Shay, this may be my absolute FAVORITE dinner EVER!! I have made it several times and I just can't get enough! I've always made it with ground turkey but i used shredded chicken the other day (using your method of shredding chicken in the crock pot…duh) and it was divine. Every time I tell my mom about a new meal I made for myself, she always asks "did you get the recipe from your food bestie?" (aka you) haha. Thank you for sharing yummy and easy recipes!

  • Sarah Walker November 17, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Hi Shay! Would this recipe work if it were doubled? Some recipes don't do so well. Thanks in advance!

  • Mix and Match Mama November 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

    You can totally double this recipe!

  • Liz F. January 8, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I have had these on my 'to make' list forgever and finally checked them off last night and wow TOTALLY worth the wait! So, so good! My 15 month old ate them like a champ clueless that she was eating spinach. What a win!

  • The Foltz Family January 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I LOVE these tacos! My kids and husband love them and I have made them for my extended family and they all loved them too! I have commented much on your blog but I have tried many recipes and this is my first go to spot when I need new recipes that I know will be delicious without a doubt! Thanks so much!

  • Liz F. February 17, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I just made these for the second time but I inadvertantly did my own 'mix and matching'–I was doing my normal 'speed shopping' at the grocery store and was so focused on my list/keeping my 16 month old entertained in ways that did not involve pulling items from shelves or tossing items out of my cart that I accidentally purchased creamed spinach. Sigh. It ended up tasting just fine but I definitely did NOT need those extra calories! familyoffoley.wordpress.com