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Crunchy Tortilla Salsa Mac and Cheese

Vegetarian, Lightened Up, Whole-Wheat, Gluten-Free option
Crunchy Tortilla Salsa Mac and Cheese is all American comfort food packed with Mexican flavors!
0 from 0 votes
Author: Nisha
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian Inspired
Servings 6 servings
Calories 623 kcal


  • 1 pound whole-wheat medium shells
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose white flour
  • 2 1/2 cups organic 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning, I love Trader Joe's brand
  • 3 cups medium cheddar cheese, grated, 1 cup for the sauce + 2 cups for the top
  • 1 (16 ounce jar) medium salsa, I love organic Whole Foods brand
  • 1 handful lightly salted tortilla chips, crushed in a ziploc bag


  • Start by heating a pot of water for the pasta.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat a pot on low heat and add 2 tbsp of butter.
  • Once melted, add flour.
  • Whisk for about 2 minute until the flour is cooked.
  • Add milk.  Whisk until well blended.  Increase the heat to medium and allow the milk to heat up.
  • In the meantime, grate some cheese, roughly 3 cups.  I just used my food processor to save time.
  • Once the milk is heated thru and little bubbles form above, add the spices… salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and taco seasoning.
  • Whisk and this is what you should have.
  • Add cheese.  Whisk.
  • Check on the pasta water which should be boiling.  Season with salt to flavor the pasta.  Add the pasta.
  • Back to the sauce, add a jar of salsa.
  • Whisk.  Reduce the heat to very low.
  • Grab a handful of tortilla chips and put them in a Ziploc bag.
  • Crush the chips using your hands.
  • Check on the pasta. Once it is cooked thru, drain it.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce.
  • Mix well. Turn off the stove.
  • Transfer to a baking dish that has been buttered.
  • Top with crushed tortilla chips.
  • Top with the remaining 2 cups of cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, 35 max.
  • Out of the oven. Enjoy!


Calories: 623kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 28gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 913mgPotassium: 222mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 876IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 542mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Mac and Cheese, Pasta
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