Creamy Southwestern Shells 
with Black Beans

This twist on mac ’n’ cheese is bursting with bold southwestern ingredients like sweet corn, creamy avocado and fresh cilantro. Try using 
tri-colored pasta shells for added visual appeal.

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Gibson & Smith
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
10 min
35 min


  • 2 cups unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz small whole-wheat pasta shells
  • 1 15-oz BPA-free can 
unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted (TRY: Alexia 
All-Natural Supersweet Organic Corn)
  • 3 oz grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped


  1. In a large oven-proof skillet on medium-high, bring tomatoes, milk and broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in pasta, cover and reduce heat to medium, adjusting as needed to maintain a steady simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just barely al dente, 8 to 14 minutes.
  2. Arrange oven rack in center position and preheat broiler to high. To skillet, add beans, corn, half of cheese and 5 tbsp cilantro. Stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Sprinkle remaining half of cheese over top and transfer to oven. Broil until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Divide among plates and sprinkle evenly with avocado and remaining 3 tbsp cilantro.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 2 cups
  • Calories 528
  • Carbohydrate Content 79 g
  • Cholesterol Content 29 mg
  • Fat Content 15 g
  • Fiber Content 14 g
  • Protein Content 27 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 6.5 g
  • Sodium Content 255 mg
  • Sugar Content 11 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 2 g