If you love taco salad than this taco pasta salad is for you! It’s loaded up with ground beef, juicy tomatoes, black beans and lots of cheese. Take it to the next level with your own homemade taco seasoning!
Taco Pasta Salad
Everyone loves tacos! Turning them into a cold pasta salad means you can take it as a side dish to your next gathering, or eat it as a quick and easy summer dinner. The corn chips in regular taco salad have been replaced with pasta, which means you can make this dish ahead of time and not worry about it getting soggy. If you happen to have leftovers, they’ll be perfectly fresh the next day!
In the spirit of a non-soggy taco pasta salad, I removed the lettuce from my recipe. I can’t bear the slimy texture it starts to form after a while. On the other hand, it’s chock full of juicy tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and black beans. I love the addition of black beans, but pinto would be delicious as well!
While I was browning the beef, I had the great idea to make extra to freeze for later meals. It’s a handy trick I often employ with my Puerto Rican Picadillo, but I never thought to do it for taco meat. It makes dinner a snap later on since you can use it in a variety of ways, like Taco Hand Pies.
The whole taco pasta salad is tossed with a creamy French dressing, or you can use Catalina dressing like my mom does. How did French dressing become the seasoning for Mexican-inspired pasta taco salad? I’ll probably never know the answer to that question, but it definitely works! You can use any short pasta you like. I had corkscrew pasta on hand, so that’s what I went with this time. You can also get creative with other mix-ins. Diced avocado, jarred jalapeño slices or corn kernels would be some great options.
FIND THE FULL RECIPE FOR TACO PASTA SALAD IN THE PRINTABLE VERSION BELOW
Ingredients for Taco Pasta Salad:
- 8 oz short pasta
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (1 packet)
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup French or Catalina dressing
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
To add extra flavor (I’m all about adding extra flavor whenever I can!) to your taco pasta salad, I like to add chopped onion to the ground beef while I’m making the taco meat. My grandmother (who is Mexican) always added onion to her beef, so I do it as well. Normally I break the meat up really well, but I left it chunky this time for a heartier salad.
Looking for more delicious pasta salad inspiration? You’ll definitely want to check out this tortellini pasta salad or this tuna pasta salad. And if tacos are what bring you to your happy place, you’ll love this taco casserole– all the taco fixings in one delicious casserole. Maybe you’re looking for more fresh summer-inspired ingredients in a side dish? Try our Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad. This summer salad is perfect for BBQ’s, potlucks, family reunions and so much more. Chicken Salad with Grapes is another popular and beloved potluck dish! Serve it up on a bun, on a lettuce leaf or with a scoopful!Any way you eat it, you’ll get rave reviews!