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Taco Pasta Salad

This taco pasta salad is a flavor fiesta in every bite! It’s packed with seasoned ground beef, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and plenty of cheese.

But then, I kicked it up a notch by tossing it all with a creamy, zesty dressing.

Taco pasta salad with tomatoes, red onions, black beans, corn kernels and cilantro on a wooden bowl with tortilla cchips on the side.
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It’s so easy to make and perfect for summer get-togethers, potlucks, or just a fun family dinner.

I topped mine with some crunchy tortilla chips and fresh cilantro for extra texture and flavor. Mmm!

Why You’ll Love This Taco Pasta Salad

Burst of Color: This salad is visually stunning, with vibrant ingredients like cherry tomatoes, corn, and cilantro. It’s a feast for the eyes and the belly.

Perfect Party Dish: Ideal for gatherings, this salad is a crowd-pleaser that can be easily doubled or tripled to serve a large number of guests.

Quick and Easy: This recipe comes together quickly with straightforward steps and common ingredients.

Deliciously Satisfying: This dish delivers a mouthwatering taste that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

Ingredients

  • Rotini Pasta: The spiral shape of rotini pasta is perfect for holding onto the flavorful dressing.
  • Ground Beef: It provides a hearty and savory base, absorbing the taco seasoning for a rich, meaty flavor.
  • Taco Seasoning: It adds a burst of classic Mexican flavors, infusing the ground beef with a spicy, aromatic kick.
  • Black Beans: They add a creamy texture and a boost of protein, complementing the other ingredients perfectly.
  • Corn Kernels: Sweet and crunchy, corn kernels add a delightful contrast to the savory elements of the salad.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Juicy and slightly tangy, halved cherry tomatoes bring freshness and a pop of color to the dish.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese: It melts slightly into the salad, adding a creamy, cheesy richness to tie all the flavors together.
  • Red Onion: It adds a sharp, pungent bite to balance the richness of the beef and cheese.
  • Fresh Cilantro: It provides a fresh, herbaceous note that brightens up the entire salad.
  • Dressing: It coats the pasta and other ingredients, bringing all the flavors together.
  • Optional Toppings: Crushed tortilla chips or Doritos add a satisfying crunch. Sliced avocado and additional cilantro provide extra creaminess and freshness.
Pouring a dressing into a bowl of taco pasta salad.

How to Make Taco Pasta Salad

Making this pasta salad is easy enough for beginners.

1. Cook the pasta. Cook the rotini pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.

2. Brown the ground beef. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Drain the excess fat, then add the taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.

3. Combine the ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, seasoned ground beef, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, red onion, and cilantro.

4. Make the dressing. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Catalina dressing, sour cream, and taco sauce.

5. Mix the dressing. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss gently to combine.

6. Refrigerate the salad. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

7. Serve the salad. Before serving, give the salad a quick stir. If desired, top with crushed tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and additional cilantro. Enjoy.

Colorful taco pasta salad, featuring rotini pasta, ground beef, and a medley of vegetables.

Tips for the Best Taco Pasta Salad

Follow these tips for a sensational dish!

  • The fatter, the better. Use ground beef with a higher fat content (80/20 ratio) for better flavor absorption. You can also substitute with ground turkey, chicken, or pork.
  • Pick the right pasta. Choose pasta shapes that hold onto the dressing well, such as rotini, Cellentani, or medium-sized shells.
  • Switch up the dressing. To change the flavor profile, experiment with different dressings, such as Catalina, French, or homemade sauces.
  • Give it a flavor boost. Add diced jalapeños or hot sauce for an extra kick of heat. Use different cheeses to switch up the flavor.
  • Serve it in style. Serve as a main dish or side dish at picnics, cookouts, or potlucks. It pairs well with grilled meats and veggies.
Quick and easy taco pasta salad, made with rotini, ground beef, tomatoes and corn kernels.

How to Store

If you have leftover pasta, keep it fresh with these tips:

To Store: Place an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. For the best results, keep the dressing separate and add it just before serving, along with crunchy toppings like tortilla chips.

Give the salad a quick stir before serving to redistribute the ingredients and dressing.

Taco Pasta Salad

Course: Side DishCuisine: American
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

589

kcal

Jazz up your next cookout with this taco pasta salad! With ground beef, beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, and tasty seasonings, it’ll disappear in no time.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound rotini pasta

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning

  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup diced red onion

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • For the dressing:
  • 1 cup Catalina dressing

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons taco sauce

  • Optional toppings:
  • Crushed tortilla chips or Doritos

  • Sliced avocado

  • Additional cilantro

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.
  • In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat. Drain excess fat, then add taco seasoning and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta, seasoned ground beef, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, red onion, and cilantro.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the Catalina dressing, sour cream, and taco sauce to make the dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss gently to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.
  • Before serving, give the salad a quick stir. If desired, top with crushed tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and additional cilantro. Enjoy!

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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