If you love taco salad then 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 your next fiesta!
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!
The whole salad is tossed in a creamy French dressing, or you can use Catalina dressing like my mom does. How did French dressing become the seasoning for Mexican-inspired 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 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.
To add extra flavor (I’m all about adding extra flavor whenever I can!), 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.
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. Enjoy!
Pin this to your dinner and sides board!
- 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
- Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and rinse in cold water.
- While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, brown the beef. Drain excess oil, if any, then add onion and taco seasoning. Cover and cook over low heat until onions are soft; let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the taco meat, pasta, tomatoes, cheese and beans. Toss with dressing. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
This recipe first appeared on Amanda’s Cookin’ as a guest contribution by Kitchen Gidget.