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Taco Pasta Salad

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!

Cold Taco Pasta salad with ground beef and Catalina dressing - quick and easy dinner or side dish for potlucks!

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.

If it’s hot taco pasta you want, definitely check out my Mexican Goulash. It’s a one-pot beef and tomato powerhouse!

Cold Taco Pasta salad with ground beef and Catalina dressing - quick and easy dinner or side dish for potlucks!

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.

Cold Taco Pasta salad with ground beef and Catalina dressing - quick and easy dinner or side dish for potlucks!

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!

Cold Taco Pasta salad with ground beef and Catalina dressing - great for dinner or side dish for potlucks!

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.

Cold Taco Pasta salad with ground beef and Catalina dressing - great for dinner or side dish for potlucks!

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.

Cold Taco Pasta salad with ground beef and Catalina dressing - great for dinner or side dish for potlucks!

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 or Taco Pizza Appetizer.  Enjoy!

Pin this to your dinner and sides board!

Cold Taco Pasta salad with ground beef and Catalina dressing - great for dinner or side dish for potlucks!

Cold Taco Pasta salad with ground beef and Catalina dressing - quick and easy dinner or side dish for potlucks!

Taco Pasta Salad

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, brown the beef. Drain excess oil (if any) then add onion and taco seasoning.
  3. Cover and cook over low heat until onions are soft; let cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the taco meat, pasta, tomatoes, cheese and beans. Toss with dressing. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 642mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 24g

Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below! Or tag @kitchengidget on Instagram with the hashtag #kitchengidget

This recipe first appeared on Amanda’s Cookin’ as a guest contribution by Kitchen Gidget.

More great pasta salads:

Tuna Pasta Salad

The best cold tuna pasta salad! This creamy macaroni salad with mayonnaise is great for potlucks or add peas for a complete meal!

Spaghetti Salad with Italian Dressing (creamy version)

Chilled spaghetti salad with Italian dressing and a little mayonnaise. The zesty-creamy combo is the best of both worlds!

 

Ground beef picadillo stuffed peppers - a quick and delicious dinner recipe with a Puerto Rican twist!
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Alan Smithee

Monday 19th of August 2019

Just add the taco seasoning to the ground beef without the cup of water the seasoning package calls? Thanks.

Rebekah

Saturday 24th of August 2019

So sorry this reply is late, I've been in the hospital. I don't use the water called for on the packet - just like a dry spice. If you want to use the water it's ok too - extra juice for the pasta to soak up.

Teresa

Friday 30th of March 2018

Can I use taco sauce in place of the dressing to give it a more Mexican taste?

Rebekah

Friday 30th of March 2018

Absolutely!

Kathy

Friday 18th of August 2017

Hi Rebekah, Thanks for this awesome recipe. I made it last night and my whole family loved it!

Rebekah

Friday 18th of August 2017

That's awesome to hear! Thank you!