Best Ever Taco Pasta Salad
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Anyone here love tacos? How about pasta? What about BOTH!?
Well here’s a tasty side dish (or even dinner idea) that combines both taco seasoned ground beef and spiral noodles into a flavorful cold pasta salad for your next summer BBQ!
Taco pasta salad is super easy to make and can definitely be prepared using veggies and add-ins your family loves. I even made a video to show you the simple process of putting together this yummy salad…
The result is a fantastic tasting pasta salad with lots of bold taco based flavors with fresh veggies, and added crunch from tortilla strips — everyone will love this easy side dish for sure!
Tips for making the BEST taco pasta salad:
- This salad is HUGE so you’ll need a super big bowl. If you need a suggestion for a quality deep wood salad bowl, I have had this 12×7 inch acacia bowl via Amazon.com for a couple of years now, and love the shape and size! It’s so beautiful.
- I used Catalina salad dressing and it worked out yummy here. If that’s not a favorite of yours, try using another dressing like ranch or zesty Italian. I also had some taco sauce in the fridge, so I used some of it as well. Yum!
- Taco pasta salad is very easy to cater to taste! Leave out anything you don’t love or consider other add-ins like black olives, black beans, and/or top with sour cream. I also topped mine with tortilla strips, but crushed Doritos work great too for some added crunch and flavor.
- You might be asking why I didn’t only season just the ground beef. I chose to season the cooked noodles and cooked ground beef together, so the noodles would get some of that yummy taco flavor, too! I used a taco packet, but check out our taco seasoning recipe for a homemade option.
- I added a couple of chopped avocados right before serving so they didn’t turn brown. They’re optional, yet so yummy!
- Leftover taco pasta salad can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
Check out the video on Youtube for an easy tutorial to make Taco Pasta Salad!
Taco Pasta Salad
yield: 10 SERVINGS
prep time: 20 MINUTES
cook time: 20 MINUTES
total time: 40 MINUTES
Pasta noodles and ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning and tossed with fresh veggies & Catalina dressing as tasty side dish or dinner idea!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound pasta spirals
- 1 taco seasoning packet
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 15 oz. canned corn, drained
- 3 cups iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Catalina salad dressing
- 2 tablespoons taco sauce
- 1/2 cup tortilla strips
- 1 large avocado, diced
Crumble and cook ground beef on the stove. Drain grease, if necessary. Let cool.
Cook pasta noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water.
In your largest mixing bowl, combine the noodles and cooked ground beef. Add the taco seasoning and mix well, until evenly coated.
Add in the bell peppers, grape tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, corn, iceberg lettuce, and cheese.
Add in the dressing and taco sauce, and toss until evenly coated. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Top with the crunchy tortilla strips and chopped avocado right before serving. Enjoy!
This will be your new favorite pasta salad!
I love this idea as an easy to compile, unique side dish for a BBQ, but I also ate it on its own for dinner and it was so yum! All of these flavors pair so well together.
My family and I really enjoyed this taco pasta salad so you should definitely give it a try!
This sounds delicious. I am definitely making this. Thank you for sharing.
Sure! Let us know!
Lina you come up with the best recipes!
Aw thanks Lori! I’m glad you are enjoying 💕
We have something similar that we call Dorito salad. Its lettuce, red onion, green pepper, tomato, cheese, Catalina dressing, and crushed nacho doritos on top.
Forgot one ingredient- ground beef with taco seasoning
My husband introduced me to this. It’s so good! 🙂
Yum! Doritos would be great here also. 👍
I grew up with this recipe! We also add kidney beans and black olives. Yum!
My family in NYS makes this same recipe but adds some other stuff too.
This looks soooooo delicious! I bet you can change the pasta to rice or use veggie spirals too!
Sure that sounds yummy also!
Switch it up with Banza noodles for Gluten Free! Just don’t overcook them.😊
Thanks for that suggestion!
Yum, this weekend’s dinner. Thanks
The cold ground beef works???? Haven’t done that since college……. I’m thinking of substituting grilled taco flavored chicken?
Oh nice idea too! Yum!
Ooh chicken sounds good too!
Oh, I want to try this with black beans instead of beef for a meatless Monday dinner.
That’s an excellent idea! Yum 😋
Or use meatless crumbles! I always use mock meat because of health and ethical reasons, but I turned a friend onto it because it’s already precooked essentially- meaning you only have to warm it up and not fully cook it, if that makes sense.
Sounds wonderful! I’ll be making this soon!
I make this with beans; Kidney, pinto or black or a combo whatever we have on hand. I like the tip to use chicken. I never thought of that and the rotisserie chickens have been calling my name whenever I pass them at the grocery store lately. They are just so easy and would be perfect here!
Yes I want to try that also! Yum
Looks delicious! Thank you!
How about just taco sauce instead? Catalina is tomato based with oil and sugar? I like the recipe and to each his own but sometimes health should be considered (so much free fast food posts etc). Not trolling just being real and honest. Catalina is a gob a crap.
What is Catalina dressing made of?
Blend sugar, red wine vinegar, canola oil, ketchup, paprika, onion powder, celery flakes, and seasoning blend together in a blender until smooth.
KRAFT CLASSIC CATALINA DRESSING
Along with a high sodium count, this dressing contains 8 grams of sugar and color dyes. In fact, a study in Environmental Health Perspectives found Red 40, found in this dressing, to be contaminated with known carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer)
Yes like I said in the post use a type of dressing you’d enjoy! I like the idea of using salsa or a taco sauce or maybe look up homemade Catalina dressing instead.
Whoo hoo, Lina to the rescue for dinner tonight! Its another 90 plus day here and everyone is already crabby and I had no game plan for dinner . . . The perfect storm was brewing but I think we’ll be okay =) Thank you for this!
Oh yay! Yes I can relate to a hot crabby family 🤪😂 enjoy this!
I make this all the time and everyone loves it! I have one really fussy kid too. Instead of Catalina I mix 1/4 c salsa and 1/4 c spicy ranch together. So good!
Yum I love that idea!
Just made it for dinner. It was awesome and a big hit for everyone. I made the base with the pasta, meat, cheese, seasonings, and dressing. Then I made a little toppings bar for everyone to customize to their favorites. I will definitely be adding this to my recipes. I might even make a double batch of meat when it is taco night. Extra pasta during Italian night. Then freezing it to use after a long workday and adding whatever fresh ingredients need to be cleaned out of the fridge. Quick easy meal with no real cooking.
Oh I love your thoughts on how to prep this 👏 thanks for sharing!
This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it!
Hubby made this tonight and it’s amazing! Thank you Lina for yet 1 more awesome recipe. You rock!
Oh I am so happy you all enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to share 💕
Making this 4 a cookout. We love all forms of tacos. Thanks.
Great! Enjoy 😉
Do you know how much is a serving size? Are you figuring 10 1cup servings?
Yep that sounds about right!
Every thing in this looks and sounds amazing except the Catalina Dressing. Not a fan. Do you have any other dressing suggestions?
Made this tonight for my husband and me. I won’t have to plan for supper for the week now! I didn’t use the corn, but did add black beans. We have an abundance of cucumbers right now, so added a couple of small ones (heck, why not, it’s a salad!). I didn’t add the Catalina dressing or the Frito’s to the salad…we did that ourselves to our own taste. I love the simplicity of this recipe and the flexibility/variation of ingredients. I like the idea by Jen S of using 1/4 c salsa and 1/4 c spicy ranch together. This will be made again, but will cut it in half or more for just the 2 of us. Thanks for posting this delish meal!
Ha yes it’s a lot – Glad you enjoy it! Thanks for sharing.
I bet Dorothy Lynch dressing would be yummy in this too!
Love the ideas here! Cooking in all the time has gotten boring with the same-O. I am always intrigued by new ideas that I think my family will eat. We will most likely use Pace picante sauce or salsa instead of the Catalina, but this all sounds really yum…..usually a rotisserie chicken is too much for one meal for us and this is perfect for the leftovers! Thanks! You rock Lina!
Oh yay! Enjoy! That sounds like a plan <3
I use more seasoning, more vegetables, and add beans to mine. Very filling and delicious. Healthy too!
Thanks for sharing!