November 13, 2023Review Recipe
Table of Contents
- Taco Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients
- Substitutions And Additions For Pasta Taco Salad
- How To Make Taco Pasta Salad
- How To Serve Taco Salad With Noodles
- Storing This Recipe For Taco Pasta Salad
- Why You Will Love This Pasta Taco Salad Recipe
- Recipe For Pasta Taco Salad FAQ
- More Recipes You'll Love
- JUMP TO RECIPE
This taco pasta salad features tender pasta combined with Mexican-inspired flavors, your favorite taco toppings, and a crunchy Dorito surprise. Loaded with flavor, this cold salad is perfect to bring to the next potluck or BBQ or eaten as a standalone meal.
Taco Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients
There’s something special about the mix of hearty pasta, flavorful taco seasoning, and fresh vegetables that create a mouth-watering fusion of flavors.
The tender pasta is perfectly coated in a zesty dressing, and the seasoned ground beef adds the perfect amount of spice and texture.
- 16-ounce package of rotini pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
- 1 pound of ground beef
- ¼ cup of taco seasoning packaged or homemade
- ¾ cup of water
- ½ cup of grated cheese
- 1 tomato, diced
- ½ head of iceberg lettuce, chopped (about 3 to 4 cups)
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ cup of chopped cilantro
- green parts of 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup of French dressing
- 2 cups of crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos
Taco seasoning can be whipped up easily with some basic spices (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, salt, oregano, and paprika) if you don’t have a package of seasoning. Some stores also carry larger containers of taco seasoning rather than small packets to keep on hand.
Substitutions And Additions For Pasta Taco Salad
TOPPINGS: You can switch out the toppings for whatever you love to put on your tacos. Bell peppers, black olives, or hot peppers would work well.
You could even sprinkle bacon bits on top for an even more meaty flavor. Sour cream and guacamole would also be great additions to offer on the side.
CHIPS: If you aren’t a fan of Doritos, try either plain tortilla chips or tortilla strips.
CHEESE: Cheddar would be a classic option for the cheese, or take it up a notch with shredded nacho cheese, Tex-Mex blend, or jalapeño Monterey jack for a little added spice.
BEANS: What about adding a can of black beans for an even heartier salad? Just drain and toss in.
PASTA: The rotini could be substituted with other fun pasta shapes. Bowties (farfalle), penne, or shells would all be excellent choices.
DRESSING: You could switch out the French dressing for Catalina or even Ranch for a different twist on this salad.
How To Make Taco Pasta Salad
Once the pasta and ground beef are cooked, you will combine all the ingredients in your salad bowl to create this flavorful salad.
STEP ONE: Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run cold water over the pasta. Set aside.
OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS
Rinsing your pasta under cold water will cool it down and prevent it from sticking.
STEP TWO: Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat until it is no longer pink.
STEP THREE: Add the taco seasoning and water. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and cool.
STEP FOUR: In a large salad bowl, mix together the cooled pasta, cooled taco meat, grated cheese, tomato, lettuce, avocado, cilantro, and green onions.
Use pre-shredded cheese and lettuce to save time when putting together this dish.
STEP FIVE: Pour French dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
STEP SIX: Just before serving, add the crushed Doritos and toss once more.
To crush the chips quickly and mess-free, throw them in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.
How To Serve Taco Salad With Noodles
Serve immediately. This taco pasta salad recipe is hearty enough and has all the food groups that it could be served as a meal on a hot day or as a dish to take to a potluck.
You could also make this salad ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to serve. Just leave out the lettuce and chips until you are ready to use them.
Make a meal of it with our Disney churro bites for dessert.
Storing This Recipe For Taco Pasta Salad
Here’s how to store and savor this delicious dish:
MAKE AHEAD: To make it ahead, follow the recipe as usual, allowing the salad to cool to room temperature.
Then, transfer it to an airtight container or cover the serving bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.
This not only saves you time but also allows the vibrant flavors to meld, making it even more delicious when it’s time to enjoy.
IN THE FRIDGE: The chips and lettuce will become soggy after a few hours. If you anticipate storing many of the leftovers, consider adding the chips and lettuce into individual servings only.
The salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days without the chips and lettuce mixed in.
IN THE FREEZER: We don’t recommend freezing this pasta salad as the salad ingredients will become soggy once thawed.
Why You Will Love This Pasta Taco Salad Recipe
FIESTA OF FLAVORS: This salad is a fiesta for your taste buds, combining the zesty flavors of tacos with the cool freshness of a pasta salad.
CROWD-PLEASING HIT: Its vibrant presentation and irresistible flavors make it a crowd-pleaser that will have everyone coming back for seconds.
This cheesy Dorito taco pasta salad will be a hit with family and friends. Savory seasoned beef combined with loads of taco toppings. All the best flavors and textures that make tacos a winner!
Recipe For Pasta Taco Salad FAQ
This dish is called taco salad as it contains all the delicious ingredients and seasoning that we love when enjoying tacos (cheese, tomatoes, seasoned beef), served in a salad form.
Pasta salad will last in the fridge for four to five days as long as it is sealed in an airtight container.
While this taco salad is hearty enough to eat on its own, you could serve it along with grilled chicken or even just a serving of corn on the cob for added veggies.
Taco pasta salad is best enjoyed cold, although if you prefer to heat it up, it is delicious warm as well.
More Recipes You’ll Love
Taco Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces rotini pasta (cooked, drained, and cooled)
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¼ cup taco seasoning
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup grated cheese
- 1 tomato, diced
- ½ head iceberg lettuce, chopped (about 3 to 4 cups)
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 green onions (green parts only), sliced
- 1 cup French dressing
- 2 cups Nacho Cheese Doritos, crushed
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and run cold water over the pasta. Set aside.
- Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. When no pink remains, add taco seasoning and water. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and cool.
- In a large salad bowl, mix together cooled pasta, cooled taco meat, grated cheese, tomato, lettuce, avocado, cilantro, and green onions.
- Pour the French dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Just before serving, add the crushed Doritos and toss once more.
- Serve immediately.
- Taco seasoning can be whipped up easily with some basic spices (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, salt, oregano, and paprika) if you don’t have a package of seasoning. Some stores also carry larger containers of taco seasoning rather than small packets to keep on hand.
- Rinsing your pasta under cold water will cool it down and prevent it from sticking.
- Use pre-shredded cheese and lettuce to save time when putting together this dish.
- To crush the chips quickly and mess-free, throw them in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.
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