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This Taco Pasta Salad is loaded with meaty and cheesy goodness. Tender pasta is 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 INGREDIENTS
You will need:
- 16-ounce package of rotini pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¼ cup taco seasoning packaged or homemade
- 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 chopped cilantro
- green parts of 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup French dressing
- 2 cups crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos
Pro Tip: 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 the small packets to keep on hand.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
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 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 a shredded nacho cheese or Tex-Mex blend or jalapeno 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 THIS TACO PASTA SALAD RECIPE
STEP ONE: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and run cold water over the pasta. Set aside.
PRO TIP: 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 taco seasoning and water. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and cool.
STEP FOUR: In a large salad bowl mix together cooled pasta, cooled taco meat, grated cheese, tomato, lettuce, avocado, cilantro, and green onions.
PRO TIP: Use pre-shredded cheese and lettuce to save time when putting together this dish.
STEP FIVE: Pour French dressing over salad and toss to combine.
STEP SIX: Just before serving, add crushed Doritos and toss once more.
PRO TIP: To crush the chips quickly and mess-free, throw in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush.
HOW TO SERVE
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.
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 4 days without the chips and lettuce mixed in.
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!
MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
Taco Pasta Salad
- 16 oz rotini pasta cooked, drained, and cooled
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup taco seasoning
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- 1 tomato diced
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce chopped (about 3 to 4 cups)
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 green onions (green parts only) sliced
- 1 cup French dressing
- 2 cup Nacho cheese Doritos crushed
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and run cold water over the pasta. Set aside.
- Brown 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 French dressing over salad and toss to combine.
- Just before serving, add crushed Doritos and toss once more.
- Serve immediately.