Our Taco Pasta Salad is packed with seasoned beef, crunchy Doritos, and loads of crisp veggies! It’s all tossed in a creamy dressing. Perfect for potlucks – this recipe feeds a crowd!
Ah, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us…Pasta Salad Season (AKA summer).
I love warm summer nights on the back porch, my husband grilling dinner, a cold pasta salad ready to serve on the side. The perfect summer meal!
While it’s no surprise that I love pasta salad (hello, BLT pasta salad and Tortellini Pasta Salad!!), it’s also pretty obvious that Mexican flavors (like Taco Spaghetti and Chicken Chimichangas) are major favorites around here.
We love this dish, because it FEEDS A CROWD. We often make this for potlucks and cookouts when we have a lot of people and it always gets gobbled up.
And that dressing? It’s made with Catalina and sour cream – it’s sweet, tangy, and creamy. May seem out of place for taco flavors, but have a little faith in me. It works so well!
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Pasta – We prefer rotini to hold onto the dressing, but any small shape will do.
Meat- We’re using ground beef and taco seasoning. You can also try the meat from our turkey tacos or our keto taco seasoning, if you like.
Veggies – You’ll need cherry tomatoes, shredded lettuce, diced onion, cilantro, canned corn, and canned black beans.
Cheese – I’m using a Fiesta cheese blend from the store. Any shredded cheese will work for this if you have a preference!
Dressing – You’ll mix together some Catalina dressing with sour cream to make a creamy, sweet, tangy dressing.
Nacho Cheese Doritos – Some of the veggies will add a crunch but we like to add even more by crushing up a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and then pouring it over the taco pasta salad and mixing it in!
What We Love About This Recipe:
- Taco and pasta? It’s the perfect combination.
- There are lots of fresh flavors in this salad, but it’s still simple to prep.
- The crushed Doritos get people excited to try this taco pasta salad!
- Perfect for feeding a crowd, but you can also halve the recipe for a smaller portion.
How to Make Taco Pasta Salad:
Beef: Brown the beef and season with taco seasoning.
Ingredients: Toss the cooked pasta, beef, and other salad ingredients in the mixing bowl. Save the Doritos and lettuce for just before serving.
Combine: Stir it all up to get everything combined.
Dressing: Whisk together a bottle of Catalina dressing and some sour cream.
Dress the Salad: Pour the dressing over the salad and give it a good stir.
Serve: Just before serving, stir crushed Doritos and shredded lettuce into the salad.
This Taco Pasta Salad is perfect for making ahead! Prepare the salad as directed, but don’t add the Doritos or lettuce. Pop it into the fridge for as long as needed. When ready to serve, stir the crushed Doritos and shredded lettuce into the salad. The crisp lettuce and crunchy Doritos add the perfect texture!
This taco pasta salad should last for about 3 to 4 days but you should definitely hold off on adding the crushed chips and shredded lettuce until you are ready to serve or they will get soggy!
This dish is surprisingly versatile! While we do serve our taco pasta salad cold, it is tasty warmed up in the microwave just before serving too. Just be sure not to heat the chips or lettuce.
Feed a Crowd!
This recipe makes a HUGE bowl of Taco Pasta Salad! It’s perfect for potlucks, cookouts, and other events where you’ll have a lot of guests. Leftovers still taste great, but the Doritos will get a bit soggy as they sit in the salad – if you aren’t feeding a crowd, we recommend halving the recipe.
MORE PASTA SALAD RECIPES!
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
- Amish Macaroni Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
MORE TACO RECIPES!
Taco Pasta Salad
- 1 pound rotini
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 15 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces canned corn drained
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded Fiesta blend cheese
- 16 ounces Catalina dressing
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 9 ounces Nacho Cheese Doritos crushed
- 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the rotini. Cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- While the pasta is cooking, brown the beef over medium heat, crumbling it as it cooks. Drain the grease and add the taco seasoning, along with ¼ cup of water, to the beef. Stir to coat the beef and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the cooked pasta, seasoned beef, beans, corn, onion, tomatoes, and cheese to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add the Catalina dressing and sour cream to a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and stir to coat.
- If serving right away, add the Doritos and lettuce and stir to combine. Garnish with cilantro.
- If you’re making in advance and will be serving later, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir in the Doritos, lettuce, and cilantro just before serving for the best texture.
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