This flavorful Taco Pasta Salad is simple to make and so delicious! It has all the best parts of a taco but served as a pasta salad instead and topped with Doritos!
A CRAVE-WORTHY PASTA SALAD
Ditch the normal pasta salads for a party and whip up this easy Taco Pasta Salad instead. Trust me, everyone will want the recipe! This tasty pasta salad is cheesy, crunchy and so simple to make. It’s topped with crunchy Nacho Doritos that really pull this dish together. With the perfect balance of cheese, meat, veggies, pasta, and more, this is truly soooo flavorful that you’ll definitely want seconds!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Personally, I absolutely love the crunch from the Doritos and the extra pop of flavor that they add to the pasta salad. But if you don’t want Doritos in your pasta salad then you can certainly leave them out!
You can use any other crunchy, cheesy chip to top this pasta salad. Additionally, you could just use plain tortilla chips on top. The dish won’t be as flavorful but it will still be good.
Want to make this even more of a filling dish? Try adding some black beans, corn or bell peppers.
Certainly! We used rotini because the dressing sticks nicely to that shape of pasta but you can use any other small pasta.
For this recipe, since I tend to serve it to a crowd, I try to keep it mild so anybody and everybody can enjoy it. So, I used mild taco seasoning, but if you have a group who likes more heat, feel free to use any kind of taco seasoning that you prefer. You can also use homemade seasoning instead of a packet if desired.
You bet! In fact, this is usually a good thing since the flavors already need a few hours to meld and chill in the fridge together. Just wait to add the chips on top until you serve so they don’t get soggy.
You rinse the pasta so it stops the cooking process. You don’t want the pasta to continue to cook while it’s warm so using cold water to rinse it helps stop the cooking process. It also helps to keep the pasta from soaking up too much of the dressing.
Leftover pasta salad should be stored in the refrigerator and can be kept for 5 days. I don’t recommend storing it with the chips on it since they’ll get soggy. So wait to add the chips until you’re serving.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)
- dried rotini pasta
- ground beef
- taco seasoning
- cherry tomatoes
- green onions
- shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Catalina dressing
- crushed nacho cheese Doritos
- fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
HOW TO MAKE TACO PASTA SALAD
Cook the rotini pasta per the directions on the back of the package. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Let drain well and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, breaking it up into crumbles until there is no pink left, 8-10 minutes.
Add the taco seasoning to the beef and stir it in until combined. Take off the heat.
Add the pasta, ground beef mixture, cherry tomatoes, scallions, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and Catalina dressing into a very large bowl. Stir until combined and everything is coated in the dressing.
Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to chill.
Right before serving, mix in the crushed Doritos and cilantro.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Taco Pasta Salad
- 3 cups dried rotini pasta
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 ounce packet taco seasoning
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup Catalina dressing
- 2 cups crushed nacho cheese Doritos
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
- Cook the rotini pasta per the directions on the back of the package. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Let drain well and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, breaking it up into crumbles until there is no pink left, 8-10 minutes.
- Add the taco seasoning to the beef and stir it in until combined. Take off the heat.
- Add the pasta, ground beef mixture, cherry tomatoes, scallions, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and Catalina dressing into a very large bowl. Stir until combined and everything is coated in the dressing.
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to chill.
- Right before serving, mix in the crushed Doritos and cilantro, and serve immediately.
- Don’t skip rinsing the pasta, it’s an important step.
- If you are not planning on eating this all right away, I suggest adding the Doritos just to the serving you are going to consume. Once it sits too long, they will become soggy.
- More yummy veggies you can add, corn, black beans and/or bell pepper.
- Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days. I do not suggest freezing.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.