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Taco Pasta Salad

My family loves this savory taco pasta salad. Serve taco or corn chips on the side, and you have a complete meal. —Gert Rosenau, Pewaukee, WI
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup Catalina salad dressing
  • Tortilla chips


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the taco seasoning; cool.
  • Drain pasta and rinse in cold water; stir into meat mixture. Add the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onion, green pepper and dressing; toss to coat. Serve with tortilla chips.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Sharp cheddar cheese has been aged longer than regular cheddar. As cheese ages, its flavor becomes more pronounced. Using aged cheese in a recipe can add complexity and rich flavor, even to humble favorites like mac ’n’ cheese.
  • Using lean ground beef instead of beef that’s 80% lean saves 45 calories per 4-ounce serving of beef. Lean ground beef is also 29% lower in saturated fat.
  • Check out 30 other salads ready in 30 minutes or less.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 serving: 624 calories, 30g fat (12g saturated fat), 98mg cholesterol, 1454mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 3g fiber), 33g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • Rebeccaplanckstory
      Aug 19, 2020

      No comment left

    • Peg
      Jul 25, 2020

      Very very good summer meal. Made it minus the green pepper. I had both taco sauce and Catalina dressing on hand. So I tried the salad with both and preferred the Catalina dressing. The recipe is definitely a keeper.

    • rena 55
      Jun 28, 2020

      Tasty and makes just enough for the two of us to eat. I leave out the onions for us. But otherwise, made it as written. Will put in my recipe box for future use!

    • Rhonda
      Jun 26, 2020

      Tasty, delicious summer meal! I made this for our family last night. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I did make a few changes/additions. I used Jennie O's lean taco spiced ground turkey and added black beans, corn, and sliced avocado. I mixed Marzetti's lite honey french dressing (2/3) with Ortega's hot taco sauce (1/3) as the dressing. This added just the right amount of kick to the salad. Finally, I topped it off with crunchy tortilla strips salad toppers, typically found in the produce section. We all agreed this is one of those recipes I will make again and again this summer.

    • LATOYA
      Jun 25, 2020

      Yes I was gonna say no French dressing but taco sauce.

    • shelleyd
      Jun 25, 2020

      I make this for a crowd, but coarsely chop the iceberg lettuce and use that as the base. I then serve the taco-pasta salad on top of the iceberg., just like Carole22 does. Keeps the iceberg nice and crisp. Don't forget taco sauce on the very top and a dollop of sour cream!

    • Carole22
      May 20, 2020

      This is a great salad! Everybody gave this a thumbs up. Second time I made this I was out of catalina and substituted western dressing. Still great. I also put shredded lettuce in a bowel and let everyone add what they wanted. Makes any leftovers better.

    • jab4657
      May 14, 2020

      This is just like the taco salad I grew up on except use both Catalina dressing and Old El Paso taco sauce together for the dressing. Love it!

    • MarineMom_texas
      Aug 6, 2019

      We had this delicious recipe tonight and it was an instant winner. So quick, easy, and yummy. We cleaned our plates. I made no changes to the recipe. Volunteer Field Editor

    • Cheri
      Apr 2, 2019

      No comment left