This easy Taco Pasta Salad combines pasta, taco-seasoned meat, iceberg lettuce, black beans, and veggies. A homemade creamy chili-lime dressing is the perfect complement to this salad.
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword Chicken Taco Pasta Salad
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 20minutes
Total Time 40minutes
Servings 8-10 as a side (4-6 as a meal)
Author Chelsea Lords
1/3cup (65g)full-fat mayonnaise
1/3cup (75g)sour cream(can use lite or fat-free)
3tablespoons (40g)freshly squeezed lime juice + 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1/4teaspoon EACH:ground cumin and garlic powder
1/2teaspoon EACHground chili powder, paprika
1teaspoonhot sauce or sriracha sauce
1/4teach each:fine sea salt and pepper
3cups (170g)farfalle/bowtie pasta
1pound (16 oz.)lean ground beef
1package (1 oz.; 28g)taco seasoning mix
3cups (150g)iceberg lettuce
1smallred bell pepper,(~3/4 cup; 90g) chopped into small pieces
2cups (305g)cherry tomatoes,halved or quartered
1/3cup (20g)thinly sliced green onions(~3 onions)
1/3cup (15g)finely chopped cilantro
1can (15 oz.)black beans,drained and rinsed
1cup (145g)frozen or fresh corn,thawed or cut off the cob (See Note 1)
DRESSING: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
PASTA: Prepare the pasta according to package directions (don't cook all the pasta; only use 3 cups!). Make sure to generously salt the water (I add 1 teaspoon to every 4 cups of water). Don't forget to salt the pasta water or the whole salad will taste under-seasoned. Drain pasta, rinse under cold water, let cool and allow to dry.
GROUND BEEF: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add in the beef and cook, crumbling as you go, until browned and cooked through. Drain off any fat as needed. Add in the taco seasoning and stir until coated. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
SALAD ASSEMBLY: Stir together the cooled pasta and cooled beef mixture, lettuce, chopped peppers, quartered cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced green onions, finely chopped cilantro, drained and rinsed black beans, and corn (See Note 1). Gently toss to combine.
DRESSING: Give the dressing another quick stir and then pour over the salad. Gently toss to combine. Taste and adjust any seasonings to personal preference, adding more salt and/or pepper as needed. Enjoy immediately!
STORAGE: Salad is best enjoyed soon after being dressed; it does not sit well with the dressing.
Note 1: Corn: If using frozen corn, I recommend letting it thaw and then cooking in a dry skillet to slightly char it. For fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and add straightaway to the salad, or it can be grilled first. To see grilling directions, follow the directions in this Elote recipe.