Taco Pasta Salad with Doritos puts a zesty twist on regular pasta salad! Made with Mexican spices, ground beef, and fresh veggies, it’s tossed in creamy chipotle dressing and topped with cheesy tortilla chips!
Taco Pasta Salad
It’s barbecue season, and this Taco Pasta Salad Recipe is a must for sharing with friends and family.
Made with Mexican spices and everyone’s favorite cheddar tortilla chips, this recipe gives classic pasta salad a zesty twist!
Pasta salad is definitely a cookout staple, and this tasty version is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!
What’s In Taco Pasta Salad?
It blends tender spiral pasta with ground beef, taco seasoning, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, peppers, onions, black beans, lime juice, and cilantro, which add loads of south-of-the-border flavor.
Everything is tossed in creamy chipotle dressing (or French Dressing or Thousand Island Dressing if you prefer).
The finishing touch is cheesy Doritos tortilla chips for one final tasty kick.
You could also make this recipe with ground turkey instead of traditional ground beef.
How To Make Taco Pasta Salad:
I love pasta salads because they are so simple to make and it usually makes a TON which is great for potlucks and BBQs!
Begin by cooking the pasta according to package directions until al dente, drain and add to a large bowl.
Then, brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Drain any excess oil and add the ground beef to the pasta.
Stir in the taco seasonings and mix with the beef and pasta until evenly coated.
Next, add in the cheese, pepper, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, black beans, lime juice, and jalapeno pepper (if using) and toss to combine.
Then, add in the dressing and toss to coat the salad evenly. I recommend making the pasta salad at least 2 hours before you want to serve it and chilling it the fridge so the flavor can build.
Finally, add the shredded lettuce and crushed Doritos as close to serving as possible so they don’t get soggy.
Yep, this Taco Pasta Salad is a favorite for kids and adults.
Youngsters love the addicting taste of these chips, and we grown-ups do too, plus they offer a bit of nostalgia.
I usually serve a bowl of Doritos or Fritosalongside Taco Pasta Salad so guests can grab an extra handful.
I’ve definitely been known to scoop up the dressed noodles with a chip — no fork needed!
In fact, this stuff is so hearty, it can be a meal in itself, much like my Taco Salad.
All that’s missing is an ice-cold margarita to wash it all down, amirite?
Of course, this dish tastes amazing alongside hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken, too.
One note: if you’re making this recipe in advance or plan on having leftovers, keep the chips and lettuce separate until just before serving. That way, the chips won’t get soggy (plus people sometimes like adding their own).
When it comes to summer gatherings, you really can’t go wrong with pasta salad.
However, if you want to switch up your side dish game, this Taco Pasta Salad Recipe definitely fits the bill!
Summer is nearly here. Bring this delicious dish to your next barbecue and watch it disappear!
More Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes:
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Antipasti Pasta Salad
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Tuna Pasta Salad
Taco Pasta Salad
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Taco Pasta Salad
- 1 lb spiral pasta like cavatappi or rotini
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 8 ounces Habanero Cheddar cheese or other cheddar cheese cubed
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro minced
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 jalapeno pepper minced and optional
- 16 ounces Southwest Chipotle Dressing see notes
- 4 cups Spicy or Nacho Doritos lightly crushed
- 3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente, drain and add to a large bowl.
- Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through, drain excess oil. Add the ground beef to the pasta. I recommend prepping your cheese and veggies while your pasta and beef cook.
- Stir in the taco seasonings and mix with the beef and pasta until evenly coated.
- Add in the cheese, pepper, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, black beans, lime juice, and jalapeno pepper (if using) and toss to combine.
- Add in the dressing and toss to coat the salad evenly. I recommend making the pasta salad at least 2 hours before you want to serve it and chilling it the fridge so the flavor can build.
- Add the shredded lettuce and crushed Doritos as close to serving as possible so they don't get soggy.
- I used Hidden Valley brand Southwest Chipotle dressing if you can't find it or another brand, you can also use Creamy French or Thousand Island as well.
- Pasta Salad will keep for about 5 days in the fridge, just notes that lettuce and Doritos will get soggy after a couple of hours. You can serve them on the side for freshness if desired.
- Ground turkey could also be used instead of beef.