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5 from 19 votes

posted: 04/05/17

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Taco Pasta Salad is a family favorite! This pasta salad recipe is perfect for BBQs, potlucks and big family gatherings! It has a secret ingredient that stops everyone in their tracks!

Make a bunch of BLT Ranch Burgers, a big Zucchini Sheet Cake, a huge batch of my mom’s Bacon Spinach Salad and you have the perfect menu for a big family get together.

In a small white bowl, the Taco Pasta salad has different shades of red from the halved cherry tomatoes and red sauce.

Growing up with two older brothers, I always wanted a sister. I remember one year for Christmas I actually asked my parents for a twin sister, because I was kind of a punk as a kid.

They gave me a mirror.

I wonder where I got my punkiness from.

The ingredients for the Taco Pasta Salad in a clear white bowl: shredded cheese, cherry tomatoes, ground beef, lettuce, onions, pasta, and green peppers.

And then after growing up with two brothers, I married a man with FIVE.

But the thing about all those brothers is that it has actually meant sisters! Seven sister in laws!

Don’t tell anyone, but one of my very favorite sister in laws is the wife of the brother who is just one older than Nathan (did you follow that?). Deanna has been part of my in law family the longest, so I have known longer than almost all of my other sister in laws. She is so many awesome things, but I enjoy her most as an aunt and as a friend. She seriously loves my kids so much, it is the greatest thing to watch. And even though right now she lives on the other side of the stupid planet (remember when I made this Pina Colada Sangria for her send off?) and when I text her I’m either interrupting her breakfast or keeping her awake too late, she is one of my favorite people text with . . . I always end up cry laughing ????

In a clear bowl, the Taco Pasta Salad is topped with cilantro


So this is her recipe. She has made it for tons of family functions, and I loooooove it. I snarf it down every time she makes it. The secret ingredient to this, if you can believe it, is French dressing. I know that sounds super totally weird, but it is all the exact right flavor combos.

This makes a HUGE batch, so it is perfect for BBQs and family functions. You can make it ahead of time, but just wait to add the dressing and chips until right before you serve it otherwise the chips and the lettuce will get all soggy and weird.



If you like this Taco Pasta Salad, you will also love these other great family recipes:

In a small white bowl, the Taco Pasta Salad is mixed together, but you can see the individual ingredients of ground beef, lettuce, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, pasta, and onion.
This Taco Pasta Salad is a family favorite!  It's perfect for BBQs, potlucks and big family gatherings!
5 from 19 votes

Taco Pasta Salad

Serves: 12
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
This Taco Pasta Salad is a family favorite!  It’s perfect for BBQs, potlucks and big family gatherings!


  • 1 pound ground beef cooked and drained
  • 1 pound rotini cooked and drained and rinsed with cold water
  • 1 oz or 3 TBSPs taco seasoning
  • 1 green pepper diced small
  • 1 small yellow onion diced small
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
  • 3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cups French dressing
  • 9 3/4 oz bag Nacho Doritos crushed


  • Stir together the beef and the taco seasoning.
  • In a very large bowl, mix together the beef, noodles, green pepper, onion, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese.
  • Mix in the French dressing until everything is well coated. Then stir in the chips. Enjoy right away.
Serving: 1serving Calories: 320kcal (16%) Carbohydrates: 28.7g (10%) Protein: 12.5g (25%) Fat: 17.6g (27%) Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.9g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6g Cholesterol: 27.7mg (9%) Sodium: 345.8mg (15%) Potassium: 197.6mg (6%) Fiber: 1.6g (7%) Sugar: 5.2g (6%) Vitamin A: 348IU (7%) Vitamin C: 10.2mg (12%) Calcium: 75.4mg (8%) Iron: 1.8mg (10%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
This Taco Pasta Salad is a family favorite!  It's perfect for BBQs, potlucks and big family gatherings!

did you make this

Taco Pasta Salad

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

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In a small white bowl, the Taco Pasta salad has different shades of red from the halved cherry tomatoes and red sauce.

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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  1. Teri says

    I found this recipe on face book and made it for dinner one night. I wasn’t sure if this recipe was a meal or a salad but it was a meal and then some being it makes a lot. This was a big hit the first time I made it and very simple. I wasn’t sure about the french dressing but was brought up to never stick your nose up until you try it. This is one of the best and have made it many times since. The only thing I do different is add the Doritos as you eat the salad because they do get soggy, but a great recipe.

  2. Joyce Oliver says

    I made this tonight for my grandkids and husband for Taco Tuesday. I used ground turkey instead of beef. I added the onions in as i Cooked the meat too. I have never had French dressing before as i am not a fan of salad. Everyone loved it including me. I will definitely make this for my next party gathering. Very good recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Alyssa Toney says

    I adapted this to be Gluten Free (GF noodles, taco seasoning, dressing) and made it for a work carry-in yesterday. It was a HUGE hit! So delicious :)

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you guys liked it!

  4. Millie Maneely says

    Had this about 30 years ago for the first time. FF to 2017 , know ones believed me about the pasta in a taco salad!!! It was so yummy. They used thousand island dressing.. going to make this soon for my family????

  5. Martha says

    5 stars
    Could I substitute green chilies for the green peppers? Thanks!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I think that would be a delicious twist!

  6. Gary Beardsley says

    5 stars
    Lisa, I Love the recipe… I have always made something similar but without the pasta. I do like your recipe for a good change. Just to add some different flavor I do like to mix Catalina Dressing and some mild salsa together (mix evenly together) for the dressing. This is NOT trying to say anything negative about yours, I DO think yours is just Fine as you had wrote.

  7. Chuck says

    I find it kind of funny that a taco salad uses French dressing. I’m not making a comment on the quality or taste of the salad, just the irony of the ingredients.

  8. Helen Taylor says

    5 stars
    Very good , can you freeze this?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I wouldn’t recommend it :/

  9. Chrystal Miller says

    Making this for fourth of july celebration, I am mixing french and catalina dressing and adding olives to recipe. Leaving lettace and dorito chips for the moment before we start serving food. My mouth has been watering since seeing this I cannot wait.

  10. Rebecca says

    5 stars
    Made this for a bbq and everyone loved it! It was very yummy! Thank you!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners