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Taco Pasta Salad

5 from 34 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 34 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


    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Betty says

    Catalina and salsa mixture works better for dressing… add red beans also

  2. Riley says

    5 stars
    Would a whole batch be too big for a house of four adults?
    How big of a box of noodles makes a pound???

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Riley, you are looking for a box of uncooked noodles that says 16 ounces or 1 pound on it.

  3. Shannon says

    Can you use Italian or zesty Italian salad dressing?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t tried that, but if you do, let me know how it goes!

  4. Kim says

    5 stars
    Made this taco salad with tri color rotini, 1 pound ground turkey instead of beef and used thousand island dressing everything else was exactly as the recipe calls Didnt use the chips was a perfect dinner with a side of green chili refried beans…

    • Lisa Longley says

      So glad you guys liked it!

  5. Michelle K Drozdibob says

    5 stars
    I’ve been making this version for quite a few years. I always use the Catalina French dressing, so much more zip. Can be a harder one to find, but there are good recipes on line to make it from scratch. I also have subbed smaller pasta shells in for the rotini and that is just as good. I also will coarse chop some crispy iceberg and put a base of that on a serving platter, with the pasta salad on top. Don’t forget a dab of sour cream!

  6. Sarah P says

    Took about three bites and hated it. The noodles absolutely ruin the recipe. I’ve made taco salad before using a different recipe without the noodles, French, peppers or onions (using corn, black beans, sour cream/lime/sugar/taco sauce as the “dressing” and it turns out 1000x better). Will likely be throwing this out unless I can fish out the noodles to see if the recipe is salvageable.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m really sorry that the noodles ruined this pasta salad.

  7. Brenda says

    I wonder how it would taste using Western Dressing?

  8. Brittany says

    Do you like the noodles cook ?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m sorry, Brittany, I’m not sure what you’re asking.

  9. Allison says

    To the person who wrote a negative review about how the “noodles ruined the pasta”, it costs nothing to be polite and courteous to others. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Keep up the great work Lisa!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you enjoy this pasta salad!

  10. Lisa P. says

    Made this exactly as written for my son & dil for lunch. We all loved it! It isn’t too time-consuming, but looks like you put time in to it. Thx for sharing ❤

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked this!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners