This taco pasta salad is coated in a bold smoky sauce with tender noodles, seasoned beef, and all of the classic taco flavors you love.
This great dish is as flavorful as it is hearty, and the secret ingredient will really grab people's attention!
What is it?
This is not just any ol' taco pasta salad, this recipe features a distinctively creamy and smoky sauce that really adds great flavor! This quick and easy dish should be served cold and is perfect for bringing to your next party or summer potluck. Otherwise, it can be enjoyed at home as a great side dish or main course for taco night!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Sour cream
- El Yucateco Black Label Reserve hot sauce, - This is my secret ingredient because it has a deep smoky flavor with just the right amount of kick. Most major grocers carry it, or it can be found online. If you can't find it or don't care for it, you can omit it from the recipe altogether.
- Ground beef - For fewer calories, you can substitute ground turkey.
- Taco seasoning - Storebought or homemade taco seasoning is fine.
- Rotini pasta noodles - You can substitute any other short pasta noodle.
- Mild cheddar cheese - You can substitute any shredded taco cheese.
- White onion - White onions have the best raw crunch, but you can use yellow onion instead. Red onions will also work, but their flavor is very strong.
- Roma tomatoes - Roma tomatoes are meatier with less liquid, but sliced cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes can be substituted.
- Sliced black olives
This recipe can be customized with your favorite taco toppings. Black beans, fresh cilantro, green onions, ripe avocados, or bell peppers would all be a great addition.
How to make it
Begin making this easy taco pasta salad by mixing together the mayo, sour cream, and hot sauce in a dish. Then set aside. You can add more or less hot sauce to taste, depending on your preference.
Next, brown the hamburger in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the beef is nicely browned, let it cool to room temperature at least because the pasta salad tastes best chilled.
Cook pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Once cooked, rinse them under cold water to cool them off. After the taco meat and noodles are cool, all of the ingredients for the salad can be tossed together in a large bowl.
Optional: If you want more crunch, add tortilla chips or broken Doritos to the top of the salad prior to serving, similar to my taco salad with catalina dressing.
This taco pasta salad recipe is great to make in advance for a picnic or potluck because the flavor is even better the next day and it tastes best as a cold pasta salad. Leftover taco pasta salad should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days, for best flavor.
Taco Pasta Salad
- Combine mayo, sour cream, and hot sauce in a small bowl and set aside.*
- Brown the hamburger and add taco seasoning packet according to packet instructions, then set aside to cool slightly.
- Cook the noodles according to box instructions, then rinse with cold water till cool.
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl, including the sauce, and mix to combine.
- Can be served immediately, but best if set in the fridge overnight to allow flavors to meld.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com May 9, 2017.