Backyard cookout meets Taco Tuesday! At last! Taco Pasta Salad is the traditional chilled, tender pasta treat with a zesty twist or two: savory and spicy taco meat for protein, vibrant salsa and creamy ranch as a dressing, and bits of cheesy tortilla chips for a Tex-Mex crunch! This a great way to get that taste of summertime even when the weather turns chilly, especially when you bite into the bright vegetables mixed in! Taco Pasta Salad just makes sense, whatever the occasion!

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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces tri-color rotini noodles
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 ounce taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup red onions, diced
  • 1 cup green peppers, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 2/3 cup chunky salsa
  • 2/3 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 (9.25-ounce) bag cheesy tortilla chips, crumbled

Directions

Step 1 –Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water to prevent it from continuing to cook.

Step 2 –While the pasta is cooking, in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, while crumbling, until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Drain the excess grease.

Step 3 –Add the taco seasoning and the water to the cooked beef and stir well.

Step 4 –Cook the beef mixture until no liquid remains in the pan.

Step 5 –Transfer the meat mixture away from the heat and allow it to cool.

Step 6 –Transfer the cooled pasta to a large bowl.

Step 7 –Add the lettuce, the red onions, the green peppers, the tomatoes, and the cheese to the pasta and toss well.

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Step 8 –Add the salsa and the ranch dressing to the pasta mixture and toss well.

Step 9 –Add the cooked beef to the pasta mixture and toss well.

Step 10 –Add the crumbled chips to the pasta mixture right before serving and toss well.

Step 11 –Serve.