Beef Taco Pasta Salad

A pasta salad with taco-seasoned ground beef, black beans, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, crushed tortilla chips and dressing.


  • ½-pound whole grain pasta shells
  • 1-pound lean ground beef (ground sirloin or round)
  • 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons taco seasoning (see recipe below), divided
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup prepared Catalina dressing
  • Zest and juice of 3 medium limes (about ⅓ cup)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, stemmed and diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 8-ounce can sliced black olives (optional)
  • 2 medium green onions, ends trimmed, sliced (about ½ cup), divided
  • 3 ounces tortilla chips, lightly crushed (about 2 cups)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a sealed bowl and place in the refrigerator until completely cooled.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium. Add the ground beef and cook 5-7 minutes or until browned and fully cooked, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain any excess fat, then place the ground beef back in the skillet on medium heat. Add the black beans and 3 tablespoons of the taco seasoning and ¼ cup water and let simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and let slightly cool. Transfer to a sealed bowl and place in the refrigerator until completely cooled.
  3. In a large glass mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, Catalina dressing, lime zest and juice and the remaining taco seasoning, until combined.
  4. Place the cooked and cooled pasta and cooled taco meat in the mixing bowl with the dressing. Stir in the tomatoes, lettuce, bell pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, black olives (if using) and half of the green onion, until combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Stir in the crushed tortilla chips.
  5. Transfer the pasta salad to a large serving bowl. Top with the remaining sliced green onion.


Homemade taco seasoning recipe: Place 2 tablespoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper into a small bowl and whisk to combine. I add 1 teaspoon coarse salt, but you can add as much or as little as you’d like. You can also add a pinch (or more) of crushed red pepper flakes to make it spicy. Store in a sealed container in the pantry up to 3 months.