You’re going to love this taco pasta salad recipe! It’s a cold pasta salad made with nutritious taco-inspired ingredients (corn, black beans, cilantro, avocado – yum)! Toss everything in a creamy homemade taco salad dressing. This crowd-pleaser vegetarian recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less. Perfect for summer cookouts!

bowl of taco pasta salad with a silver fork on a light grey backdrop surrounded by ingredients like avocado, bowl of cheese, and cilantro leaves

Cold pasta salads are always in mealtime rotation at our house during the spring and summer months. As a Registered Dietitian, I love mixing in tons of nutritious ingredients like vegetables, beans, fresh herbs, and homemade salad dressings.

This taco pasta salad without meat highlights some favorite taco ingredients, including avocado, corn, black beans, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and a creamy Greek yogurt-based homemade taco salad dressing.

Just like my viral Greek tortellini pasta salad, roasted vegetable pasta salad, tri-color pasta salad, and caprese orzo pasta salad, this recipe is simple to make and ready to enjoy in less than 30 minutes. It’s a perfect addition to any BBQ or cookout spread! It will serve 8 people as a side dish.

taco pasta salad ingredients measured out on a light grey backdrop

Ingredients in taco pasta salad

Everything you need to make this recipe, below:

  • Rotini pasta: Rotini is a spiral shaped pasta that is one of the best pasta shapes for pasta salad. It holds on to dressing very well! To make gluten free pasta salad, you can use legume-based pasta or your favorite gluten free pasta.
  • Black beans: Canned black beans are perfect for this recipe.
  • Corn: You can use canned or frozen corn for convenience! Feel free to substitute fresh corn when available and in season.
  • Shredded cheese: I used a Mexican cheese blend, which includes cheddar, monterey jack, queso blanco, and asadero cheeses. You could also use grated cotija cheese in this recipe!
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes: When shopping for cherry or grape tomatoes, look for firm and shiny tomatoes without wrinkles or bruises.
  • Avocado: You’ll want to use avocados that are just starting to ripen in this recipe, so they are a little on the firmer side and not mushy. This ensures the chunks of avocado hold their shape when tossed up in the salad.
  • Cilantro: Keep cilantro fresh for weeks by storing it like a bouquet of flowers! Place the stems in a jar of water and store in the fridge.
  • Scallions: You can store scallions the same way as cilantro to keep them fresh for longer. Store the white roots in a jar of water in the fridge.
  • Homemade taco pasta salad dressing
    • Plain Greek yogurt: The creamy base of this dressing is plain Greek yogurt, which adds lots of nutrients including calcium and high quality protein. Use store bought or try making homemade Greek yogurt with my shortcut DIY recipe!
    • Salsa: Use your favorite jarred salsa in mild, medium, or spicy depending on how much heat you like.
    • Lime juice
    • Salt
    • Chili powder: Use store bought, or give homemade chili powder a go!
    • Garlic powder

Kitchen tools needed

You’ll need a large pot for cooking the pasta, a good chef’s knife, cutting board, measuring cups, and a small blender to blend the dressing together. I used a NutriBullet blender and it worked well.

How to make taco pasta salad

cooked rotini pasta in a metal colander
1. Cook rotini pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain in a colander and run under cold water until cool.
taco pasta salad ingredients in small bowls on a light grey backdrop
2. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, finely chop cilantro, thinly slice scallions, and dice avocado.
taco salad dressing ingredients in a nutribullet blender cup
3. Prepare the dressing: add Greek yogurt, salsa, lime juice, spices, and salt to a blender.
taco salad dressing in a nutribullet cup
4. Blend the dressing until smooth and creamy with no lumps.
taco pasta salad in a bowl with dressing drizzled over before being mixed up
5. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over everything.
Large bowl of taco pasta salad mixed together with wooden salad spoons
6. Use salad spoons to mix the pasta salad together so everything is well combined.

Storage

Since this is a cold pasta salad, it will keep well in the fridge! Store it in an airtight container or tupperware and enjoy within three days.

The avocado may brown if you don’t eat this pasta salad right away. It’s still totally fine to eat, but if presentation is important, I recommend making this recipe right before you intend to serve it.

Serving suggestions

This taco pasta salad has a little bit of everything – protein from black beans, veggies, healthy fats from avocado, and carbs from pasta and corn. It’s an excellent option for a healthy cookout side dish!

It’s a perfect side dish for a summertime spread – some of my favorites are salmon burgers, fresh tuna burgers, and grilled tofu!

bowl of taco pasta salad on a light grey backdrop surrounded by ingredients like avocado, bowl of cheese, and cilantro leaves

Avocado nutrition benefits

Avocados are nutrition powerhouses.

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats are good for us because they help prevent heart disease.

Avocados have lots of dietary fiber – one whole avocado packs 10 grams of fiber, (36% of your daily needs)! Diets high in fiber have many health benefits, including digestive health, gut health, weight management, and blood sugar management.

Avocados also provide many micronutrients. One whole avocado provides:

  • 121.5 mcg folate (30% of your daily needs)
  • 0.386 mcg Vitamin B6 (23% of your daily needs)
  • 3.1 mg Vitamin E (21% of your daily needs)
  • 31.5 mcg Vitamin K (26% of your daily needs)
  • 727.5 mg potassium (15% of your daily needs)
  • 0.28 mg copper (31% of your daily needs)

Black beans nutrition benefits

Beans and legumes are extremely nutritious! They’re an excellent source of fiber and plant-based protein, among other nutrients. One cup of black beans provides:

  • 18 grams of dietary fiber (64% of your daily needs)
  • 16 grams of plant-based protein
  • 153 mcg folate (38% of your daily needs)
  • 0.508 mg copper (56% of your daily needs)
  • 815.4 mg potassium (17% of your daily needs)
  • 1.42 mg zinc (13% of your daily needs)

Black beans are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiberSoluble fiber is especially important in our diets, because binds to dietary cholesterol, which can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels!

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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bowl of taco pasta salad with a silver fork on a light grey backdrop surrounded by ingredients like avocado, bowl of cheese, and cilantro leaves

Vegetarian Cold Taco Pasta Salad

  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican-American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

You’re going to love this taco pasta salad recipe! It’s a cold pasta salad made with nutritious taco-inspired ingredients (corn, black beans, cilantro, avocado – yum)! Toss everything in a creamy homemade taco salad dressing. This crowd-pleaser vegetarian recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less. Perfect for summer cookouts!


Ingredients

Scale

Taco pasta salad

  • 1 lb rotini pasta
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1 15 oz can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Taco salad dressing

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (preferably full fat)
  • 1/2 cup jarred salsa
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


Instructions

  1. In a large pot of salted water, cook rotini pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
  2. Strain pasta in a colander and run under cold water for 30 seconds to a minute, or until the pasta is cooled. Set aside.
    cooked rotini pasta in a metal colander
  3. Prepare the taco salad dressing: combine Greek yogurt, salsa, lime juice, salt, chili powder, and garlic powder in a small blender, such as a NutriBullet.
    taco salad dressing ingredients in a nutribullet blender cup
  4. Blend for 30 seconds to a minute until the dressing is creamy with no lumps. You may need to stop and scrape down the ingredients with a rubber spatula once or twice.
    taco salad dressing in a nutribullet cup
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, corn, and black beans.
    Large bowl of taco pasta salad before being mixed up
  6. Pour the taco salad dressing over the salad and toss it together with mixing spoons until well combined.
    Large bowl of taco pasta salad mixed together with wooden salad spoons
  7. Serve cold!

Notes

Storage

Since this is a cold pasta salad, it will keep well in the fridge! Store it in an airtight container or tupperware and enjoy within three days.

The avocado may brown if you don’t eat this pasta salad right away. It’s still totally fine to eat, but if presentation is important, I recommend making this recipe right before you intend to serve it.

Serving suggestions

This taco pasta salad has a little bit of everything – protein from black beans, veggies, healthy fats from avocado, and carbs from pasta and corn. It’s an excellent option for a healthy cookout side dish!

It’s a perfect side dish for a summertime spread – some of my favorites are salmon burgers, fresh tuna burgers, and grilled tofu!

Keywords: taco pasta salad, taco pasta salad without meat, taco salad dressing, taco pasta salad recipe, cold taco pasta salad, cold pasta salad