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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

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • 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!