Hearty and delicious Cowboy Pasta Salad is going to be a new family favorite pasta salad this Summer. Make it for a cookout or a quick and easy dinner to enjoy on a hot night.
Easy Summer Pasta Salad
This fun twist on a taco salad is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s packed full of beef, beans, and corn that gives you Tex-Mex vibes while also doubling as a chilled salad. The dressing is my favorite part. It’s creamy and smoky. So good!
No one likes to cook when it’s still in the 80s in the evenings during the summer. When I still want a homemade meal, I turn to alternatives that are easy but still delicious. This is one that I make all the time. It’s got a lot of flavor and my kids love it, too.
What You’ll Need
Below are the ingredients and seasonings needed to make this cowboy pasta salad dressing along with the super simple dressing!
- Bowtie Pasta: Cooked according to package directions.
- Bacon: Cooked, Crumbled, and fat drained.
- Ground Beef: Browned, crumbled, and fat drained.
- Taco Seasoning
- Corn: Drain the can of whole kernel corn before mixing.
- Black Beans: Rinse and drain before adding.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Slice them in half.
- Scallions – aka green onion.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
For the Dressing:
- BBQ Sauce: Any brand and flavor you like or make our delicious homemade BBQ sauce.
- Worcestershire Sauce
How to Make Cowboy Pasta Salad
Whipping up this cowboy pasta salad is so easy! Once all of the ingredients are combined and chilled it’s ready to eat.
- Step 1. Cook pasta according to the package. It should be al dente and not mushy. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Step 2. Mix bacon, ground beef, taco seasoning, sweet corn, black beans, tomatoes, scallions, and cheese in a large bowl.
- Step 3. Add the cooked and cooled pasta.
- Step 4. In a small bowl, whisk the mayo, BBQ sauce, and Worcestershire sauce together.
- Step 5. Drizzle over the pasta salad and toss until combined.
- Step 6. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- Add-Ins. You can add jalapenos, diced red onion, red bell pepper, cilantro, cumin or avocado to make it your own.
- Meat Substitutes. Swap the ground beef for ground pork, turkey, chicken, or steak!
- Cheese Substitutions. You can use a different type of cheese too such as pepper jack, Monterey jack, or fiesta blend.
- Pasta Substitutions. Try elbow macaroni, fusilli, penne and rotini pasta instead of bowtie pasta..
- Dressing. Add hot sauce for spice or honey for some sweetness.
- Prep Ahead. You can cook the bacon and ground beef and make the dressing ahead of time to make it even easier.
- Storage. You can store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Make sure that you give it a good stir after removing it from the refrigerator.
What to Serve With Cowboy Salad
This cowboy pasta salad recipe can be enjoyed as a full meal or a side dish! Make extra and share it at a party, enjoy it as an easy dinner to have at home. It’s best chilled but you can eat it right after it’s made if you can’t wait.
A nice and refreshing drink is the perfect pairing with this pasta salad. Southern Peach Tea, Strawberry Sweet Tea, or Blueberry Lemonade. For adult beverages, you can also make Back Porch Bourbon Tea or Frozen Boozy Cherry Lemonade!
More Pasta Salad Recipes to Try
Cowboy Pasta Salad
- 1 16 oz box of bowtie pasta
- 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 pound lean ground beef, cooked and drained
- 1 ounce packet taco seasoning
- 1 15 oz can corn, drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Boil your pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the bacon, ground beef, taco seasoning, corn, black beans, tomatoes, scallions, cheese.
- Pour the pasta on top.
- In a small mixing bowl combine the dressing ingredients.
- Pour the dressing mix over the top and toss to combine.
- Chill for at least 2 hours before serving