Taco Pasta Salad

Active time: 20 min. Total time: 20 min.
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 cup)

Taco night, meet pasta. Adding chorizo and taco seasoning give our Taco Pasta Salad an unmistakable taco feel and taste. The chorizo and taco seasoning give the pasta an unmistakable taco feel and taste. Riffing off of a classic cilantro garnish, the cilantro vinaigrette adds color and a ton of flavor to the pasta. The bell pepper, corn, onion, and tomato complement all of the other flavors present in the dish, and sprinkling some queso fresco on top adds a burst of salt and some textural contrast. This dish makes a great side at a weeknight dinner or a foolproof potluck contribution. If you can’t find uncased ground chorizo, you can use chorizo in links and just take it out of the casing. Be sure to drain the chorizo so the pasta won’t get too greasy.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo  
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix  
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems (from 1 large bunch), plus more leaves for garnish  
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil  
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes) 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 pint multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved  
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed  
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (from 1 medium bell pepper) 
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (from 1 medium onion) 
  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta, prepared according to pkg. directions  
  • 5 ounces queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese), crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups) 

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a large skillet over medium. Add chorizo; cook, stirring to crumble chorizo into small pieces, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add taco seasoning mix; cook, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Transfer chorizo to a plate lined with paper towels.  

Step 2

Process cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, and salt in a mini food processor until well blended, about 30 seconds. Set cilantro vinaigrette aside.  

Step 3

Stir together cherry tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, red onion, cooked pasta, cheese, and cooked chorizo. Toss with cilantro vinaigrette. Garnish with cilantro leaves. 

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