Today, we have the best of two worlds. In a turn of sweet culinary fate, the fusion of Italian and Mexican creates an irresistible dish: taco pasta salad. Mexican food with all of its exciting flavors, and Italian food with its legendary comfort, bring the best of each cuisine to this dish. The flavors are zippy and fresh, coating each nook and cranny of the al dente pasta that brings this dish together.
Adios, regular pasta salad. Ciao, taco pasta salad, you are here to stay.
This fusion recipe couldn’t be easier to make. Most of the dish is assembled in one pot, the exceptions being the crispy tortilla strips. This Taco Pasta Salad is filing and delicious on its own, but you could add in seared tempeh, tofu, shredded chicken or ground beef for some extra protein.
It is also a dish that tastes even better the next day, making it great for leftovers. As the salad sits overnight in the fridge, the flavors soak into the pasta and intensify making it even more delicious on round two.
This salad is big on flavor, and maybe even bigger on nutrients.
Tomatoes are totted for their outstanding source of lycopene, which can increase bone strength, heart health, and cognitive ability. Lycopene is more easily used by the body when the tomatoes are cooked before eating. That is where the salsa comes in. Purchase a jarred variety to ensure that this powerful antioxidant has been properly heated for maximum absorption.
Olives are a delicacy that can turn around high cholesterol levels. The fat content in olives, has actually shown to reduce both cholesterol and blood pressure. They are also full of antioxidants and minerals which can reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Dish up a bowl of this pasta salad and eat to better health.
Ingredients for taco pasta salad:
For the crunchy tortilla strips:
- 4 corn tortillas, sliced into strips
- Coconut oil cooking spray
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
For the pasta salad:
- 12 oz. fusilli pasta, gluten free if needed
- 2 cups salsa
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1 cup corn
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup cilantro
Directions to make the taco pasta salad:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the tortilla chips out on a baking tray in a single layer. Spray them with cooking spray to lightly coat and sprinkle over the seasonings.
- Place the tortilla strips in the oven and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 20-25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the pasta, and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and give it a rinse with cold water.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add in the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Serve the pasta in bowls and top with tortilla strips.