Maybe it’s all the colorful vegetables at the farmers’ markets right now, or maybe it was all the carb-loaded tater tot hot dish this winter — but I am ready for fresh vegetables and light, chilled summer meals.
For this taco ranch pasta salad, I got my inspiration from the southwest pasta salad recipe in the Kowalski’s Markets 30th anniversary cookbook. Kowalski’s Markets is my feel-good grocery stop in the Twin Cities. They have some of the best bakery goods, deli meats and cheeses, local products, breads…I could go on, and on, and on.
Because I was making the salad for my daughter and me, I left out the garlic, cilantro, jalapeño pepper, and red onion so she wouldn’t turn her nose up and not try it. But cheddar cheese is always safe.
Next up for me is my sister’s chicken chickpea cilantro salad. I’ve been craving it for weeks.
What are your favorite summer pasta and vegetable salads?
Taco Ranch Pasta Salad
- 8 oz dried fusilli (bowtie) pasta
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup prepared ranch dressing
- 1½ tablespoons taco seasoning
- 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels (or fresh), thawed and rinsed
- 1 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup chopped red pepper
- ¼ cup chopped green pepper
- tortilla strips, optional
- Cook pasta according to package directions, using the 1 teaspoon of salt. Drain. Rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.
- Whisk taco seasoning into ranch dressing.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together pasta, black beans, corn, cheese, and peppers. Stir in dressing mix until combined well. Refrigerate overnight or at least six hours.
- Serve cold. Sprinkle with tortilla chips just before serving.
All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets