Cowboy Pasta Salad

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Craving a cool meal on a hot day that’s sure to fill you up? Cowboy Pasta Salad of course! Filled with ground beef, cheese cubes, bacon, beans, corn, and delicious homemade dressing, you won’t leave hungry.

Pasta salad is one of those dishes that we often rely on. Recipes like Cilantro Ranch Pasta Salad, Spicy Thai Pasta Salad, and (of course) Classic Pasta Salad are always our top picks! While we love these recipes, we’ve been experimenting with heartier options. Introducing: Cowboy Pasta Salad. It’s full of meats, cheeses, beans, and vegetables. Boy, are you full? No complaints about being hungry when it was served. Half of its goodness comes from the delicious homemade dressing. This is our secret ingredient! Remember, a pasta salad is only as good as the dressing you put on it. Our homemade cowboy sauce is made with Cape Verde salsa, lime juice, and plenty of smoky spices and seasonings. Salsa lets you really play with the heat—so if you like it spicy, be sure to use a spicy salsa. this is your choice!


Not all pasta is created equal, especially pasta salads. Follow these tips for best results:

  • You can use any pasta you like, but we recommend staying away from pasta-like noodles. Our favorites include fusilli, rotini or elbow macaroni.
  • You should also make sure the pasta is cooked al dente so it doesn’t get soggy.
  • Just be sure to rinse the pasta in cold water to cool — and stop the cooking process.

Ground Meat Options:

We use ground beef in our cowboy pasta recipe, but feel free to substitute ground turkey or chicken for it.

Spice Grade:

One of the great things about this cowboy pasta dish is that you can really adjust the spice level. If you like it a little hotter, add hot Cape Verde salsa and paprika for a dressing. You can also add sliced ​​jalapenos on top. If you don’t like spicy food, use a mild salsa and omit the paprika and cayenne.

Vegetarian options:

You can easily make this dish vegan-friendly! Just substitute your favorite plant-based minced meat for the ground beef – there are so many brands available now that look and taste similar to ground beef! You can also make minced tofu. Don’t forget to omit the bacon from this meal for a meat-free alternative.

Can’t find smoked paprika? no problem!

We love the smokiness this dressing adds to our Cowboy Pasta Salad. If you can’t find it at your local supermarket, you can use a little liquid smoke to get the same smoky flavor.

Troubleshooting: How to Prevent Cowboy Pasta Salad from Absorbing Dressing?

When your pasta absorbs too much dressing, it becomes mushy. You can prevent this by making sure your pasta is cooked and drained properly. Cook until al dente and rinse with cold water before adding the other ingredients. You can also rub a little olive oil over the noodles to create a light barrier between the noodles and the dressing.

Explanation in advance

This salad is easy to make ahead. You can make the dressing 1-2 days before your planned use. You can also prepare the pasta and ground meat the night before serving Cowboy Spaghetti – just be sure to store them separately. Then, when you’re ready to eat, all that’s left to do is chop up the cheese and tomatoes and combine the remaining toppings in a large bowl!

storage instructions

You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for 2-3 days. A little longer and the dish might take on an interesting texture.

If you liked this recipe, you might be interested in these other delicious pasta salad recipes:

watch the video below Caytlin will walk you through each step of this recipe. Sometimes the visuals help, and we always let you watch our cooking shows.You can find the complete collection of recipes youtube, facebook watch, or our facebook pageor provide a corresponding recipe on our website.

Craving a cool meal on a hot day that’s sure to fill you up? Cowboy Pasta Salad of course! Filled with ground beef, cheese cubes, bacon, beans, corn, and delicious homemade dressing, you won’t leave hungry.

Preparation time 20 minute

cooking time 15 minute

total time 35 minute

raw material

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 pound Ground beef Cooked and refrigerated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 8 ounce cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 8 ounce cheddar cheese cube
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) Yes black beans rinse and drain
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) Yes canned corn to drain
  • 1/2 Shallot cut into pieces
  • 4 slice cooked bacon crush
  • 1 chili optional, thinly sliced


  • 16 ounce green sauce
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until the pasta is cool.

  • Cook ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat, season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Drain excess fat and transfer to a bowl to cool.

  • Halve the tomatoes, cube the cheese, open and drain the can, dice the pepper and onion, and crumble the bacon.

  • In a large bowl, toss together pasta and dressing until pasta is fully coated. Top with cooked and refrigerated ground beef, tomatoes, cheese cubes, black beans, corn, bell peppers, red onions, and bacon crumbles.

  • Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


  • Add salsa, mayonnaise, lime juice, smoked paprika, garlic, cumin, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and paprika to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Calories: 355kcal | carbohydrate: 8G | protein: 13G | fat: 30G | Saturated fat: 9G | Polyunsaturated fats: 9G | Monounsaturated fats: 8G | Trans fat: 1G | cholesterol: 56mg | sodium: 1255mg | Potassium: 414mg | fiber: 1G | sugar: 5G | Vitamin A: 851unit | Vitamin C: 12mg | calcium: 163mg | iron: 2mg

Cowboy Pasta Salad