One Pot Creamy Taco Pasta Salad

One Pot Creamy Taco Pasta Salad

You won't believe how good romaine lettuce can taste in this one pot taco pasta salad, thanks to an easy and creamy sauce that's made entirely in the pasta pot - no extra dressing needed! Here's how...

One Pot Creamy Taco Pasta Salad

The other day, I was craving taco pasta salad, but all of the recipes I found online required a separate creamy dressing to be made and I didn’t have the ingredients, time, and frankly, I wanted something simpler.

One Pot Creamy Taco Pasta Salad

I love when recipe ideas come from a basic, “I’m craving this, let’s make it!” situation and that is exactly what happened here. Now, I have a creamy taco pasta salad that’s made in one pot, cooked in under 30 minutes, and doesn’t require a separate dressing.

The key? Pasta water, cheese, and taco seasoning! Those three together yield a creamy “dressing” that coats the pasta (I love bowties here, because there’s more surface area for the flavorful sauce to cling to.)

One Pot Creamy Taco Pasta Salad

And no, this isn’t like a mac and cheese, it truly tastes like there is a taco dressing stirred into the pasta. The crunchy romaine lettuce (don’t knock it until you try it!) adds a refreshing crunch that’s super tasty and bridges salad and pasta together for a pasta salad.

Although this recipe is vegetarian, you could easily stir some shredded rotisserie chicken in here for the meat eaters or even some shrimp. It can be a side dish at a barbecue or a stand alone meal like I enjoyed it.

One Pot Creamy Taco Pasta Salad

However you enjoy this pasta salad, you’ll love this creamy hack!

One Pot Creamy Taco Pasta Salad

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 pound dry bowtie pasta rotini would work well too
  • 2 avocadoes
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro will prompt you to prep in the recipe
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes will prompt you to prep in the recipe
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce will prompt you to prep in the recipe
  • 1 15oz can corn kernels
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1.5 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheeses or just cheddar will work


  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. While pasta cooks, peel, pit and chop the avocadoes into small cubes. Halve the cherry tomatoes per the ingredient list. Chop cilantro to yield ¼ cup. Chop the romaine lettuce to yield 2 cups.
  • Drain the pasta into a colander, reserving ½ cup of pasta water (very important – don’t forget this step!) Add the pasta back into the large pot and stir in the corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocado. Add the taco seasoning and cheese and stir to combine. Immediately start to slowly pour in the pasta water, stirring as you pour until cheese melts and a creamy sauce is made (you may or may not use all the pasta water.)
  • Stir in the romaine until combined, garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

with love, Ali

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Recipe Rating


  • Soooo delicious! Thank you for sharing! My new fav!
    • Awe, we love to hear that! Thank you for trying it!
  • you could also try making a mayo from chickpeas / aquafaba. it's pretty good ! and only takes a minute or so with a nutrabullet.
    • That sounds great! Thank you for sharing!
  • When do you add the romaine?
    • Stir in the romaine at the end until combined and serve warm.
  • I just made this - it is delicious!!
    • Oh! That makes us so happy! Thank you for giving it a try!
  • No instructions on when to add the romaine. I assume at the end.
    • Stir in the romaine at the end until combined and serve warm.
  • Made this tonight for dinner! SO YUMMY!! Will definitely be making again!
    • Yay! Share a photo with us next time. We'd love to see!
  • Question-do you drain the corn and beans before adding?
  • This sounds great. I can’t wait to try it.