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4.53 from 17 votes

Cowboy Pasta Salad

This loaded Cowboy Pasta Salad recipe is tossed with a bright and light lemon-cumin dressing. It's super easy, fast, and perfect to prepare ahead of time for your next potluck or gathering!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Lunch, Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 680kcal


  • 1 pound bowtie pasta or pasta shells
  • 1 pound ground beef extra lean
  • 2 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice fresh
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • 15 ounce corn drained (1 can), or frozen
  • 15 ounce black beans drained and rinsed (1 can)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded (yellow)
  • 4 green onions chopped


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it's no longer pink, breaking it up as you go along with a wooden spoon. Should take about 6 to 8 minutes to cook. Drain excess fat if needed.
  • Season the meat with taco seasoning and red pepper flakes.
  • In a small bowl wisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour over the pasta and toss.
  • Add the ground beef, corn, black beans and cherry tomatoes to the pasta and toss well.
  • Fold in the cheese and green onions.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.


Because of the beef, this salad is safe to eat at room temperature for two hours before it needs to be refrigerated. Leftovers will last 3-4 days in the fridge. If you need, you can whip up some extra dressing to toss the pasta with when you eat the leftovers in case too much has been absorbed.
I wouldn't recommend freezing this salad! The tomatoes and pasta will fall apart after thawing.


Calories: 680kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 372mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 685IU | Vitamin C: 14.7mg | Calcium: 253mg | Iron: 3.9mg