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Sombrero Pasta Salad

I take this slightly spicy salad to almost every party or picnic I attend. Every time I come home with lots of compliments, but never any leftovers! - Patty Ehlen, Burlington, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    10 servings


  • 1 package (16 ounces) spiral pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 bottle (16 ounces) Catalina or Western salad dressing


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add water and taco seasoning; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse pasta in cold water and drain; place in a large bowl. Add beef mixture, cheese, green pepper, onion, tomato and olives; mix well. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
If you'll be refrigerating Sombrero Pasta Salad for more than 1 hour, reserve 1/2 cup dressing to stir into the salad just before serving.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 548 calories, 29g fat (9g saturated fat), 46mg cholesterol, 941mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 2g fiber), 19g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Nan
    Dec 4, 2018

    Great recipe, have been making it for well over 15 years. It's great to make for large groups, very easy recipe!

  • candycup
    May 26, 2014

    I love this recipe it was really good only thing I would recommend put the dressing a little at a time and taste as you go

  • angieact1
    Jun 28, 2013

    We really like this. I only used 1 can of olives and added one can of green chilis. It was nicely sweet and zesty. We added crushed fritos to the top when we served it.

  • jelaine56
    Jun 1, 2013

    I made this salad today with a few changes.. I used a Pablano pepper (instead of the gr. bell pepper) and Creamy Italian Dressing with jarred mild salsa (instead of the tomato).. I forgot the cheese, but it tasted really good even w/o it...Oh I also used Mini Ziti (instead of spiral pasta)..I will definately make it again..

  • ljbruns
    Jul 17, 2012

    This salad is great for any potluck. Have made it many times and always have a request for the recipe. My favorite way to make it is with the Western dressing, cherrytomatoes (cut in half), large shredded cheese and Rotelle pasta. Before serving crush Doritos over salad.

  • wickidgrrl82
    Jul 9, 2012

    Just made this, was super fast and easy and I'm eating it as I type this review because I couldn't wait for it to get cold. So tasty!! Ended up using spicy ranch because I couldn't find a chipotle dressing at Luckys, but it still tastes delicious!

  • polywogmom
    Jun 7, 2012

    I gave this a 4 star because after adding the Catalina dressing the salad had a pinkish/orange color to it and wasn't very eye appealing. It had great flavor and we really liked it, but it was passed over because it didn't look appealing.

  • chsmith
    Apr 17, 2012

    No comment left

  • docksidegirl
    Oct 20, 2011

    Have made this salad and given the recipe out many times. Great summer salad, makes a large bowlful

  • worky_mom
    Sep 16, 2011

    I made this for a potluck we were having at work, that was 10 years ago, now they just expect me to bring it for each and every potluck, it has been a big, big hit with my co-workers.