Cowboy Pasta Summer Salad

This recipe was developed by me for Safeway whom I have an ongoing relationship with. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for helping to support the brands that I love and make Belly Full possible!

Hey gang! How was your weekend? Was it filled with the sweet smell of freedom, or tears because now you have to figure out a way to entertain your kids for two and a half months? HA. Or maybe your kids are still in school?

Our final day was last Thursday. And I rejoiced. Fifth and third grade were no picnic, so we are going to relish this break; swim, travel, relax, and hang out with friends whom we never get to see! And yes, I’ve got camps lined up…because I’m not crazy. Lol.


This summer has been the year of pasta salads at Carlsbad Cravings from Italian Pasta Salad with Tortellini to Po Boy Shrimp Pasta Salad to Cubano Pasta Salad with Mojo Dressing and many more listed below.  But none of these pasta salad recipes boast juicy, ground beef – until today.  Think taco salad – but even dreamier.


And not just dreamy for cowboys.  I guarantee that every cowboy and cowgirl alike will be singing your praises for this Cowboy Pasta Salad Recipe.  It’s creamy, tangy, smoky, boasts layers of textures and flavors of TexMex glory and did I say bacon already?

If you consume this Cowboy Pasta Salad the “proper way,” serve it alongside some cowboy favorites of Nashville Hot Chicken, Oven “Fried” Chicken, Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs, or Slow Cooker Beef Brisket but I was so enamored by this Cowboy Pasta Salad I couldn’t stop sneaking it from the refrigerator – when I wasn’t even hungry.  I would eat it cold and I would eat it warmed in the microwave.  Both arguably delicious.  Make it, try it both ways, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.


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We actually already got a jump start on some of those by christening summer vacation with a pool party. I grilled ribs and corn, and set up a hot dog bar, which is always fun. And I tried out a new pasta salad recipe, thanks to all the awesome Signature items at my local Safeway store.

You guys. I am so excited to be working with Safeway. That’s where I do my grocery shopping, so when they asked if I wanted to partner up, I didn’t even think twice. The Signature line, exclusively at your local Safeway, includes more than 4,000 items including soups, cereals, coffee, juice, a wide selection of pantry staples, delicious prepared foods, fresh produce, and more – all at an exceptional value, with 100% money back guarantee.

HOW TO MAKE COWBOY PASTA SALAD
  • Cook pasta just until al dente according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain.  Add to a large serving bowl and toss with half of the dressing.
  • Brown meat with onions in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain off excess grease. Stir in green chiles and all spices.  Set aside to cool while you chop your veggies.
  • Add beef and all remaining salad ingredients to pasta except bacon. Stir in desired amount of dressing. Add bacon if serving immediately or cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve then add bacon.
  • Cowboy Pasta Salad can be served cold, at room temperature or warmed through.
INGREDIENTS
Salad:
  • 1 pound pasta shells or macaroni, cooked according to package instructions and tossed with 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled, plus extra for garnish, optional
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, halved
  • 1/3 cup green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
PREPARATION
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Cook beef in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Season with cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Once beef is cooked, drain fat, then transfer to a large bowl and add cooked pasta and bacon, corn, black beans, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, green onion and cilantro.
  4. Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss to combine, sprinkle reserved bacon over the top before serving.

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