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How to Make the Best Loaded Cowboy Pasta Salad

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If you are looking to make the best loaded cowboy pasta you’ve ever made, you’re in luck! This is definitely the recipe for you. This is not your usual or stereotypical pasta salad. Instead, this “cowboy version” displays many great flavors that typically are not found in salads. This includes, but is definitely not limited to, a scrumptious smokiness from the barbecue sauce combined with cumin, savory heat from the red pepper flakes, Worcestershire and hot sauces that add a great flavor, and brown mustard that helps top it off. As I said, this is definitely not your typical macaroni salad! It has wonderful Tex-Mex ingredients and elements that beef and spice it up, making it a full meal that is ultimately satisfying.

In addition to the spicy kick that the dressing provides, the dish is full of the following ingredients: macaroni, ground beef, bacon, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and a lot of cheddar cheese. If this combination takes you aback for a moment, just hang in there, I promise it packs a delicious punch! However, if you are sensitive to spices or other ingredients used, there are ways to tone it down and make it into a side dish or quick lunch.

Spoiler Alert: Once you have this dish, you won’t be able to wait to turn around and make it again! You’ll be hard-pressed to leave room for dessert, for sure! And, after all, dessert is definitely something to prioritize. Each bite is promised to bring a full and addictive flavor profile with delicious and fresh ingredients. Once you have some, you’ll only want more!

This loaded cowboy pasta contains ground beef, pasta, peppers, and jalapenos. It is both a hearty and spicy dish that you will soon come to know and love. It is also a great pasta salad for any meat-lovers!

It is best to serve this pasta either warmed up or at room temperature to conjure up a quick and simple lunch or dinner dish. I must admit, pasta salads are one of my favorite remedies for a quick and easy summer lunch or dinner. In fact, you may want to consider this one for potlucks or barbecues since it does well at room temperatures.

Though I usually serve my loaded cowboy pasta at room temperature, it is also delicious when it is warmed up. In fact, my boys ate this back-to-back for lunch and dinner! It is great to make ahead and use in a pinch.

A Quick Rundown on Loaded Cowboy Pasta Salad

I have named this dish loaded cowboy pasta salad since it so aptly reminds me of other beef-filled meals we usually delight in when we visit the country or a farm-type setting. In fact, my boys love it for this very reason!

It has a ton of spicy, taco-style ground beef that makes it filling. It is ultimately hearty, delicious, and nutritious.

Personally, my family loves adding jalapeños to the dressing as well as the salad because they love everything spicy! However, it really is not all that spicy and is why we usually add extra jalapeños to our dishes.

What ingredients do you need for Loaded Cowboy Pasta

1 lb. bacon

½ lb. ground beef or turkey 

1 tablespoon of olive oil 

½ teaspoon garlic powder 

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 

Salt and pepper (to taste) 

1 lb. rotini pasta

1 cup mayo 

¼ cup barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 

2 tablespoons spicy mustard 

2 tablespoons hot sauce 

1 can whole corn 

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 

1 cup cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded, for garnish 

¾ cup green onion, reserve some for garnish 

How to make Loaded Cowboy Pasta

FIRST STEP:

Go ahead and proceed to cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain it, drizzle it with olive oil, and set it aside. 

Using a large skillet, cook the bacon, chop it, and set it to the side – go ahead and drain any excess bacon fat. 

SECOND STEP:

Proceed to cook the ground meat until it is done using the same pan, pairing it with the onion, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. 

Proceed to combine and stir in the mayonnaise, barbeque sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and hot sauce until everything is well-combined. 

THIRD STEP:

Go ahead and add in the corn and tomatoes. 

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Proceed to go ahead and stir in the cooked pasta. 

FOURTH STEP:

Go ahead and garnish your dish with cheese and reserved green onion.

Serve your loaded cowboy pasta and enjoy! 

How to Make the Best Loaded Cowboy Pasta Salad

How to Make the Best Loaded Cowboy Pasta Salad

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bacon
  • ½ lb. ground beef or turkey 
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder 
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • Salt and pepper (to taste) 
  • 1 lb. rotini pasta
  • 1 cup mayo 
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons spicy mustard 
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce 
  • 1 can whole corn 
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded, for garnish 
  • ¾ cup green onion, reserve some for garnish

Instructions

FIRST STEP:

Go ahead and proceed to cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain it, drizzle it with olive oil, and set it aside. 

Using a large skillet, cook the bacon, chop it, and set it to the side – go ahead and drain any excess bacon fat. 

SECOND STEP:

Proceed to cook the ground meat until it is done using the same pan, pairing it with the onion, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. 

Proceed to combine and stir in the mayonnaise, barbeque sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and hot sauce until everything is well-combined. 

THIRD STEP:

Go ahead and add in the corn and tomatoes. 

Proceed to go ahead and stir in the cooked pasta. 

FOURTH STEP:

Go ahead and garnish your dish with cheese and reserved green onion.

Serve your loaded cowboy pasta and enjoy! 

Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 120Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 10gCarbohydrates 340gSugar 40gProtein 10g

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