1 (16-ounce) package pasta, your choice (such as bowtie, spiral, penne, or rotini)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (hamburger)
1 (1.25 ounce) packet of taco seasoning
4 to 6 green onions, chopped
2 cups of chopped tomatoes, seeded*
1 cup black olives, sliced
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (14.5 ounce) can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained**
1/2 cup Catalina Salad Dressing***
2 cups avocados, peeled and sliced (optional)
Tortilla or Fritos Chips, crumbled
Diced green chiles
* May use canned diced tomatoes (drained) if you do not have fresh tomatoes on hand.
** Canned black beans or pinto beans (rinsed and drained) may be substituted.
*** French Salad Dressing may also be used, if desired.
Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Learn How To Cook Pasta Properly. When pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water; draining well before using. Transfer drained pasta into a large serving bowl and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, brown the ground beef until it is almost done and there is still a little pinkness, drain off and discard the fat. Add the taco seasoning and stir until combined. Continue cooking until ground beef is fully browned. Remove from heat and let cool. Note: If you do not let ground beef fully cool before adding to pasta, the cheese will melt when added.
To the large bowl of pasta, add the cooled ground beef, green onions, tomatoes, black olives, shredded cheese, and beans. Lightly toss together to evenly distribute ingredients into the pasta. Add the salad dressing and toss with the pasta salad to coat all the ingredients. Add additional salad dressing if you prefer a wetter salad.
Right before serving, you can mix in the optional avocados (squeeze a little lemon over the avocados to keep them from browning).
Always serve pasta salads at room temperature so the flavors will really shine. If you must refrigerate the salad, make sure to return it to room temperature before serving. The dressing usually soaks into the pasta when stored. So, if serving later, you may need to add a little extra salad dressing right before serving.