This Southwest Pasta Salad adds some Tex-Mex fun to your picnic, cookout or pitch in. Tender pasta is paired with tons of fresh veggies and a chili lime dressing adds the perfect amount of spicy zing! It’s a great vegetarian side dish and can easily be made vegan too!
We Love Pasta Salads
In the past couple of years, I’ve really been into pasta salads. I hadn’t ever paid too much attention to them before. I just thought of them as that side dish you see at cookouts or next to the dressing at the salad bar.
But lately, I’ve been on a tear finding fun Pasta Salad Recipes to make. For instance, we love this thick and hearty Cowboy Pasta Salad. It filled with ground beef, bacon, black beans and corn, this could almost serve as a full course instead of a side dish! Or this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is spectabulous (my daughter’s word). Bacon. Ranch. What else do you need to say? But we can get even more creative! My favorite Pasta Salad Recipe on this side is this Mexican Street Corn Salad. It mixes sweet corn with the spicy flavors South of the border. It’s excellent. You really need to try it.
We’ve kept the spice going with this new Pasta Salad Recipe. Introducing our Southwest Pasta Salad!
Southwest Pasta Salad
It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, tender and crunchy all at the same time. It’s like a symphony for your senses. This is super easy to make. Here is what you will need:
- Rotini Pasta
- Yellow Bell Pepper
- Grape Tomatoes (Halved)
- Black Beans, Drained
- Avocados, Pitted and Diced
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Cotija Cheese (optional)
- Chili Powder
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Olive Oil
- Lime Juice
- Fresh Cilantro
Notes, Tips and Variations
We hope you enjoy this recipe for Southwestern Pasta Salad. I just love the combination of flavors and looks so beautiful will all of the colors. Here are a couple ways to mix things up, and a couple of tips I’ve discovered to help out.
- VEGAN?- This dish is super easy to make Vegan friendly! All you have to do is take out the cheese! But.. man… I LOVE cheese.
- ONIONS- I’ve come across some Southwestern Pasta Salad recipes that have fresh, chopped red onion in them. I’m not a fan, nor is anyone in my family. So we didn’t make our with that in there. But, if that sounds good to you, go for it!
- CUBED CHEESE- Instead of shredded cheddar cheese, try dicing a block of cheddar cheese into tiny cubes. This could give your recipe another layer of texture. And the cubed cheese may also hold up to the dressing a little longer.
- EXPERIMENT WITH PASTA- I honestly wanted to make this recipe with Bow Tie Pasta but my grocery store didn’t have it. What the heck!?!?! So, I went with my second favorite pasta, Rotini. But, if you’ve got Bow Tie Pasta, go for that and let me know how it turns out. Penne pasta or Elbow Macaroni would also be delish.
- WHERE ARE THE OLIVES?- Again, some versions of this recipe include black olives. But we don’t like them. So we left them out. But, if that’s your thing, go ahead and add some.
- ADD CHICKEN- Add chicken! We are kinda on a vegetarian kick right now, so we’ve been looking for meatless recipes. But you could certainly add some shredded chicken to this dish. We love buying a rotisserie chicken from our grocery store. Just let it cool in the fridge and use that!
We hope you enjoy this recipe for Southwest Pasta Salad. Let us know how it turns out in the comments section. Thanks and bye!
Southwestern Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces Rotini Pasta
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
- 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes Halved
- 1 Can Black Beans Drained
- 1 Can Corn Drained
- 2 Avocados Pitted and Diced
- 1/4 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1/4 cup Cotija Cheese (optional)
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp Lime Juice
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro
Cook the pasta to al dente.
While pasta is cooking, dice the yellow pepper, open and drain the cans of beans and corn. Chop the Grape Tomatoes in half.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse under cold water. Make sure pasta is well rinsed.
In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, yellow pepper, beans, corn, cheddar cheese and tomatoes.
In a medium bowl, mix together Olive Oil, Lime Juice, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cumin and Cilantro.
Toss the pasta salad with the dressing and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Add the Avocado and Cotija Cheese (if desired) just before serving.