Our Southwest pasta salad is a flavorful, smoky dish made with crunchy vegetables, savory beans, and tossed in a homemade creamy Southwest dressing.
In case you haven't noticed, we love pasta salads. Especially, one's with homemade dressings. My personal favorite is our Greek version.
But, I have to say, this Southwest pasta salad might become my new go-to option. We love homemade but simple dishes and this recipe fits in that category.
It only takes fifteen to twenty minutes from start to finish. Most of that time involves simple prep work.
When that's done, it's just dump, mix, and serve. The salad itself has the familiar flavors of chili powder, cumin, and garlic.
Everything is evenly blended into a creamy, mayo based dressing. A perfect Summer time dish to bring to a BBQ or picnic.
Southwest Pasta Salad Instructions:
Let's begin by preparing our ingredients. I would start by cooking the pasta, per the box or bag instructions. Once it's done, drain it, use an ice bath to cool it off, and drain the pasta once more. Set it aside and start working on the vegetables.
You can use canned or frozen corn, just be sure that if it's frozen, you thaw it out. Rinse and drain the corn. Now, rinse and drain the canned black beans.
All that's left to do is dice the purple onion and halve or quarter the tomatoes. When everything is prepped, place the pasta, beans, corn, onions, and tomatoes into a large mixing bowl.
Then, grab a smaller bowl, to it add the mayo, lime juice, and all of the seasonings. Use a whisk or fork to blend everything into a creamy Southwest dressing.
Last, pour the dressing over the other ingredients in the large bowl. Toss everything together and serve.
Southwest Pasta Salad Tips:
- If you don't feel like making a homemade dressing, then consider using a spicy Ranch or Chipotle Ranch. Either one of those varieties would mix well with the dish.
- The quickest way to chill your pasta is to use an ice bath. Simply fill a large saucepan half way with water and add a couple of handfuls of ice.
- Then, after you dump and drain your pasta, toss it into the ice bath for about thirty (30) seconds. That should cool it off enough stop the cooking process and chill it enough to use immediately in the recipe (after it's been drained).
- Want your Southwest pasta salad to have more substance? Then think about adding some diced bell peppers or avocado, and top it with thinly sliced green onions.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 8 ounces short pasta, macaroni, penne, rotini, mini farfalle, etc.
- 1 ½ cup corn, canned or frozen, thawed, rinsed, drained
- 15 ounces black beans, canned, rinsed, drained
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
- ½ cup purple onion, diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more by taste
- Boil your pasta per the package instructions, use an ice bath to chill it, then drain it and set it aside (or in your fridge).8 ounces short pasta
- Thaw the corn kernels, rinse and drain them. Also, open the can of beans, rinse and drain. After that, cut the tomatoes into halves (or quarters), and dice your onion.1 ½ cup corn15 ounces black beans1 pint cherry tomatoes
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, corn, beans, tomatoes, and purple onion. Set aside.½ cup purple onion
- In a separate small bowl, combine the ingredients for the Southwest dressing. Pour the dressing over the pasta ingredients and toss to combine. (May reserve ½ cup of the dressing to add to the pasta salad the next day in the event that it needs extra moisture.)1 cup mayonnaise¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice2 teaspoons chili powder1 teaspoon garlic powder1 teaspoon onion powder1 teaspoon ground cumin½ teaspoon kosher salt½ teaspoon dried dill½ teaspoon smoked paprika⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be served. The pasta salad will maintain its freshness for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.