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Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad is a flavor filled side dish that is perfect for a potluck, BBQ, or to bring new parents! This pasta salad is filled with bell peppers, corn, black beans, cilantro, green onions, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, Greek yogurt, and mayonnaise.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

The summer feels like PRIME pasta salad season, and I’ve been on a roll creating new ones! This Southwestern Pasta Salad, however, is an oldie but goodie, and I decided to make it again this week so I could get some new photos. I’ve been making a pasta salad every week for the past few weeks so we can have it as part of our picnic dinner on Wednesday nights at soccer, and this one was definitely a hit!

This Southwestern Pasta Salad is a spin off my Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad, which happens to be *the* most popular recipe from my blog.  I’ll never know how a recipe with a photo that was taken with my iPhone has become so loved but what it lacks in its lackluster picture it makes up for in its taste. This pasta salad has a similar southwest dressing and is definitely a family favorite!

Ingredients in Southwestern Pasta Salad

This is a delicious pasta salad that is made with simple ingredients and is perfect for the summer time and family gatherings.

  • Pasta – I like using rotini or penne pasta in this pasta salad. Really any kind of short noodles will work.
  • Bell Peppers – this time I used a red and yellow bell pepper but I’ve also used green and orange bell peppers, too
  • Black Beans – drained and rinsed canned black beans work best in this recipe.
  • Frozen Corn – I like using thawed frozen corn because it is not as salty as canned corn and I prefer the texture of the corn kernels.
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Green Onions
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Greek Yogurt – I like to use plain Greek yogurt to lighten up this southwestern pasta salad, but you could also use sour cream if you prefer!
  • Mayonnaise
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Ranch Seasoning
Southwestern Pasta Salad

So this pasta salad pretty much is just like the salad, dressing and all, except instead of lettuce, there’s pasta. We’re trading veggies for carbs. I like it.

So let’s break it down. We have pasta (whatever shape you prefer, really), peppers, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro (YUM!), green onions, and a dressing made with part mayo (I use olive oil mayo) and part Greek yogurt mixed with ranch seasoning and taco seasoning. Flavor. Explosion.

How to Make Southwestern Pasta Salad

This recipe involves some chopping, but is super easy to make. Be sure to refer to the recipe card for the full instructions.

Cook the pasta. To start, bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

Prep the remaining ingredients. While the pasta is cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients. Chop the bell pepper, tomatoes, green onion, and cilantro, and prepare the dressing. To make the dressing, combine the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, ranch seasoning, and taco seasoning in a medium bowl and stir well.

Combine the ingredients. Once the pasta is cooked, run it under cold water and then add it to a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, black beans, thawed corn, green onions, bell peppers, and cilantro, and stir to mix it all up. Next, add the creamy dressing and stir well so it’s all evenly combined. And that’s it! Either serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

This cold pasta salad will last a couple of days in the refrigerator. Store it in an airtight container.

This Southwestern Pasta Salad is one of those side salads that you will be making again and again because it’s just that good. It is a great addition to a potluck because it can be made a day in advance, great for making at the beginning of the week and eating for lunches, and is also the perfect side dish to bring to new parents or friends in need.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad Variations and Tips

Add lime zest. For a bit of lime flavor, add the zest from 1/2 of a lime!

Swap the beans. Instead of black beans you can use pinto beans or kidney beans, if you prefer.

Add black olives. My husband isn’t a fan of black olives but if he was, I would love to add them to this pasta salad.

Add chicken. If you want to make this more of a main dish, you can thrown in some shredded chicken. This would be a great use for shredded rotisserie chicken!

Add some spice. If you like things on the spicier side, use medium or hot taco seasoning or add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a little kick.

Like this recipe? Check these out, too!

Deviled Egg Pasta Salad

Thai Peanut Pasta Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pasta, side dish, vegetarian, vegetarian side dish
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 305kcal
Author: Taylor

Ingredients

  • 8 oz rotini pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 1 green/yellow/orange bell pepper seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn thawed if using frozen
  • 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 green onions chopped

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons dry ranch seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package.
  • Run under cold water and let cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pasta with bell peppers, tomatoes, corn, black beans, cilantro, and green onions.
  • Combine all dressing ingredients and then combine with pasta mixture.
  • Stir well.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 641mg | Potassium: 421mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 851IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @greensnchocolate to let me know!
Need more ideas?Find all of my recipe pins @greenschocolate

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  1. haha one of my most popular recipes is one of my oldest with the WORST photo!! It always cracks me up!!

    This pasta salad sounds awesome! I can never turn down anything with a southwest or mexican flair!

  2. I think any time of year is food for pasta salad. Especially when it’s made with Mexican flavors, aka my favorite! This looks so good!

    And that’s awesome that your most popular recipe was taking with your iPhone, haha. You just never know what people are going to be drawn to!