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 including rotini pasta, cilantro, corn, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, grape tomatoes, green onions, bell pepper, black beans, mayo, and Greek yogurt.

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 - gives the salad a bright, fresh, herby flavor.
  • 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

Refer to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients.


Add Avocado - Sometimes I like to add avocado to this pasta salad right before serving for a boost of healthy fat.

Homemade Taco Seasoning - if you want to use a homemade seasoning instead of store-bought, refer to my Beef Taco Seasoning post for a homemade recipe.

More or Less Bell Peppers - sometimes I make this recipe with one bell pepper and sometimes two or three, depending on what I have in my fridge.

Different Type of Pasta - I love using rotini pasta in this recipe because the little spirals catch a bunch of the dressing. Penne, rigatoni, and elbow macaroni all work really well, too.

Add lime zest. For a bit of lime flavor, add the zest from ½ 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 ¼-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a little kick.

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.

Step by Step Instructions

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

Photo 1. In a medium bowl, add the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, ranch seasoning, and taco seasoning.

Photo 2. Mix well until combined. You can add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to thin it out a little, if you'd like. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

Photo 3. Chop up the veggies and cilantro.

Photo 4. Cook the pasta according to package directions and then strain and rinse with cold water.

Photo 5. Add the pasta, veggies, beans, and dressing to a large bowl.

Photo 6. Toss well to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Expert Tips

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

Make Ahead - This pasta salad is perfect for a potluck or meal prep because it can be made ahead of time.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Recipe FAQs

How long is Southwestern Pasta Salad good for?

This pasta salad can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

What is the best pasta to use in pasta salad?

I personally love rotini because it is a small pasta shape and also the ridges on the spiral help hold some of the pasta salad dressing. Other good options are elbow macaroni, penne pasta, bowties, and shells. Just avoid long-shaped pasta noodles.

Can I make Southwestern Pasta Salad vegan?

You can! Simply use vegan yogurt or vegan sour cream and vegan mayonnaise. In addition, make your own homemade ranch seasoning, as the store-bought contains dried buttermilk.

Other Pasta Salad Recipes to Consider

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #greensnchocolate.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 305kcal


  • 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 ½ cups diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn thawed if using frozen
  • 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 green onions chopped


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons dry ranch seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning


  • 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.


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

Join The Conversation


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  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!

  3. A pasta salad at any time of the year is good in my book, this southwestern pasta salad looks awesome - love the unique flavor combo!