Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad

After a long day at the pool or beach the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove while sweating to make dinner. Pasta salads make it easy; make them in the morning when it’s nice and cool and enjoy them later in the day for lunch or dinner. They’re kind of my “breakfast for dinner” alternatives during the summer.

Southwest Pasta Salad

Cook’s Note:

This pasta salad in particular makes a TON! We usually have it for dinner twice during the week and then enjoy the rest for lunches. It makes 8-12 main dish servings or 20-24 side dish servings. You can easily halve it.

Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad

Serves 8-12
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue
Website Adapted from Our Best Bites
Southwest Pasta Salad :: No need to heat up your kitchen during the hottest part of the day; make it in the morning and enjoy it for lunch or dinner.


  • 1 Pound shapped pasta (pick your favorite shape)
  • 1 14-ounce Can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 14-ounce Can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 4 roma tomatoes (seeded and diced)
  • 2 Large red, yellow, or green bell peppers (diced)
  • 1 cup green onions (sliced)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • zest from 4 limes
  • 16oz cooked chicken, diced (optional)
  • 1 cup your favorite mexican cheese (shredded or crumbled)


  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 8 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)


Step 1
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Step 2
In the meantime, prepare the dressing. Place the lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and sugar in a blender. Process until smooth. With the motor running slowly, add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated. Add the cilantro and pulse so it gets broken up, but some pieces still remain in tact.
Step 3
Place the cooked and cooled pasta in an extra-large salad bowl with the lime zest. Add black beans, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, diced pepper, green onions, corn (no need to thaw the corn), and chicken if desired. Toss with dressing. Taste, and add additional salt and pepper to taste. For best results, chill for 1 hour before serving. Right before serving, sprinkle cheese on top. Serve with extra lime wedges if desired.

About Jillian

Hi, I'm Jillian. I'm a teacher turned stay-at-home mom. I miss the creativity teaching provided so I'm always trying to find time to exercise my artistic abilities. Mostly that means cooking and baking. My blog is dedicated to providing restaurant-quality recipes for the home cook.


  1. Looks great. I am always looking for new pasta salad recipes to try.
    Ruth recently posted..Frugal Me Fridays- When Cheaper Isn’t CheaperMy Profile

  2. Does the dressing for southwest pasta salad call for 1/4 olive oil or 1 and 1/4 cup?


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