Southwest Pasta Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing for hot summer nights

Southwest Pasta Salad

With this Southwest Pasta Salad there's no need to heat up your kitchen during the hottest part of the day! Simply make the pasta salad in the morning, and enjoy it for lunch or dinner.
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8 -12
Author Jillian - a Food, Folks and Fun original!


  • 1 Pound Gemelli pasta or any other medium-shaped pasta
  • zest of 4 limes
  • 1 14- ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 14- ounce can garbanzo beans rinded and drained
  • 4 LARGE roma tomatoes diced
  • 2 large red bell peppers diced
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 cups cooked and diced chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 6 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 2 large avocados peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup tortilla strips
  • lime wedges
  • freshly chopped cilantro


  • COOK PASTA: Cook pasta according to package instructions, and drain and rinse with cold water. Place pasta in extra-large bowl and toss with lime zest.
  • MAKE CILANTRO-LIME DRESSING: Add lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and sugar to blender, and blend until smooth. With blender on low, slowly add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated and slightly thickened. Add the cilantro and pulse until combined.
  • Add cilantro dressing, black beans, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, diced pepper, green onions, corn and chicken to bowl with pasta. Toss until toppings are evenly distributed and coated with dressing. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving. Right before serving, top with cheese, avocado, and tortilla strips. Garnish with extra lime wedges and chopped cilantro.