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Tuck into this gorgeous, fresh easy Southwestern Pasta Salad! Black beans, corn, red peppers, jalapenos, cilantro and red onions feature in this easy to make pasta salad.
With the addition of the lime vinaigrette… oh, myyyyyyy.
Southwestern pasta salad is a delicious and refreshing dish that combines the flavors of the American Southwest with pasta, vegetables, and a zesty dressing.
This is a pasta salad that can be a full meal, the perfect side dish for a summer bbq, or even a snack. This recipe is SO easy, and I love it!
Living in Arizona, I am so lucky to be influenced by these southwestern flavors, and absolutely love to use them wherever I can. This dish is SO southwestern, the only thing it doesn’t have is avocado, but you could totally add it.
This is such a crowd pleaser, and makes me super popular when I bring this to pot-lucks, family gatherings or to back yard barbecues! Filled with satisfying ingredients, people usually go back for a second, third and fourth helping. I’m totally okay with that.
I probably make this at least once a week during summer. It’s great chilled or at room temperature.
Why you’ll love this recipe
It’s perfect for summer picnics, barbecues, or as a side dish for any occasion.
- Easy to make ahead. I make this ahead and let it hang out and just grab a bowl here or there – lunch, a dinner, whatever.
- Simple ingredients. All things you probably have on hand, or can grab at any grocery store.
- GREAT flavors! This recipe is different to the traditional pasta salad, allows you to get creative with the flavors and textures you enjoy! Make a creamy dressing, by adding some sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, in fact, many people believe it tastes better after sitting for a few hours because the flavors meld together. Just be sure to refrigerate if it’s made in advance.
It usually lasts for 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
It’s not recommended to freeze this dish, as the texture of the pasta and some of the fresh ingredients may be compromised upon thawing.
Yes, grilled chicken, shrimp, or even some chorizo can be great additions to the salad.
It can be as mild or as spicy as you like. Adjust the amount of jalapeños, or other ingredients to suit your preference.
- Large pot for boiling pasta
- Cutting boad
What to do with leftovers
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You could add diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers or some blanched broccoli to this recipe. Different vegetables are awesome!
If you are after a creamy pasta salad, a great addition to the dressing is a little sour cream or Greek yogurt. Taste test and adjust seasoning.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
For the salad
- Pasta. Any kind of pasta works. I prefer the short noodles, like shells, elbows, gemelli or spirals (rotini pasta). This can be made gluten free if you use gluten free pasta and check labels on all other ingredients.
- Canned sweet corn and black beans. Drain and rinse before using.
- Red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno and cilantro. Dice the peppers (you can use yellow peppers or a red pepper), red onions and jalapeno similar sizes to the corn and black beans.
For the dressing
- Olive oil. You can use extra virgin olive oil or light oil, based on your preferences.
- Vinegar. I use white wine vinegar, but apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar can also be used.
- Fresh Lime juice and zest. Freshly squeezed and zested!
- Garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Add a little chili powder if you like! Garlic powder can be used in place of fresh.
How to make this recipe:
Scroll for Recipe
The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente (according to package directions). Drain and set aside to cool. If you are in a hurry, rinse with cold water.
Drain and rinse the corn and black beans, and dice the fresh vegetables.
Make the dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients, until very well blended (alternatively put all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake).
In a large bowl, combine the cooked and cooled pasta, the vegetables and the dressing.
Garnish with Queso Fresco or cotija cheese, extra limes and cilantro. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for a few days.
Easy Southwest Pasta Salad with Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
- Queso Fresco cheese ((I used about 1/3 of a round))
- Extra limes
- Extra cilantro
Prepare the ingredients
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.
- Drain and set aside to cool.
- Drain and rinse the corn and black beans, and dice the fresh vegetables.
Make the dressing:
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients, until very well blended (alternatively put all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake).
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked and cooled pasta, the vegetables and the dressing.
Garnish with Queso Fresco cheese, extra limes and cilantro.
- Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for a few days.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.