Southwest Pasta Salad is so satisfying, with just the right amount of zesty kick. Tender pasta, crunchy fresh veggies, and black beans dressed with a delicious Chipotle Ranch Dressing—the perfect side dish for potlucks, cookouts, and BBQs.

Southwest Pasta Salad is so satisfying with just the right amount of zesty kick. Tender pasta, crunchy fresh veggies, corn, and black beans dressed with a delicious Chipotle Ranch Dressing. The perfect side dish for potlucks, cookouts, and BBQS.

If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The flavors and textures in this Southwest Pasta Salad create such a delicious synergy. Fresh corn is the highlight here, sweet and crisp, melding perfectly with the earthy black beans and crunchy veggies. The pasta hangs on to the Chipotle Ranch Dressing (vegan adaptable!), making each bite so savory and delicious! The total time to prep is under 30 minutes and can be made ahead!

For more delicious pasta salad recipes try Pesto Pasta Salad, Greek Pasta Salad and Caprese Pasta Salad.

Southwest Pasta Salad Ingredients

Southwest Pasta Salad Ingredient Notes

  • Pasta– Noodles that have ridges and texture will hang on the dressing and the salad will taste more flavorful. Fusilli, spirals, cavatappi, or rotini pasta- any twisty shape is great. Gluten-free pasta works fine here too.
  • Corn kernels- Fresh sweet corn has the best texture here, but frozen corn or roasted frozen corn works well too.
  • Bell pepper– Sweet peppers add crunch and color.
  • Black beans– Protein boost along with nutrients like calcium and potassium. Adds earthy flavor.
  • Cilantro– gives the salad a bright, fresh, herby flavor.
  • Green onions– Savory with a mild bite. Use diced red onion for a more punchy onion flavor.
  • Cherry tomatoes– Sweet and juicy.
  • Jalapeno– Green fresh spice. Every pepper varies in spice. Adjust to taste!
  • Chipotle Ranch Dressing– Creamy and herby with just the right kick. Vegan adaptable!
  • Additional Ingredients: Avocado, zucchini, black olives, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, cotija cheese, feta or cubes of cheddar.

See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.     

How to make Southwest Pasta salad

Step One- Boil the pasta according to the package directions using salted boiling water.

Step Two– If using fresh corn, husk and grill on high heat, turning every 2-3 minutes until lightly charred. You can also do this in a skillet or grill pan on the stovetop.

Step Three- Cut the corn off the cob (a less messy way is to lay the cob perpendicular to the counter and slice thick slabs as you turn). Or use frozen corn that has been thoroughly thawed. (Fire-roasted frozen corn is nice if available).

Southwest pasta salad ingredients in a bowl ready to toss.

Step Four- In a bowl, stir together the cooked pasta, corn, black beans, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, coriander, salt and lime zest, and Chipotle Ranch Dressing.

Add more chipotle powder, lime juice, or salt to taste.

Southwest Pasta Salad is so satisfying with just the right amount of zesty kick. Tender pasta, crunchy fresh veggies, corn, and black beans dressed with a delicious Chipotle Ranch Dressing. The perfect side dish for potlucks, cookouts, and BBQS.

What to serve with Southwest pasta salad

FAQS

What is a southwest salad made of?

This salad is made with fresh corn kernels, black beans, fresh veggies and tender pasta mixed with chipotle ranch dressing. Easy to make gluten-free and adapt veggies to your preferences.

How long does Southwest pasta salad last?

This salad will keep for about 3 days in the fridge for the freshest flavors. One tip is to add fresh tomatoes and avocado just before serving.

Can I make Southwest pasta salad vegan?

Yes! The Chipotle Ranch dressing can be easily altered to use vegan mayo and vegan sour cream.

More recipes you may like

Southwest Pasta Salad is so satisfying, with just the right amount of zesty kick. Tender pasta, crunchy fresh veggies, and black beans dressed with a delicious Chipotle Ranch Dressing—the perfect side dish for potlucks, cookouts, and BBQs.

Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.

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southwest pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad

  • Author: Tonia | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: salad, pasta salad
  • Method: Tossed
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Southwest Pasta Salad is so satisfying with just the right amount of zesty kick. Tender pasta, crunchy fresh veggies, corn, and black beans dressed with a delicious Chipotle Ranch Dressing. The perfect side dish for potlucks, cookouts, and BBQS.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups (165 grams) dry pasta
  • 2 cups corn (about 3 large ears of fresh corn) or use frozen, thawed.
  • 15 ounces black beans, drain and rinse
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • zest of 1 lime and lime juice to taste

Additional Ingredients: avocado, zucchini, Grilled Chicken, grilled shrimp, grilled tofu, grilled halloumi 

Chipotle Ranch Dressing

  • 1/3 cup mayo (can use vegan mayo)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (can use vegan sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (adjust to taste!) *see notes
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions using salted boiling water.
  2. Grill fresh husked corn on high heat, turning every 2-3 minutes until lightly charred. You can also do this in a skillet or grill pan on the stovetop. Cut the corn off the cob (a less messy way is to lay the cob perpendicular to the counter and slice thick slabs as you turn. Or use frozen corn that has been thoroughly thawed. (Fire roasted frozen corn is nice if available)
  3. In a bowl, stir together the cooked pasta, corn, black beans, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, coriander, salt and lime zest, and 1 cup Chipotle Ranch Dressing.
  4. Add more chipotle powder, lime juice, and salt to taste. You want it zesty and flavorful! If making ahead, taste it right before serving, adjusting the seasoning. 

Notes

Keep fresh sealed in the fridge for 3 days.

Additional Ingredients: Avocado (add just before serving), zucchini, black olives, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, cotija cheese, feta or cubes of cheddar. 

Chipotle Powder– we opt for chipotle pepper powder for unadulterated flavor and no hidden ingredients. You can use canned chipotle in adobo sauce.  Or sub chili powder and smoked paprika mixed.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 230
  • Sugar: 5.9 g
  • Sodium: 325.8 mg
  • Fat: 5.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.3 g
  • Fiber: 6.5 g
  • Protein: 9.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 3.7 mg

Keywords: Southwest pasta salad, corn pasta salad, corn and black bean pasta salad, Mexican pasta salad

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Comments

  1. Amazing recipe. Thank you! I used a vegan cream dressing and added chipotle powder to it and it tasted lovely!

  2. Loved this one!!! Unfortunately couldn’t get corn at the store but used green beans instead! Still sautéed them and it was perfect. I also added green olives. I could drink that chipotle ranch dressing! So good! Thanks for another great one!

  3. The dressing is so yummy! It kind of disappeared on the salad as pasta salads soak up so much liquid when storing in the fridge but then made another 1/2 batch of dressing. We loved the salad super saucy! I will be making this again!

  4. We really liked this salad. The fresh corn is a must! Added more spice and lime the next day and it freshened right up- delicious!!

  5. I usually love all your recipes. But this one was not one of my favs. I also made it a several hours in advance and it seems the noodles absorbed the dressing. It had a tacky consistency and was somewhat chalky. I followed the recipe exactly. I actually ended up tossing it. But again, I’m a huge fan this one just missed the mark for me.

    1. What a bummer Debbie, so sorry. Strange, I wonder what type of noodles you used? Also sometimes fresh corn can be chalky if not cooked fully…?

  6. First, I’m a loyal fan of this for blog and love that you offer dietary modifications. Sadly, this one missed the mark for me. I adapted it to be vegan. There’s spice for sure and flavor, but overall it’s just underwhelming :/

    It’s probably lovely using dairy and maybe I’ll experiment with different brands of non-dairy (which is likely the culprit!).

    1. Shoot Barbara, sorry about that….maybe it was the vegan substitution? Sometimes I find adding a little more salt and acid can work wonders- maybe give that a go?

  7. What a great Pasta Salad! we loved the flavourful dressing and the satisfying crunch! We made a few adjustments due to allergy and preference. Subbed basil/mint combo for cilantro and chili/smoky paprika for jalapeño. We used ‘smart pasta’ too! Highly recommended!

  8. This pasta salad is beautiful and delicious! For the sauce I used the coriander, no salt chipotle spice, lime zest and juice along with cilantro lime creme. It is so good I will make sure to make it for a gathering.

  9. The vegetables and chipotle dressing really make this exceptional. I used 4 ears of corn and added feta cheese but otherwise stuck to original recipe. Only pasta on hand was a corn/rice based penne. Quick and easy with maximum flavor. Will definitely add this to my rotation.

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