When pasta salad takes a metaphorical trip south of the border to Mexico, magical things happen! This Mexican Pasta Salad has corn, black beans, cilantro and chili pepper and the most delicious creamy dressing. It’s a tasty cookout side dish you’ll make all summer long! 

the bowl of Mexican pasta salad on a black table with a rustic mat underneath it with two glasses of white wine

Why We Love This Recipe For Mexican Pasta Salad

Chef-tested and adoringly approved by potluck goers and hungry kiddos, this 35-minute Mexican Pasta Salad recipe is a zesty take on pasta salad. We love Mexican food around here so it was only a matter of time before we tried adding lime, cilantro, chili, black beans and corn to pasta salad.

Love Mexican Salads Too? Try our Mexican Corn Salad, Mexican Bean Salad and Mexican Coleslaw next!

Ingredients

For the pasta salad dressing:

  • Greek yogurt: helps keep it low in cals but nice and creamy
  • Mayonnaise: For richness and to make the dressing creamy
  • Lime juice: sub in a vinegar of your choice if you don’t have it (just not balsamic)
  • Honey: helps balance the acidity of the dressing
  • Spices: Salt, Ground cumin, chili powder and smoked paprika

For the Salad you’ll need:

  • Bowtie pasta: Or another medium pasta shape like rotini or cavatapi
  • Black beans: 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • Fresh jalapeño pepper: minced. Remove seeds to make it less spicy
  • Corn: Fresh corn cut off the cob, frozen and thawed or canned and drained all work
  • Cherry tomatoes: cut in half
  • Cilantro: chopped (skip it if you don’t like cilantro)
  • Red onion: Finely diced, or you could use green onions

How To Make Mexican Pasta Salad

the pasta in a colander
Step 1: Cook the pasta. Drain it and rinse with cool water to remove excess starch.

Step 1: Cook pasta

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water up to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it until it is al dente, according to the time specified on the package instructions. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and then rinse it with cold water. This is important because it will cool it down and also rinse away any starches that would cause the pasta to stick together.

the dressing in a white bowl
Step 2: Whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

Step 2: Make the dressing

Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Add lime juice, honey and seasoning and whisk to combine.

the pasta salad after it is stirred together
Step 3: Add the drained pasta, veggies and beans to the dressing and stir to combine.

Step 3: Chop the Vegetables and Stir it Together

Add the drained and rinsed cooked pasta along with the black beans, jalapeno, sweet corn, tomatoes, fresh cilantro and red onion. Stir everything to combine and serve immediately or chill.

the pasta salad before it is stirred together

Chef Katie’s Expert Tips

How to store this salad:

Store leftover Mexican pasta salad in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It will not be as creamy so please follow our instructions below if you are planning to make this in advance for a party. If your leftover pasta salad absorbs all of the dressing, you can mix up a little extra dressing to add to it or add a couple of spoonfuls of Greek yogurt or sour cream and a glug of olive oil to make it creamy again. I usually have to add a little salt to taste because I find that the flavors are a little muted on the second day.

What else can I add to this Mexican Pasta Salad?

You could add cubes chicken breast, green bell peppers, diced fresh avocado, shredded cheese, or chopped bell peppers. If you have leftover grilled corn, you can cut it off the cob and use it in place of the frozen corn. The charred corn adds a great smoky flavor. Or try adding crumbled cotija cheese!

How spicy is this recipe?

I would say, on a spice scale from 1 to 10, this recipe is a 4. If you are heat sensitive, note that jalapenos can range in spiciness, you can always taste a tiny bit and see how spicy yours is before adding any. Or you can add half of the amount and stir everything together, taste the salad and add more if you want more spice. Also note in the UK some chili powders are very spicy compared to the US and these should be used only to taste. Do not use hot smoked paprika unless you want very spicy pasta salad.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

To make a vegan Mexican pasta salad simply swap your favorite plant-based yogurt for the Greek Yogurt and make sure your mayo is vegan (we like Vegenaise.)

What to Pair with this Mexican Pasta Salad

Make Ahead Instructions

I like this pasta salad best when it is freshly made. The texture of the dressing is best when the salad was not refrigerated. So if you want to make this recipe ahead here is how:

  1. Cook the pasta, rinse it with water and drizzle two teaspoons of olive oil. Store in a Ziplock bag or airtight container.
  2. Whisk the dressing together up to three days in advance. Store it in a jar or resealable container.
  3. Cut the vegetables up to four hours in advance and keep separate.
  4. When you are ready to serve everything, get out a big mixing bowl and stir it all together.

At Healthy Seasonal Recipes, we specialize in cooking with fresh veggies and creating weeknight meals. Sign up HERE to get more produce-forward dinner ideas for FREE! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought! Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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A bowl of Pasta with beans and corn

Mexican Pasta Salad


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.4 from 12 reviews

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Our 35-minute recipe for Mexican pasta salad is made with black beans, corn, cilantro, lime and creamy yogurt dressing with Mexican spice. It is a true crowd-pleaser to prepare for a summer party!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 10 ounces bowtie pasta
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, preferably fat free
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 15ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno, minced, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen (or fresh) corn, thawed
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Whisk yogurt and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Add lime juice, honey, cumin, salt, chili powder and smoked paprika and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Add black beans, jalapeno, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and red onion. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or chill.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions

  1. You can make the pasta, and rinse it with water. Then drizzle two teaspoons of olive oil or another neutral salad oil over the pasta and stir to coat it. Transfer it to a resealable container. It won’t stick together this way.
  2. Whisk the dressing together up to three days in advance. Store it in a jar or resealable container.
  3. Cut the vegetables up to four hours in advance and keep separate.
  4. When you are ready to serve everything, get out a big mixing bowl and stir it all together. For the prettiest presentation, then transfer it to a serving bowl so the edges of your bowl will be clean.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 187 cal
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 387 mg
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 7 g

I originally shared this recipe on May 22, 2020.