Mexican Pasta Salad
Friends, I don’t know if Mexican pasta salad was a thing before now, but I do know that when pasta salad takes a metaphorical trip south of the border to Mexico, magical things happen! The corn, black beans, cilantro and chili pepper make it a totally unique and delicious cookout side dish you’ll make all summer long!
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If you’re stuck in a rut of making pasta salad the same way every time, I am here to say, break out of the cycle and invite your taste buds to flavor city! Or should I say ciudad sabor! The creamy spicy dressing in this recipe alone is enough to convince even the biggest skeptics! Then add to that black beans, corn, cherry tomatoes and cilantro and you have a winner of a side salad recipe!
Since I am kinda obsessed with Mexican Side Dish Salads so I had a feeling pasta would taste great with my favorite Tex Mex and Mexican flavors (lime, cilantro, chili, corn etc). I mean this delicious Mexican Corn Salad, or my favorite Mexican Bean Salad and the easy as can be but so yummy Mexican Coleslaw should have tipped me off.
Now that this recipe is tested and ready to share with you all, I can not wait to hear what you think! Read on to get all the deets about how to make this recipe.
Ingredients For This Mexican Pasta Salad Recipe
Full amounts and instructions are listed below in the recipe card.
For the dressing you will need:
Using greek yogurt in the dressing makes it creamy but it is lower in calories than mayonnaise, so it makes this recipe healthier! I use fat free, but even full fat will give you a calorie saving over mayonnaise.
I only needed to use two tablespoons of mayonnaise to give it a little bit more richness and flavor.
The lime makes the dressing tangy. If you do not have one, you could sub in lemon juice or two tablespoons of vinegar.
The sweetness of the honey helps to balance the tangy flavors in the dressing and balance the spiciness of the jalapeno and spices.
Spices: cumin, salt, chili powder and smoked paprika:
The spices give the pasta salad tons of Mexican flavor!
For the Salad you’ll need:
I like the way bowtie or farfalle pasta works in this recipe, but if you happen to have another or prefer a different shape by all means substitute that in. You can also use gluten-free pasta if you are on a gluten-free diet.
Canned black beans:
The beans add vegetarian protein and fiber! I like to buy canned beans that are packaged without BPA in the lining of the cans.
Mince it up fine to give the salad a kick! If you want less heat, omit the seeds. Or you can skip the japapeño all together! Since jalapenos can range in spiciness, you can always taste a tiny bit and see before adding. Or you can add half of the amount and stir everything together, taste the salad and add more if you want more spice.
Frozen or fresh corn kernels:
Add in corn for mexican flair, and a summery vibe! I used frozen in mine, but when corn is ready later this summer I will use fresh cut from a cooked cob.
I like the way cherry tomatoes hold up in a side dish salad like this, but if you have slicing tomatoes you can use them instead. Diced tomato will let off more liquid, so add them just before serving.
The flavor of the cilantro really seals the deal in terms of the overall vibe of this recipe. If you don’t like cilantro you can leave it out.
A little goes a long way. I like to cut it nice and fine.
How To Make Mexican Pasta Salad
Cook Pasta First
Make The Dressing
Chop the Vegetables
Then you’ll want to chop your cilantro, slice your cherry tomatoes and finely dice your onion. You can do this while the a pasta is boiling.
Stir it Together
Once the pasta is rinsed, add it to the bowl with the dressing, beans, corn and other vegetables.
Steps To Make This Recipe
Make Ahead Instruction For Creamy Mexican Pasta Salad
I liked this pasta salad best when it was freshly made. I felt like the texture of the dressing was best when the salad was not refrigerated. So if you want to make this recipe ahead here is how.
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.
Whisk the dressing together up to three days in advance. Store it in a jar or resealable container.
Cut the vegetables up to four hours in advance and keep separate.
To Mix and Serve:
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.
Make sure to use a silicone spatula to scrape the dressing out of the container it’s in. You don’t want to miss any of it!
Menu Pairing Ideas For This Recipe
For a Mexican Themed Cookout
- Pour these Smoky Mezcal Margaritas
- Make up a batch of homemade Pico De Gallo and serve with chips.
- Make a batch of these 30 Minute Mexican Fajita Kebabs from Fit Foodie Finds
- Don’t forget the Mexican Chocolate Brownies from Dorothy!
For a Vegetarian Family Meal
- We love these fall apart tender Southwest Bean Burgers.
- A garden salad with my Yogurt and Cumin Seed dressing would be lovely.
For a Make Ahead Barbecue Party
- Have fun making a Guacamole bar with 5 ways to mix it up!
- My Mango, black bean and quinoa salad would also make a yummy addition.
- My Favorite Garlic Marinade goes with pretty much everything! Use whichever protein you like!
- For dessert, bust out a batch of these Raspberry Crumble Bars!
More Inspired Pasta Salads
One of my favorite recipes from last summer is my Italian Pasta Salad.
This is a healthier take on classic Garden Macaroni Salad with Cheese.
Greek yogurt helps to lighten up this creamy Pasta Salad with Peas and Ham.
Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe, please let me know how it goes. Leave a star rating and review below. I really love getting your feedback. It is so helpful!
Mexican Pasta Salad with corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeño is a delicious side dish salad to make for summer cookouts. The creamy Greek yogurt dressing with spices and lime add so much unique flavor!
10 ounces bowtie pasta
½ cup Greek yogurt, preferably fat free
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 15-ounce 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
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely diced red onion
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Whisk yogurt and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Add lime juice, honey, cumin, salt, chili powder and smoked paprika and whisk to combine.
- Add the pasta and stir to combine. Add black beans, jalapeno, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and red onion. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or chill.
Make Ahead Instructions
- 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.
- Whisk the dressing together up to three days in advance. Store it in a jar or resealable container.
- Cut the vegetables up to four hours in advance and keep separate.
- 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.
- 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