All Recipes, Salads, Sides, Vegetarian

Mexican Pasta Salad

April 12, 2021

This Mexican Pasta Salad is the ultimate summer BBQ side dish! Colorful bowtie pasta + juicy tomatoes + black beans pair with a creamy avocado vinaigrette for a salad everyone will love!

Counting down the days until it’s officially grilling season here at Windy City Dinner Fairy household. We are 75% of the way to officially being vaccinated and I can’t WAIT to have some summer hangs with our friends and neighbors.

Baby Dinner Fairy is almost a year and a half old and has been keeping me on my toes, literally running all over the place! His favorite thing to do since the weather has been warmer is to go “side” (outside) on walks or just playing in the backyard. So this summer I’m planning on keeping meals very simple here: grilled meats and veggies and a simple side dish, so I can keep my eye on him! This Mexican pasta salad is the perfect pair for grilled chicken or brats! I made it while he was napping yesterday and threw it in the fridge for dinner, so it’s perfect for making ahead for entertaining!

mexican pasta salad ingredients in large bowl

Is this Pasta Salad healthy?

This Mexican pasta salad is a little lighter than most because of the avocado vinaigrette. Many pasta salads most are used to eating feel a bit heavier because the dressing is often made with mayonnaise. However, this pasta salad is much lighter! It has a vinegar and olive oil-based dressing that tastes fresh and clean, thanks to the lemon juice. With this creamy flavor-packed avocado-based dressing, you won’t miss the typical heavy pasta salads! Additionally, avocados contain a ton of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals!

olive oil being poured on mexican pasta salad

Tips for making a good pasta salad:

Use small textured pasta – The more ridges or multicolored farfalle for this Mexican pasta salad because the colors are beautiful and make this bright and fresh salad a centerpiece! If you want to use something you already have at home, choose penne, cavatappi, or Rotini for your pasta salad.

Choose a dried pasta – (not fresh), and make sure it can hold up when it’s tossed with the creamy avocado dressing and other ingredients in the dish.   Best choices are short pasta shapes with plenty of nooks and crannies.  Their size makes them easy to serve and eat, and their grooves and nooks provide plenty of spaces to hold dressing, cheeses, and other scrumptious ingredients.

Rinse the pasta in cold water – Once the pasta has been drained, rinse it in cold water and toss it with a few tablespoons of olive oil or the avocado vinaigrette. This prevents the pasta from sticking together as it finishes cooling.

Salt the water – Make sure the water that you cook the pasta in is well-salted as it cooks; salting is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta. Without seasoning the water, the salad as a whole will taste bland.

mexican pasta salad being tossed in serving bowl

What should I serve with pasta salad?

This colorful side dish would go great with:

Steak Fajitas

Grilled pork

Veggie Tacos


Mexican Pasta Salad

  • Author: Nicole Triebe
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 68 side servings 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Mexican



For the salad:

2 cups farfalle/bowtie pasta

1 cup frozen corn

3 green onions 

1/2 bunch cilantro 

1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño peppers

1/2 cup Queso Fresco Cheese 

1 large tomato, diced 

1/2 cup canned black beans, drained & rinsed

For the dressing:

1/2 ripe avocado

3 tbl Madhava white wine vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbl chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup Madhava extra virgin olive oil


Put all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl.  Toss to combine.

To make the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Toss the salad with the dressing in a large mixing bowl.  Serve garnished with additional Queso Fresco cheese and cilantro if desired

Keywords: pasta; salad;

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