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Easy Mexican Pasta Salad

April 12, 2021 (Last updated April 21, 2022) · Nicole Triebe

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 recipe 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!

Why we love this delicious pasta salad

It’s a simple recipe made without mayonnaise and has all the best things from your favorite Mexican street corn! It’s so easy to prepare and is the perfect sidekick to your favorite Mexican food! It’s the perfect pasta salad recipe!

What do you need for Mexican Pasta Salad?

ingredients to make mexican pasta salad in individual bowls

Al dente pasta (I love using farfalle or bow tie noodles for this Mexican pasta salad)

Fresh corn – (alternatively, you can use frozen sweet corn)

Green onions 

Fresh cilantro 

Jalapeño peppers

1/2 cup Queso Fresco Cheese or Feta Cheese (you can omit the cheese to make it a vegan Mexican pasta salad)

Cherry Tomatoes 

Black beans

Avocado

Madhava white wine vinegar

Lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup Madhava extra virgin olive oil

Additional optional ingredients you can add: Red or Green bell peppers, black olives, and red onions

How to make pasta salad

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta through a strainer and run under cold water. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.

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 big bowl.  Serve garnished with additional Queso Fresco cheese and cilantro if desired

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 is tossed with a creamy dressing that is vinegar and olive oil-based dressing that tastes fresh and clean, thanks to the lemon juice. With this flavor-packed avocado-based dressing, you won’t miss the typical heavy pasta salads! Additionally, creamy avocados contain a ton of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals!

What should I serve with pasta salad?

This colorful side dish would go great with:

Grilled pork

Veggie Tacos

Steak Fajitas

olive oil being poured on mexican pasta salad

FAQ and Expert Tips

Got leftovers? Store leftover Mexican pasta salad in the fridge in an airtight container.

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
Mexican pasta salad in large bowl with wooden tongs
Print
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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: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

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!

 


Ingredients

Scale

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


Instructions

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


Notes

Additional optional ingredients you can add: Red or Green bell peppers, black olives, and red onions

Got leftovers? Store leftover Mexican pasta salad in the fridge in an airtight container.

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.

 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 322
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 253mg
  • Fat: 21g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 15g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 29g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 6mg

Keywords: pasta; salad;

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