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June 14, 2021

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Tossed in avocado lime dressing, this vegan Southwestern pasta salad is a mix of grilled corn, black beans, tomatoes, radishes and scallions.

Tossed in avocado lime dressing, this vegan Southwestern pasta salad is a mix of grilled corn, black beans, tomatoes, radishes and scallions.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

I used to think it was a bit much how some people go head over heels for avocado, but now I’m one of them.

And yes, finally I get the enthusiasm for avocado toast and adding avocado whenever and wherever it seems appropriate.

Lately, I have been all about using avocado as a base for pasta sauce. I make this 15-minute vegan pasta at least once a week.

Now that has inspired me to do a summer version.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

This Southwestern pasta salad is tossed in an avocado lime dressing that comes together in minutes in a food processor or blender.

I am always amazed how the pasta, corn, black beans and tomatoes soak up that bright green, garlicky and herby dressing.

The final result is a filling vegan pasta salad that’s big on vegetables with a creamy dressing that has the flavors of avocado, lime, cilantro and garlic.

It is a very sharable pasta salad that’s perfect for a summer potluck.

Stirring together pasta and vegetables

The Ingredients

This is what you need for this pasta salad:

  • Pasta: Corkscrew-shaped fusilli soaks up the avocado dressing and mixes well with the corn, black, beans and tomatoes. You can use gluten-free pasta like lentil or chickpea.
  • Corn: Grilled corn is the only cooked ingredient other than the pasta. I love the crisp crunch of the kernels throughout the salad.
  • Black beans: Adding beans to any salad makes it filling to the point that you can serve it as a side or a main dish.
  • Tomatoes: I cut grape tomatoes into quarters for the pasta salad.
  • Radishes: For some fresh peppery crunch, I also stir in sliced radishes.
  • Scallions: Sliced scallions add subtle oniony flavor that balances with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Cilantro: There is chopped cilantro in the salad and more cilantro blended into the dressing.
  • Avocado Lime Dressing: For this vegan pasta salad, I make a dressing with avocado, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper.
Grilled corn

How To Make This Southwestern Pasta Salad

First, I preheat the grill to get the outside cooking out of the way. I grill three ears of corn until they are lightly charred.

Back inside, I slice the kernels off the cobs once they are cool enough to handle.

Then I make the pasta according to package instructions. Right when the pasta is al dente, I drain the cooking water through a colander and rinse the noodles to stop them from cooking. Also, I want to make sure they don’t stick together.

In a large bowl, I combine the pasta with the grilled corn, black beans, tomatoes, radishes, scallions and chopped cilantro.

Avocado Lime Dressing

Now it’s time for the avocado lime dressing, which is my favorite part of the recipe.

You can use a food processor or blender to puree avocado, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper into a creamy vegan dressing.

Then stir the dressing into the pasta and vegetables. It will look like a lot, but it ends up lightly coating all the ingredients.

Southwest Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is a great side especially with a grilled main dish. 

You can also turn it into more of a salad by adding whatever greens you have in your kitchen such as kale, arugula, romaine or spinach

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Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x

Tossed in avocado lime dressing, this vegan Southwestern pasta salad is a mix of grilled corn, black beans, tomatoes, radishes and scallions.

Ingredients

  • For salad
  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 115 ounce black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
  • 4 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • For avocado lime dressing
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.
  2. Cook the fusilli in salted boiling water until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water in a colander. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Rub the corn with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Let the corn cool slightly before slicing the kernels off the cobs.
  4. Fold in the corn, black beans, tomatoes, radishes, scallions and chopped cilantro in the pasta.
  5. For the dressing, puree the avocado, garlic, lime juice, 1/2 cup cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir the dressing into the pasta salad.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x

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