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Southwestern Pasta Salad

I created this southwestern pasta salad for a friend who owns a catering business. I was told it was a hit at her events and it's now among the most-requested dishes. —Valonda Seward, Coarsegold, California
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salsa
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked spiral or cavatappi pasta
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 small green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced


  • In a small bowl, whisk the first 8 ingredients until blended. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl, mix pasta, corn, beans, tomatoes, olives, peppers, onion and 1/4 cup cilantro. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.
  • Just before serving, top with avocado and the remaining cilantro.
Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup: 203 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 191mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 4g fiber), 6g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.

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Average Rating:
  • Kim
    Jan 1, 2021

    Love! This recipe. Mix the first 8 ingredients (amounts of each to your liking), then taste and adjust. There is plenty of room for tweaking to your individual taste. It’s a great recipe as it stands and after customizing.

  • lshaw
    Aug 9, 2020

    Overall very good and I will make it again with the following changes: halve the lime juice and add in more salsa. I like lime juice but it is pungent and too much can be off-putting.

  • siden
    Jul 4, 2020

    No comment left

  • ReneeMurby
    Jul 2, 2020

    This was a bright and light pasta salad. It was very good. I did add a tablespoon of agave nectar to the dressing to offset the sharpness of the lime juice.

  • Donna
    Jul 1, 2020

    No comment left

  • amehart
    Jun 20, 2020

    Loved all the ingredients but the dressing lacked a little something. I will make again, but will tweak the dressing a little for more flavor my family prefers.

  • ms11145
    Jun 6, 2020

    I added more of the salsa , probably 1/3 of a cup. I only used app. 10 ounces of pasta instead of 16 and added an additional can of black beans because I wanted more vegetables than pasta. This made a great lunch.

  • Debra
    May 14, 2020

    We love all the ingredients in this recipe so I just made it for lunch. Unfortunately we were disappointed there wasn't more taste. I've read the reviews below so may try it again using some of the tips and bump up the cumin, salsa, cayenne and salt.

  • Heather
    May 11, 2020

    Wasn't sure that the lime juice was to be more than the olive oil so I switched the measurements. The salad turned out wonderful. Next time I will only make half batch, as it was double or even triple the amount I needed for 4 people!

  • Judie
    May 11, 2020

    Sounds delicious. Is there a good substitute for white wine vinegar--regular vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine????