Southwest Pasta Salad

5 from 1 vote

This southwest pasta salad is made with fresh veggies, rotini pasta, and coated in a creamy homemade chipotle ranch dressing.

southwest pasta salad in a brown serving bowl
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Pasta salad is always a favorite side dish for potlucks, picnics, or lunches in the warm summer months.

Today’s pasta salad recipe that I am sharing was inspired by my favorite southwest salad recipe!

This delicious southwest pasta salad features crunchy fresh veggies, cooked rotini noodles, black beans, and the most delicious homemade creamy chipotle ranch dressing to tie it all together.

Ingredients you’ll need

  • rotini pasta: you can substitute whole wheat or gluten free pasta
  • fresh corn: you can use canned corn, but the fresh really has the best flavor!
  • lime
  • red bell pepper: or any color bell pepper
  • red onion
  • black beans
  • cilantro
  • cherry tomatoes
  • chipotle ranch dressing
ingredients needed to make southwest pasta salad

How to make southwest pasta salad

Step 1: First, start by making a batch of the chipotle ranch dressing in a blender or food processor.

The chipotle ranch is made with sour cream, mayonnaise, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, fresh lime juice, and a few spices. It’s creamy, mildly spicy, and so flavorful! You can adjust the peppers to taste to make it more or less spicy.

chipotle ranch dressing in a mason jar with a spoon

Step 2: Cook the rotini pasta to al dente according to the package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water immediately to stop the cooking process.

Step 3: Prepare the vegetables for the pasta salad. Cut up the fresh ears of corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion, red bell pepper, and cilantro.

Step 4: Add the drained black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro to a large serving bowl. Once the pasta is cool and mostly dry, add it to the other ingredients in the bowl.

pasta salad ingredients in a mixing bowl

Step 5: Add 1 ¼ cups of the homemade chipotle ranch dressing and stir well to combine. Chill the southwest pasta salad in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.

southwest pasta salad in a brown serving bowl

Avoiding dry pasta salad

Pasta salad will dry out once it is in the fridge for too long.

This dish will be best served after an hour in the fridge, which is long enough to marinate the ingredients with the dressing, but not too long to dry it out.

You will have about ½ cup of salad dressing leftover when you make this recipe. I suggest saving this to stir into any leftover pasta salad to give it some creaminess when you eat the leftovers!

southwest pasta salad on a serving plate next to the bowl
southwest pasta salad in a brown serving bowl

This is a great southwestern pasta salad recipe for any occasion. Try it for your next party, potluck, bbq, or as a side dish for summer!

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5 from 1 vote

Southwest Pasta Salad

By: Joy Shull
This southwest pasta salad is made with fresh veggies, rotini pasta noodles, and coated in a creamy chipotle ranch dressing. Perfect for summer potlucks or poolside lunches!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 16 oz rotini pasta
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the Chipotle Ranch Dressing

  • 8 oz sour cream
  • ¾ cup mayo
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice

Instructions 

  • Make a batch of the chipotle ranch dressing in a blender or food processor
  • Cook the rotini to al dente according to the package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water immediately
  • Make the chipotle ranch dressing by combining all of the ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Add the drained black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro to a bowl. Once the pasta is cool and mostly dry, add it to the other ingredients in the bowl
  • Add 1 ¼ cups of the homemade chipotle ranch dressing and stir well to combine. Store the leftover chipotle ranch dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Chill the pasta salad in the fridge for at least one hour before serving

Notes

You will have about ½ cup of the creamy chipotle ranch leftover that you can stir into the pasta salad when you serve it, if desired. Pasta salad will dry out in the fridge, so this is a good way to add more creaminess when you serve the leftovers.
If you want your dressing to be less spicy, you can start with using just 1 or 2 adobo peppers and add more to taste

Nutrition

Calories: 347kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 152mg, Potassium: 372mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 702IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 2mg
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