This southwest pasta salad is full of cold pasta, grilled chicken, and veggies, all coated in a delicious chipotle ranch dressing. It’s a perfect side dish for a summer bbq or potluck, or for a lighter lunch or dinner anytime.
I love a good pasta salad, it’s such a light but filling dish, that is so yummy. It’s perfect for a spring or summer potluck or bbq (although we may not be doing a lot of those right now, it’ll be the perfect thing to bring to a celebration barbecue when all this ends!) but it can also be enjoyed as a yummy lunch or dinner option any day of the week.
This southwest pasta salad is loaded with yummy southwest flavors. A little corn, red onion, tomatoes, black beans, bell pepper and cilantro all loaded with a yummy chipotle ranch dressing. These flavors just make me think of summer time!
One of the great things about this southwest pasta salad is that you can customize it however you want. You can add your choice of vegetables that you have on hand, or only the ones you love. Skip the chicken if you want to make it vegetarian. Cut the recipe in half if you don’t need as much. Add in some cheese, if you want. Use whatever medium or short noodles you have on hand. You name it.
Tips for making southwest pasta salad:
- Prep all your ingredients, while your noodles are cooking, and set them aside till you need them.
- You’ll need 2 cups of cooked chicken for this pasta salad. You can cook up your own chicken in a saute pan, or on the grill, or you can buy pre-cooked chicken from the store. A rotisserie chicken, or some chopped grilled chicken from the deli work great for this.
- You’ll use a chipotle ranch for the dressing on this pasta salad salad. You can use my homemade chipotle ranch or you can buy some from the store.
- You can put your choice of toppings in this pasta salad. I added canned black beans and corn, with fresh red onion, green bell pepper, and tomatoes. Some other good toppings would be avocado, diced jalapeno, or black olives.
- You can cut the recipe in half if you don’t want or need to make enough for a big group.
- Add some cotjia cheese, queso fresco, shredded cheddar, or other cheeses to the pasta salad.
How to make southwest pasta salad?
You’ll start by bringing a large pot of water to boil. Add in your noodles and cook according to package directions, till cooked al dente. While the pasta is cooking, get all your other ingredients ready, drain and rinse your black beans. Drain your corn. Dice up your bell peppers and red onion. And slice up your tomatoes. Chop up your cilantro. Dice your grilled chicken.
After the noodles are cooked, rinse them off with cold water, and allow them to dry completely. In a large bowl, mix your noodles, bell pepper, red onion, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chicken, and cilantro. Add in the chipotle ranch dressing and stir to coat everything evenly with the dressing. Cover the pasta salad and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
How long does southwest pasta salad last?
This southwest pasta salad is a perfect make ahead dish, because the flavors just meddle more the longer it sets in the fridge. It can stay in a covered container for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
This southwest pasta salad is loaded with so many good fresh ingredients! All topped with an amazing creamy dressing. It’s the perfect mix of great flavors and textures, and every bite is so delicious!
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Southwestern Pasta Salad
- 12 oz rotini pasta (or other medium sized noodled)
- 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 can corn (drained)
- 1 cup bell pepper (diced)
- 1 cup red onion (diced)
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (cut in half)
- 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
- 2 cups grilled chicken (chopped)
- 1 cup chipotle ranch dressing
- Cook your noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow to drip dry.
- Drain your black beans, and corn, and rinse.
- Cut up your bell pepper, red onion, and tomatoes.
- Chop up your cilantro.
- Chop up your chicken.
- In a large bowl, stir together your pasta, black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and chicken.
- Stir in the chipotle ranch dressing until everything is evenly coated.
- Cover bowl and place in the fridge for 1 hour, up to a few hours, then serve.
This southwest pasta salad was first posted on June 4, 2014. Photos and recipe updated on May 6th, 2020.
Post was originally sponsored by Hunts Tomatoes as part of Collective Bias.