{Vegetarian} 30-minute Southwest Pasta Salad

A vegetarian southwest pasta salad that takes less than 30 minutes to make and is drenched in the most delicious and spicy dressing! Lots of fresh vegetables included and protein from the beans.

(Under 30 minutes) Incredible Southwest Pasta Salad

So I was at the grocery store yesterday morning. Pretty early. I like to go early to hopefully ensure all the food I want is there and I won’t need to wait in long lines.

The little babe can get preeee-tty impatient if we are waiting in long lines.

He’s ready to get home and eat all the stuff I bought some nasty mashed up vegetables. {Blech.}

(Under 30 minutes) Incredible Southwest Pasta Salad

However, sometimes it doesn’t quite work out like I’m hoping.

The limes hadn’t been stocked and what they had left were the size of olives. Okay, a little exaggeration. But seriously, smallest limes ever!

I  had to buy about twenty to make the dressing. You’ll probably only need one or two.

And the lines were pretty long. Or the one line that was open was pretty long. Luckily, the babe was incredibly fascinated with the man behind us.

(Under 30 minutes) Incredible Southwest Pasta Salad

This nice older guy was just minding his own business behind us. And Grey (my baby) could not stop craning his neck to get around me and stare at him.

I tried to inconspicuously move out of his vision since this man was keeping him very happy. #fail. I’m never inconspicuous.

And once Grey could see all of him, he just started giggling. And didn’t stop.

So the man smiled at him. Which only made him giggle more. I had no idea why, but it was pretty entertaining to watch. And it kept him extremely happy for the long wait in line.

(Under 30 minutes) Incredible Southwest Pasta Salad

Long story = not much explanation needed for this dish. It’s spicy, tasty, and super quick to make. All while being pretty healthy for you.

The veggies chop up quick – just tomatoes and peppers to cut. The dressing is AMAZING and very quick to put together. Basically combine some spices + vinegar + olive oil + lime juice in a resealable container and shake, shake, shake. (<– so a man can make the babe laugh, but me shaking and dancing with dressing isn’t at all funny to him. And I tried so hard. Go figure :) )

Also, how cute are those mini little pastas? They are miniature farfelle. You can use whatever pasta you’d like. I’d recommend one with more texture though to absorb all that dressing.

(Under 30 minutes) Incredible Southwest Pasta Salad

5.0 from 3 reviews
{Vegetarian} 30-minute Southwest Pasta Salad
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups mini farfelle pasta (measured when dry)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 3/4 cup assorted sweet bell peppers*
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, (optional)
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro (~1/3 a bunch), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons squeezed fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Cook the pasta according to package direction. Add in the frozen corn about 1-2 minutes before the pasta is done.
  2. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water.
  3. Meanwhile, drain and rinse one cup of black beans. Chop up assorted sweet peppers (I used miniature ones, but if you'd rather use just one large one, that works as well). Halve the cherry tomatoes.
  4. Finely chop up the red onion and cilantro.
  5. Stir together the pasta, corn, black beans, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.
  6. In a resealable jar, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Shake until combined. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables. Stir to combine. (You may not want to use all the dressing - so add it slowly)
  7. To make ahead: mix all the ingredients and the dressing separate. Store in airtight containers in the fridge and then combine when ready to eat.

More pasta salads:

Pasta with Chicken, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese

Pasta with Chicken, Spinach, Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese

Lemon Poppyseed Dressed Pasta Salad

Lemon Poppyseed Dressed Pasta Salad

Tortellini and Pasta Pesto Salad

Tortellini and Pasta Pesto Salad


  1. says

    Limes must be having issues right now because the ones at my store were the size of peas this past weekend! Beautiful looking salad! I love all the colors and am such a fan of southwest flavors, I can definitely see myself bringing this to a BBQ in the near future!

  2. Shelby says

    Ok, this is definitely happening in my kitchen…SOON! That looks so good, thanks for another stellar recipe :)

  3. says

    What a fabulous salad! This is the perfect thing to bring to a get-together this summer. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous, Chelsea. I am loving the light :).
    Also, what is happening to limes right now? I was just at the grocery store to buy some and ran into the same problem. Teeny tiny limes… I know there is a shortage and all, but I sure hope that changes sometime soon or I’ll be in big trouble, ha! Pinned :)

  4. says

    This salad is gorgeous Chelsea! I love how bright and pretty your salads all look not to mention super yummy! Aaw, so nice that despite the long line, Grey was able to giggle and smile so much and that the man was nice and smiled back :)

  5. says

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  6. says

    I’m a fan of anything with the word “southwest” in the title. Love those flavors! And has anyone else noticed how expensive limes are lately? Or is that just in NY?? They are like 75 cents a pop here right now!

    And yea, I’m not a fan of long grocery lines either. They stink.

  7. Stephanie says

    This is really good! The dressing mix is perfect. I love basic recipes like this that lend themselves to be altered, although I didn’t this time; one could definitely add olives, cubed cheese, etc.

  8. Sheri says

    love it! have searched and searched for a pasta salad with lots of veggies and a great dressing. Thank you! Am making it for my contribution to a “back to school” luncheon for parents and PTA members. :)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      That sounds like fun!! This is one of my family’s favorite salads and one of my personal favorites so I hope everyone loves it :)

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