Easy Tex Mex Pasta Salad

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A delicious and super simple Tex Mex Pasta Salad with corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocados. An easy Catalina dressing tops this salad. Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com

A delicious and super simple Tex Mex Pasta Salad with corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and avocados. An easy Catalina dressing tops this salad. (NO MAYO pasta salad.)A delicious and super simple mayo-free Tex Mex Pasta Salad with corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocados. An easy Catalina dressing tops this salad.

A delicious and super simple Tex Mex Pasta Salad with corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocados. An easy Catalina dressing tops this salad. Recipe from chelseasmessyapron.com

This pasta salad is so easy to throw together. There are only 2 veggies to chop — the avocado and cherry tomatoes (OR lazy way: you could just leave the tomatoes whole) and 1 herb (cilantro), and two of the other ingredients just require a can opener. Then it’s just boiling the pasta and prepping the dressing which comes together super quickly.

The one little technique that takes this salad from great to WOW is tossing some of the dressing with the pasta before it’s totally cooled. I drain the pasta, rinse it in cold water for about 30 seconds and then toss it with a few tablespoons of the prepared dressing. This lets the dressing really soak into the noodles and absorb the flavor.

And while you can definitely make this ahead of time, leave out the avocado until you are right ready to serve it. And same with cheese if you choose to add some. We liked a little bit of queso fresco cheese on this salad. Enjoy this Tex Mex Pasta Salad!

A delicious and super simple Tex Mex Pasta Salad with corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocados. An easy Catalina dressing tops this salad. Recipe via chelseasmessyapron.com

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Easy Tex Mex Pasta Salad

4.75 from 4 votes
Print Recipe

Easy Tex Mex Pasta Salad

4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 package (12 ounces) bowtie noodles 12
  • 1 can roasted corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large avocados
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Optional: queso fresco cheese, fresh lime

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • To prepare the dressing, add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. If making this ahead of time (recommended, see note) store in the fridge.
  • Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water for about 30 seconds. Drain well.
  • Toss with a few tablespoons of the prepared dressing (make it while the pasta is cooking) and place in the fridge to chill.
  • Drain the roasted corn. Drain and rinse the black beans.
  • Halve the cherry tomatoes. Remove the skin and pit of the avocado and chop. Coarsely chop the cilantro.
  • Toss all the salad ingredients together.
  • Toss with the salad dressing and enjoy if desired with crumbled queso fresco and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Recipe Notes

This salad is best chilled. Best way to do that is to make the dressing ahead of time and chill it in the fridge for a few hours and then to also have the veggies in the fridge before chopping them up. If everything is chilled beforehand it can be enjoyed pretty soon after prepping it.

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More delicious pasta salads:

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35 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I added a splash of lime juice to the dressing, and it was really good that way too if anyone wants to try to make it easier to take for a lunch. Great recipe, thank you!

  2. I’m confused about the amount of sugar in the dressing. It says “1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar”. That seems like a high amount. Maybe I’m just having a blonde day! (Although, for me, every day is literally a blonde day!) So, I use 1/4 cup AND add 2 tbsp??

  3. I know I’m late, but can you please tell me if this is a vegan recipe? I’m considering going vegan and checking out recipes; this one came up, but I question the pasta. Is there a “vegan pasta”? Thanks

    1. Valerie, I was just scrolling through the comments and saw your questions so thought I would drop you a quick response. πŸ™‚ The only things I see that are not vegan are the optional cheese and the worchestershire sauce (has fish in it, I believe). You can find vegan worch. sauce and cheese but I also suspect you could leave them out altogether – I will omit them when I make this. Pasta is usually vegan but sometimes has egg in it; just check the ingredient list before you buy it.

  4. I just mixed this up for our supper tonight. I made one change. I like the taste of cilantro, but not in big pieces so I put the cilantro in the blender with the dressing ingredients. I had a small taste before I put the salad in the fridge to chill. Delicious! I can hardly wait for all the flavors to mix together.

  5. I made this and to my utter dissapointment, it was disgusting. Now I’ll admit I’m a picky eater but even my dad wouldn’t eat much of it. It was something about the ketchup and how insanely sweet it was that made everyone not really enjoy it.

    1. I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this pasta salad! πŸ™ That is the worst! The dressing is a catalina style dressing which is sweet and tomato-y; sorry this wasn’t for you!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never liked Catalina dressing before but this is so good i could drink it! Thanks for another delicious recipe.

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