Mexican Pasta Salad

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The ultimate BEST EVER MEXICAN PASTA SALAD with an easy delicious chili-lime vinaigrette. via chelseasmessyapron.com

This Mexican pasta salad is packed with veggies, beans, and the most amazing chili-lime dressing!

The ultimate BEST EVER MEXICAN PASTA SALAD with an easy delicious chili-lime vinaigrette. via chelseasmessyapron.com

Most pasta salads tend to be on the heavier side with lots of mayo (and trust me, I’m not complaining about those because I LOVE them), but this pasta salad is definitely on the lighter side. It’s got a vinegar and olive oil based dressing that tastes so fresh thanks to the lime juice. I promise you will NOT miss the mayo in this salad!

It’s got the perfect amount of spice and all the best “Mexican” flavors! Plus it comes together pretty quickly — you don’t have all that much veggie chopping and the dressing is just made by shaking ingredients together in a mason jar. This pasta salad is one of my very favorite meals and I hope you all love it too. πŸ™‚ The ultimate BEST EVER MEXICAN PASTA SALAD with an easy delicious chili-lime vinaigrette. I chelseasmessyapron.com

The ultimate BEST EVER MEXICAN PASTA SALAD with an easy delicious chili-lime vinaigrette. I via chelseasmessyapron.com

The ultimate BEST EVER MEXICAN PASTA SALAD with an easy delicious chili-lime vinaigrette. recipe from chelseasmessyapron.com

A few notes/tips for this Mexican Pasta Salad:

  • Pasta: use whatever shape pasta you like best! I’d recommend pasta that is a little smaller and the more texture, the better! The more texture on the pasta, the more it can absorb the dressing and ensure that it gets spread to every section of the pasta.
  • Prep beforehand: this is a salad that can easily be made ahead of time. If you do want to make it ahead of time, prep the salad and dressing separate and store in airtight containers in the fridge separately. When you’re ready to serve toss them together and then add the avocado (and if desired cheese). You want to avoid adding the avocado until just before eating so it stays fresh and green. If you want to enjoy this salad as leftovers, add avocado to just the section you’ll be eating.
  • Toss often: if the pasta salad sits for any length of time, the dressing tends to settle at the bottom.
  • Tomato cutting hack: if you want to cut your tomatoes quickly, easily, and all at once there’s an awesome tomato cutting “hack” I use often. Grab a plate with a lip on the bottom and set it upside down on the table. Place the cherry tomatoes on top and then place another plate (with a lip on the bottom) on top (right side up) of the tomatoes. Gently press the top plate down and using a sharp serrated knife, cut through all of the tomatoes at once. Easy!
  • Rinse the pasta in cold water: once the pasta has been drained, rinse it in cold water and toss it with a few tablespoons of the dressing. This keeps the pasta from sticking together as it finishes cooling and infuses it with the delicious dressing flavor!

The ultimate BEST EVER MEXICAN PASTA SALAD with an easy delicious chili-lime vinaigrette. recipe from chelseasmessyapron.com

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Mexican Pasta Salad

5 from 5 votes
This Mexican pasta salad is packed with veggies, beans, and the most amazing chili-lime dressing!
Print Recipe

Mexican Pasta Salad

5 from 5 votes
This Mexican pasta salad is packed with veggies, beans, and the most amazing chili-lime dressing!
Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side
Calories 371kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 3 and 1/2 cups mini farfelle pasta, measured when dry
  • 1 cup corn (fresh preferred, canned ok)
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 3/4 cup assorted sweet bell peppers, chopped (or just 1 bell pepper)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped, ~1/3 a bunch
  • 1 ripe avocado, pit removed and chopped
  • Optional: cotija or queso fresco cheese

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons squeezed fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon and 1/2 chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Optional: toss the pasta in a few tablespoons of the dressing as it finishes cooling!
  • If using fresh corn, either grill the corn (our favorite way) or boil the corn and then cut off the corn kernels. If grilling the corn, brush vegetable oil and lightly salt + pepper.
  • 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.
  • Finely chop up the red onion and cilantro.
  • Stir together the pasta, corn, black beans, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. Add avocado last (and only to what you are eating; don't add to any salad you have planned for leftovers). If desired add in the cheese!
  • 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)
  • 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. Add avocado last!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 371kcal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




36 Comments

    1. THANK YOU so much for sharing. Made a double batch because it was the meal rather than a side. NO LEFTOVERS! Did avocado & cilantro on the side (I have haters) and added diced,grilled chicken. Unanimous vote for again AND often.

    1. 5 stars
      Just a sideline after i noticed the posts about lime issues…. I used Italia brand lime juice from the squeezy container and it didn’t hurt the recipe at all.

  1. 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. Ok, this is definitely happening in my kitchen…SOON! That looks so good, thanks for another stellar recipe πŸ™‚

  3. 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 πŸ™‚

  4. 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 πŸ™‚

  5. Would love to invite you to share your food photos with us over at Food Foto Gallery . com – There’s no complicated approval process like the big guys. Any photos related to food (that are not watermarked) are accepted & get posted automatically. We also share our daily faves on social media, giving exposure to food bloggers when we can. Let me know if you have any questions and hope to see you at the site πŸ™‚

  6. 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. 5 stars
    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. 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. πŸ™‚

    1. 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 πŸ™‚

  9. 5 stars
    This was truly delish! The dressing is great and also a fabulous way to use leftover pasta! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. This salad looks incredible! And you take the most beautiful pictures. Can the rice vinegar be substituted? It’s the only vinegar I don’t have on hand.

    1. 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. Add avocado last!

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