Saturday, September 24, 2011

Southwest Pasta Salad

IMG_0667eI was asked to prepared the meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner for all the home & visiting team Coaches as well as the Judges for today’s Metro Retro Meet at Maisie’s gym.  I decided that lunch would include my Fire Roasted Tomato and Chicken Tortilla Soup with homemade tortilla strips, a fresh garden salad with a copycat of Chili’s Honey Lime Dressing* and a pasta salad.  I am not a big pasta eater and I generally find pasta salads, well…just boring and blah.  So, I set out and searched the internet looking for something that I thought would complement the flavor profile of the soup and salad and also be kick @ss wonderful. 

I have to say, I found that absolutely kick @ss wonderful pasta salad recipe on Our Best Bites and it’s their Southwest Pasta Salad.  Both my test taster Lisa and I thought that the flavors were just wonderful and the salad was oh-so simple to make.  The Judges and Coaches all really liked the pasta salad as well as all the other lunch items too.  I stayed pretty true to the original recipe with just a couple of minor changes so now, no more boring and blah pasta salads in this house as this recipe is a keeper!   


Southwest Pasta Salad (Adapted from here)

1/2 lb pasta
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 each, medium yellow, red and orange bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup frozen fresh corn
zest from 2 limes, minced
1/2 cup Queso Fresco, crumbled

6 TBS fresh lime juice (about 3 juicy limes)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
5 large cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp dark chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander 
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
3 tsp sugar (add a touch more if your limes are extra sour/bitter)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro


Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. 

While the past is cooking, prepare dressing. Zest the limes directly into a large salad bowl.  Juice the limes into a blender and add the vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and sugar.  Process until smooth.  With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated.  Add the cilantro and pulse so it gets broken up, but some pieces still remain in tact.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse immediately with cold water to cool.  Place the pasta in the large salad bowl with the lime zest.  Add black beans, tomatoes, diced pepper, green onions, corn (no need to thaw the corn).  Toss with dressing.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste.  For best results, chill for 1 hour before serving.  Right before serving mix in the crumbled cheese.  Serve with extra lime wedges if desired.

*  Chili’s Honey Lime Dressing

1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
3 Teaspoon sugar
2 Teaspoon sesame oil
3 Teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 Teaspoon lime juice

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Cover and chill.



  1. Looks great - I adore tomatoes. Just looking at this picture made my mouth water. :)

  2. Oooh, this one looks fabulous. And I love pasta salads!

  3. I'm going to have to try this one. I love the soup. I bet this taste yummy as well.

  4. I can't wait to try the dressing. I have all of the ingredients on hand. Just need to pick up some lettuce. The pasta salad looks so delicious. The flavors sound amazing. My mouth is watering. Yummy!

  5. I love pasta salad, and I really love new dressing recipes. I cannot wait to try it!

  6. Hmmm... looks so good. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I want to try this one. Visiting from FTF. Hope to see you at my blog.

  7. So fab! :) Will definitely try this one. Thanks for the recipe! :)

    Visiting from FTF.
    Lechon for Everybody

  8. Hi Lisa,
    Your Southwest Pasta Salad looks so delicious. I just love this flavor combination. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  9. This looks really tasty and a nice twist on pasta salad. I think I would also add avocado to it.

  10. That looked festive!

    Hopping from Food Trip Friday.

  11. Wish I had been a visiting coach at that meal. I love a good pasta salad myself. I have a couple of kick ass pasta salad recipes go to recipes but I might try yours next time. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Will try your recipe coz hubby is so addicted to salads and I'm running out of variations! lol

    Visiting from FTF

  13. Your lunch sounds wonderful - and that pasta salad - oh my! What delicious flavours, and what a healthy recipe too. Thank you for sharing it with Let's Do Brunch.

  14. This looks and sounds incredible! I'm bookmarking it right now.

  15. Hi Lisa, the pasta recipe looks delicious. I shall have to try it soon. Pasta salads are not only for summertime. I recently found your blog and hope to visit often. Please pop on over to mine and hopefully you will follow me also. I would like that. Hugs, Chris

  16. this looks incredible and the flavors seem like they would dance in your mouth. YUM! thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club. this is definitely a "keeper" recipe

  17. This is the best Southwest Pasta I have ever tried. Thanks for Sharing


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