I 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!
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.