This Mexican pasta salad is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. Featuring macaroni, avocados, black beans, corn, and loads of hearty seasonings, it’s an explosion of colors and flavors that’s impossible to stop eating.
While it may seem like a handful, this vibrant salad is easily thrown together in no more than 20 minutes. You can even make it ahead and quickly toss everything together once the main meal is ready.
Is Mexican Pasta Salad Healthy?
Even though pasta salads are not typically known to be healthy, we have carefully measured the ingredients of this recipe to ensure they add up to a nutritious dish. This salad contains 249 calories per serving, with only 2.8 g saturated fat and 282.6 mg sodium, strictly following our nutrition guidelines.
Furthermore, this salad is also loaded with black beans and avocados, which are great sources of dietary fiber. This comes with multiple potential health benefits, such as lowering the risks of diabetes, aiding in weight loss, and preventing gastrointestinal disorders.
Ingredients for Mexican Pasta Salad
The ingredients include quite a few vegetables and hearty spices. However, they are all kitchen staples, so you should have no trouble gathering them together.
1. For the Salad
- Pasta: We went with macaroni for this recipe. However, you can substitute it with any type of medium pasta that you prefer. Bowties, shells, penne, or fusilli are also common choices.
- Avocado: We prefer ripe avocados to bring that buttery smooth texture to the dish. Their subtle sweetness will also complement the rest of the veggies quite nicely.
- Black bean: As this is a Mexican-inspired recipe, black beans ought to make an appearance. For convenience, you can use fresh beans, but we prefer the canned variety.
- Corn: This is another essential ingredient for that authentic Mexican taste. We recommend using fresh corn straight from the cob for its natural sweetness. However, you can also consider canned or frozen corn.
- Tomato: This veggie is here to provide more than just a gorgeous pop of color. As you bite into them, the tiny, diced pieces burst with a delightful sweetness.
- Jalapeño: A little goes a long way with this chili pepper. It adds a spicy kick that instantly brightens up the whole salad. And as the heat is relatively mild, you can enjoy it even with a low spice tolerance.
- Other ingredients: Cilantro, garlic, and red onion are used to further deepen the flavors. These ingredients have a subtle spiciness that leaves you with a memorable aftertaste.
2. For the Dressing
- Greek yogurt: Sour cream is often used to thicken this salad’s overall texture. Greek yogurt, however, is an equally good alternative that’s significantly more healthy and just as creamy. We don’t recommend using regular yogurt as it may not have the exact same consistency.
- Kewpie mayonnaise: This is a Japanese mayonnaise made entirely from egg yolks. This sauce gives the dressing a creamy base that helps tie all the ingredients together.
- Lime juice: This helps to add a slightly sour and zesty undertone that makes the dressing more vibrant.
- Seasonings: Black pepper, salt, chili powder, and ground cumin are used to capture that rich and bold taste that’s often found in Mexican dishes.
3. For the Garnishing
- Feta cheese
This is entirely optional: skip it or use any other kind of cheese that you prefer. We went with feta for its tangy and slightly salty taste that melts quite nicely into the rest of the ingredients.
What to Serve Mexican Pasta Salad With
Even though this pasta salad is full of bright and bold flavors, you can still pair it with a great variety of dishes. Here are a couple of suggestions for you to try out:
- Mexican dishes
A Mexican-themed meal is never a bad idea. Pair this colorful pasta salad with tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or fajitas for a meal filled with joyful and vibrant flavors.
- Potluck dishes
As summer approaches, you can pair this salad with grilled meat for a potluck or BBQ. Its creamy taste and soft texture will work incredibly well with the main dishes’ savory goodness.
Tips for Storage and Make Ahead
You can prepare the veggies, cook the pasta, and make the dressing one day in advance. Store these ingredients in the fridge and make sure to keep them in separate containers.
As for leftovers storage, this salad will last up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If the salad appears a little dry when you eat it again, add a little olive oil to loosen the ingredients up.
How to Make Mexican Pasta Salad
Make eating salad more fun by adding some pasta to the vegetable mixture. This Mexican pasta salad recipe will brighten up any meal it appears in, from potlucks and BBQs to simple dinners.
- cook TIME 5 mins
- prep TIME 15 mins
- total TIME 20 mins
- COURSE Side Dish
- CUISINE Mexican
- CALORIES 249 kcal
- 5 oz macaroni (cooked)
- 3 oz canned black bean
- 3 oz corn (fresh)
- 4 oz avocado (cubed)
- 3 oz tomatoes (diced)
- 1 oz red onion (diced)
- 1/4 cups cilantro (chopped)
- 0.5 oz jalapeño (sliced)
- 1 tbsp garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp Japanese Mayonnaise
- 0.5 oz feta cheese
In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper until combined.
Lay 5 oz macaroni, 3 oz canned black bean, 4 oz avocado, 3 oz tomatoes, 1 oz red onion, 1/4 cups cilantro, 0.5 oz jalapeño, and 1 tbsp garlic onto a plate. Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients and lightly toss.
Garnish with 0.5 oz feta cheese and enjoy.
Tuyet PhamChef, Culinary Consultant
Luna ReginaWriter, Author
Natalie Butler, RD, LDNutrition Reviewer
April 28, 2023 at 4:13 AMMexican pasta salad is a colorful and tasty side dish.