Mexican Pasta Salad

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This flavorful Mexican pasta salad recipe is a simple recipe that is the perfect answer to the “what’s for dinner” question.

Need a quick and easy pasta dinner that everyone will love? This is it! It’s great for summer potlucks and get togethers too.

An overhead shot looking down into a white bowl filled with this Mexican Pasta Salad. The bowl sits on a wooden surface.

What’s In Mexican Pasta Salad?

Simply put, it’s a flavorful pasta salad with all the flavors of taco night and other Mexican food you love! It’s made with delicious corn, olives, tomatoes and bell peppers, and paired with a wonderful taco seasoning vinaigrette that gives this Mexican pasta salad a real flavorful punch.

Summer Salad

This Mexican-inspired pasta salad makes a great side dish, or a fabulous main dish. Enjoy it for Cinco de Mayo, or for Taco Tuesday. It’ll be a tasty dish no matter the occasion. While this is not a traditional Mexican dish (obviously), I think you’ll find it to be a great addition to your collection Mexican recipes.

This is naturally a vegan Mexican pasta salad. However, you could easily add your favorite meats to this salad as well. Think strips of beef, chicken or even grilled shrimp!

Types Of Pasta For Mexican Pasta Salad

No matter what pasta noodles you use, this salad will have the same flavor. But the texture can change slightly based on what you use. If you want more of a “rice” consistency, opt for Orzo pasta salad. If you want a chunkier, chewier texture, try bow tie pasta. And if you want more of a traditional pasta salad, try elbow macaroni. But no matter what pasta you use, this is sure to become a family favorite.

  • Bow tie noodles – Chewier and chunkier texture.
  • Orzo – Smaller, softer, more “rice-like” texture.
  • Elbow macaroni – Traditional pasta salad texture.
  • Rotini – Softer pasta texture.
  • Penne – Chewier & chunkier texture.

What You’ll Need

Salad

1 lb. whole grain pasta – Use your favorite shape. I like rotini because it holds the dressing really well. Cook separately in a large pot to package directions using salted water. About 1 tbsp. for a very large stock pot.

10 oz. package frozen, organic sweet corn – You’ll need to cook this separately to package directions.

1 ½ cups chopped red bell pepper – Chop this as fine as you prefer for good texture in your pasta salad. If you prefer, you can use green peppers instead.

2 medium avocados – These are optional, but delicious. Chop just ripe avocado into chunks and sprinkle on at serving.

1 cup minced red onions – Here again, chop these as fine as you like for good texture in your pasta. I find, the smaller the chop, the better.

2 cups chopped tomatoes – These are freshly chopped tomatoes in whatever variety you like best. Small tomatoes, such as grape tomatoes, work well here if cut in half.

Dressing

While many Mexican pasta salad recipes are served with a creamy dressing, I find that one of the best things about this salad is the non-creamy dressing! It gives the salad moisture and flavor without any dairy.

½ cup oil – I used coconut oil, but you can use something light flavored such as grapeseed oil or even extra virgin olive oil.

½ cup apple cider vinegar – You can also use a white balsamic if you prefer. Even a balsamic vinegar could work here, but it doesn’t go as well with the flavor profile.

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. garlic powder – You can also use garlic granules. Either one will work.

½ tsp. salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use whatever salt you normally use in the kitchen.

Notes On The Dressing

If you really want this to be a creamy dressing, you can cut the oil in half and add a ¼ cup mayonnaise or sour cream instead.

And if you really want to get creative, you could make a creamy salsa dressing by adding in a couple tablespoons of your favorite salsa.

Garnish

Fresh cilantro – This is optional, but tasty. Chop fine and sprinkle on in whatever amount you like.

Shredded cheddar cheese – Again, this is optional. You can also use a Mexican blend cheese if you prefer.

Optional Additions

  • Black beans – You can use canned or home cooked. If you use canned beans, read the ingredient list to avoid added sugars.
  • Green onions – You can use both the white and the green parts in this salad.
  • Sour cream – While I don’t recommend stirring it in, you could certainly add a dollop of sour cream as garnish when you serve this.
  • Sliced black olives – While other olives might taste good, I recommend sticking with black olives for this one.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese – It’s best to buy a block and shred by hand at home.
A side view of a white bowl filled with this Mexican Pasta Salad.

How To Make Mexican Pasta Salad

Cooked pasta in a large, stainless steel mixing bowl.

Cook the pasta to package directions in salted water. rinse it fully in cold water and then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Mixing all the Mexican Pasta Salad ingredients into the pasta.

Add all the other pasta salad ingredients. Stir well to combine.

Whisking the dressing ingredients in a glass measuring cup.

Mix the salad dressing ingredients with a whisk to combine.

Serving chunks of avocado over the Mexican Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl.

Add some chopped, fresh avocado.

Pouring the dressing over the Mexican Pasta Salad.

Pour the dressing over the salad.

Sprinkling chopped cilantro over the finished Mexican Pasta Salad.

Top with some fresh, chopped cilantro and shredded cheese if you like, and serve at room temperature as a main course or side dish.

How To Store Mexican Pasta Salad

It’s best to store this without the dressing or chopped avocado.

Store in an airtight container or large bowl with a lid or plastic wrap over the top. It will keep up to 4 days in the fridge.

If stored without the dressing and avocado, this salad will be just as good the next day.

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An up close shot of a white bowl completely filled with this Mexican Pasta Salad, against a white background.

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Mexican Pasta Salad Recipe

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An overhead shot looking down into a white bowl filled with this Mexican Pasta Salad. The bowl sits on a wooden surface.

Mexican Pasta Salad Recipe

This flavorful Mexican pasta salad recipe is the perfect answer for the "what's for dinner" question. Make it for dinner tonight!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 14 cups (approximately)
Calories: 277kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 lb. pasta
  • 10 oz. package frozen corn (cooked)
  • cups chopped red bell pepper (chopped fine)
  • 2 medium avocados (chopped)
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onions
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes

Dressing

  • ½ cup oil (something light flavored such as grapeseed)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt

Garnish

  • fresh cilantro (as much as you like)
  • shredded cheese (as much as you like)

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta to package directions in salted water. rinse it fully in cold water and then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
    Cooked pasta in a large, stainless steel mixing bowl.
  • Add all the other pasta salad ingredients. Stir well to combine.
    Mixing all the Mexican Pasta Salad ingredients into the pasta.
  • Mix the salad dressing ingredients with a whisk to combine.
    Whisking the dressing ingredients in a glass measuring cup.
  • Add some chopped, fresh avocado.
    Serving chunks of avocado over the Mexican Pasta Salad in a white serving bowl.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad.
    Pouring the dressing over the Mexican Pasta Salad.
  • Top with some fresh, chopped cilantro and shredded cheese if you like, and serve.
    Sprinkling chopped cilantro over the finished Mexican Pasta Salad.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 895IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

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