This Southwest pasta salad is loaded with veggies and dressed with a creamy, spicy sauce. A spicy, satisfying salad to take to all your summer parties!
Don’t you love delicious summer salads? Whether it’s a tossed salad or a pasta salad, I just love all the delicious salad recipes you can enjoy in the warm weather.
I struggled with what to call this pasta salad. It’s full of colorful vegetables, cilantro, tri-color beans, and a creamy, spicy dressing. It’s super delicious, and it basically disappeared when I made it.
So, what to call it? Mexican pasta salad? Taco pasta salad? Best pasta salad in the whole world? ;)
Eventually I settled on Southwest Pasta Salad, because I think with the flavors and colors in this salad, that name suits it best.
There are so many things that I love about pasta salads like this. For one, you can make it and then eat it for lunch for a few days. I’m all about reducing the amount of cooking I do in the summer!
What brand of gluten free pasta works best for pasta salads?
There are many brands of gluten free pasta that work well in pasta salad. Try Jovial, or Ancient Harvest, or any brand that you like and work for your dietary needs. Make sure you don’t overcook the pasta – when it’s too overdone, that makes for a mushy pasta salad.
I can’t have legumes – what should I do?
You can leave them out if you like! Feel free to add something else, like chopped zucchini, corn, or even shredded carrots. For a little crunch, you can add some pepitas or sunflower seeds.
I hate the taste of cilantro. Can I use a different herb?
Sure, just use parsley instead! You could also use basil if that’s what you have on hand.
If you like different vegetables, you can throw those in this Southwest pasta salad. I think some corn or even chopped avocado would work well in here. It’s really easy to tailor this creamy Southwest pasta salad to your dietary needs.
This salad is naturally dairy free, and I used gluten free pasta shells and egg free mayo to keep it allergy friendly. Of course, you can use whatever mayo you like and whatever type of pasta you prefer!
If you’re looking for a traditional pasta salad, you may want to try this vegan macaroni salad recipe.
This Southwest pasta salad recipe is:
- full of flavor
- colorful and fun to eat
- appealing to kids and adults
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Southwest Pasta Salad.
- 8 ounces gluten free shells
- 15 ounces tricolor beans drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes sliced
- 2/3 cup sweet onion chopped
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves or parsley
For the dressing:
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Once the pasta is cool, place it in a large bowl and add the beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, and onion, and toss together.
- In a small bowl, combine the Earth Balance mayonnaise, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, sugar, and lemon or lime juice. Stir well.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and stir well to combine.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Store leftover pasta in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for about 4 days.
If you don't like cilantro, feel free to use parsley.
Have you started making summery recipes yet? What’s your favorite salad in the summertime?
This post was originally published in May 2016. It has been updated.