If you love Southwestern flavors, you’ll want to make this pasta salad for your next potluck or summer barbecue. It’s full of colorful, flavorful ingredients, including black beans, tomatoes, peppers, and a creamy, zesty dressing.
This recipe is a twist on the traditional pasta salads. 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.
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.
Secondly, this is a great way to get some extra veggies into your family. Use whatever veggies you think they’d like. You can add grated carrots, diced cucumber, or even roasted sweet potatoes to this dish if you like.
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.
- Gluten Free Pasta – 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.
- Beans – I like Eden brand canned beans, because they are made in an allergy friendly facility. Be sure to call on any new ingredient and make sure it is safe for your particular needs. If you can’t eat beans, you can leave them out.
- Onion – Chopped sweet onion adds a nice flavor without being too overpowering. If you can’t have onion, you can leave it out and substitute celery or chives.
- Vegan Mayo – We enjoy Earth Balance Mayonnaise, but you can use any brand of mayo that works for your dietary needs.
- Spices – Cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika add some zesty flavor to the creamy dressing.
If you like different vegetables, you can throw those in this Southwest pasta salad. I think some corn or chopped avocado would work well in here. You could also add a variety of chopped peppers or even a little finely diced jalapeno. It’s really easy to tailor this creamy pasta salad to your dietary needs.
Make Ahead Instructions
If you’d like to get a head start on preparing this before a gathering, I would recommend chopping all the veggies the night before.
You could also mix up the dressing and store it in a jar in the refrigerator. I would make the gluten free pasta on the day you want to serve this. Sometimes gluten free pasta gets dry or hard the day after cooking.
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.
Sure, just use parsley instead! You could also use basil if that’s what you have on hand.
More Salad Recipes
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Crowd-Pleasing Southwest Pasta Salad.
- 8 ounces gluten free shells or a different pasta shape, like rotini or macaroni
- 15 ounces tricolor beans drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes sliced
- ⅔ cup sweet onion chopped
- ½ cup cilantro leaves or parsley
- 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.