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Vegetarian Mexican Inspired Pasta Salad

You’re going to love this Vegetarian Mexican Inspired Pasta Salad! Tender pasta is combined with Mexican-inspired flavors that’s loaded with corn, black beans, tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, and a creamy lime dressing for a perfect summer time salad, great for barbecues, picnics, grilled meats or fish and more!

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Close up of colorful Mexican Pasta Salad with text overlay that says "vegetarian Mexican Pasta Salad".

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Why I love this recipe

Everything is better with pasta, right? Since we all know the answer is a resounding yes, let’s combine it with another favorite meal option: tacos.

This Vegetarian Mexican Inspired Pasta Salad is smothered in a delicious creamy lime dressing while hearty, protein-packed veggies make it a proper, fuss-free meal. It’s the perfect Tex-Mex inspired meal, side, and/or anything in between! 

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RELATED: Healthy Southwest Chopped Salad

White bowl with Mexican Pasta Salad in iton a wood cutting board with colourful orange and yellow napkin beside it.

Ingredients for this Mexican inspired salad recipe

With 12 basic ingredients and spices that you likely have available in your pantry, this hearty salad comes together quickly and easily. To make this you’ll need:

Overhead photo of taco pasta salad ingredients: pasta, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, black beans, red onion, orange pepper, and jalapenos.

For the past a salad you’ll need

  • Rotini pasta – or use any kind of pasta that you like.
  • Black beans
  • Corn
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Avocados
  • Yellow bell pepper
  • Diced red onion
  • Chopped cilantro

For the creamy lime salad dressing you’ll need the following ingredients and spices

  • Sour cream
  • Honey
  • Lime (or lime juice)
  • White wine vinegar
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

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How to make this Mexican Inspired Pasta Salad

After you’ve cut up all of the veggies, this salad comes together nicely in four easy steps:

  1. In a large bowl, toss the ingredients for the pasta salad.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the salad dressing. 
  3. Pour the salad dressing over the salad and toss until well coated.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make this Pasta Salad Inspired by Mexico, then check out my Spicy Lime Black Bean Quinoa Salad, Instant Pot White Chicken Chili and Healthy Southwest Chopped Salad and more of my recipes for Cinco de Mayo.  

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Fork with a big bite of delicious mexican pasta salad onit and a blurry bowl of pasta salad in the background.

Tips & Substitutions

Read on for tips and substitution ideas on how to make this recipe, and how to make it taste even more fresh and flavourful.

Substitutions

This salad is very flexible! Here are some substitution ideas:

  • Plain greek yogurt can be substituted for the sour cream.
  • Add cooked chicken or taco beef if desired.
  • For more crunch, crush 1 cup of tortilla chips or Doritos and top just before serving. 
  • To make this salad vegan, use vegan sour cream and either omit the cheese or use vegan cheese instead.

Tips for a fresh and flavourful Pasta Salad

To add more flavour to this salad you could substitute grilled corn instead of canned or frozen corn. Also, for your pasta salad to taste fresh and flavourful dress it with about two-thirds of the dressing, and mix everything together. Then refrigerate the salad for at least two hours to allow all of the flavors to meld. Then just before serving, stir in the remaining dressing, since so much of the original dressing gets absorbed into the pasta while chilling. The result is a pasta salad that boasts flavour through and through!

How to store pasta salad

Generally salads last for only 3-4 days in the fridge, and this pasta salad is no different. Store this Mexican pasta salad in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. If you know you’re not going to finish the entire bowl in one sitting, let everyone get as much as they want and place the bowl into the refrigerator as this salad tastes best cold. You can always get more from the fridge for second helpings.

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Other Mexican inspired recipes to try

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If you’re looking for a healthy summer salad then look no further because I’ve got a DELICIOUS recipe for you!

Square close up of a mexican pasta salad in a white bowl with black beans, cilantro, avocado, tomato, and corn.

Vegetarian Mexican Pasta Salad Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Tender pasta is combined with Mexican-inspired flavors that's loaded with corn, black beans, tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, and a creamy lime dressing for a fresh and delicious summer side salad!

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 (16 ounce) box rotini pasta, cooked according to the package directions and rinsed in cold water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

For the dressing

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, toss the ingredients for the pasta salad.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the salad dressing. 
  3. Pour the salad dressing over the salad and toss until well coated.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


If you loved this Mexican Pasta Salad be sure to check out my Chopped Southwestern Salad.

Notes

For tips, substitutions, storage and serving info be sure to read the full Vegetarian Mexican Pasta Salad post.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 320mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 10gSugar: 8gProtein: 15g

The provided nutrition information is an estimate and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information.

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