You know what one of the many amazing things about food is? You can experience the cuisine of pretty much any culture without even having to get in the car. Taste-of-the-Southwest Pasta Salad does just that… it brings you a taste of the tangy, spicy, fresh flavors of the lower region in pasta salad form. There are tender veggies, like corn and green and red peppers, to represent where this dish comes from, plus a salsa-infused dressing to bring the kick those states provide us! Topped with fresh cilantro and ripe, creamy avocado slices, Taste-of-the-Southwest Pasta Salad makes sure every part of the region is taken into consideration… and that’s what makes it so delicious!

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salsa
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16-ounce) package spiral pasta or cavatappi pasta, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 (2.25-ounce) cans sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 small green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

Directions

Step 1 –In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, the olive oil, the cumin, the garlic, the salsa, the white wine vinegar, the cayenne pepper, and the salt together.

Step 2 –Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions.

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Step 3 –Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water.

Step 4 –In a large bowl, mix the pasta, the corn, the beans, the tomatoes, the olives, the green peppers, the red peppers, the onion, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro.

Step 5 –Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat it.

Step 6 –Refrigerate the salad until ready to serve.

Step 7 –Just before serving, top the salad with the avocado and the remaining cilantro.

Step 8 –Serve.