Mexican Pasta Salad is a bold and spicy take on a classic favorite. Loaded with all the flavors you love from a taco salad, paired with crunchy veggies and sweet corn, all come together with a light and refreshing avocado dressing to make the perfect recipe for family barbecues and picnics.
I always know it’s summertime when I break out my first pasta salad of the year. I’m always looking to switch things up for my family cook-outs, and this great recipe was meant to be a side dish but became the main course when everyone loaded up their plates and then came back for seconds. You must try this recipe!
What do I need to get started?
- Rotini noodles – cooked just beyond al dente, to avoid mushy pasta.
- Chicken – You can cook and shred your own, or for something even more simple, use the meat from a rotisserie chicken.
- Corn – I used canned, but you can use fresh or frozen corn as well.
- Black beans.
- Green chiles.
- Green pepper.
- Cheese – shredded or cubed Mexican blend works best for this recipe.
- Cherry tomatoes.
- Black olives – these are optional.
- Red onion – The red adds a nice pop of color to the salad, but any onion will do.
- Cilantro – you can sub this for parsley if you don’t like cilantro.
- Lime juice.
- Ranch dressing mix – this is the dry package mix and I prefer the Spicy, but any is fine.
- Mexican Crema – you can also use sour cream or greek yogurt.
- Mayonnaise – your favorite brand
How do I make Mexican Pasta Salad?
You will not believe how quick and easy this is, while still being delicious and packed with flavor.
Take all of your pasta ingredients – that’s cooked pasta, shredded chicken, corn, black beans, chiles, green pepper, cheese, tomatoes, olives, and onion – and toss together in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, take the ingredients for your creamy dressing – avocado, crema, mayo, lime juice, and ranch dressing seasoning – and stir together. Some of the avocados might mix in with the dressing, which is totally fine – just make sure there are some chunks left over for a delicious bite!
Fold all of the ingredients together, and let sit in the fridge for at least a half-hour so the flavors can all meld together.
Tips Tricks and FAQs
- For some extra flavor, I recommend cooking the chicken at home (in a crockpot or instant pot is fine, or over the stove in some olive oil), then tossing in chili powder or your favorite taco seasoning. Make sure to salt and pepper your chicken for the most flavor!
- Any pasta will work for this recipe, but I always recommend going with a bite-sized pasta. Rotini, radiatore, or bow-tie are my favorites for pasta salad.
- I recommend doing as much as you can ahead of time – cook your pasta the day before, cook and/or shred your chicken, and make your sauce all the day before, then keep covered in the fridge. Then when it’s time to serve you’ll only need to mix all the ingredients together.
- If you want even more heat, feel free to drizzle with hot sauce or chipotle!
You will want to keep your leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
More summer recipe ideas!
Can I make Mexican Pasta salad ahead of time?
Yes! You can make this ahead of time. Cook your pasta the day before as well as make your dressing. Keep these covered in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
- 1 pound rotini (cooked according to package directions)
- 1 ½ cup chicken, cooked and cubed (approx. 1 large chicken breast)
- 1 15.25 ounce can corn, drained
- 1 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 7 ounce can chopped green chilis
- 1 6.5 ounce can sliced blac olives
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 green pepper, diced
- ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
- ⅓ cup red onion, diced
- 1 cup Mexican shredded cheese
- 2 avocados, diced
- ½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 3 limes, juiced
- 1 1ounce spicy ranch seasoning package (any flavor)
- In a large serving bowl combine the pasta, and all ingredients and gently stir together.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and stir to combine. It is fine if some of the avocados get a little smashed but make sure there are plenty of big pieces as well.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and stir to combine.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 717Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 1099mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 17gSugar: 10gProtein: 30g