Fresh veggies, chicken, and an avocado dressing makes this creamy Southwest Pasta Salad one of our favorite summer meals. This easy pasta salad recipe comes together in minutes and will be the hit of every summer picnic or barbecue.
Summer Pasta Salad
Summer in our house means pasta salad for dinner most nights. Our family really does love these types of salads and would be ok eating them all the time with different meats. Something about fresh air, sunshine, and summer just makes a pasta salad that much more delicious.
Pasta salads are so easy to make for summer picnics. Add a batch of Homemade Chocolate Chip Brownies and a Dessert Salad and everyone will be asking you for your recipes.
There are so many different ways you can customize a pasta salad, so you are not eating the same thing over and over. We like to use Hidden Valley Ranch Dressings to change up the flavor of our creamy pasta salad recipes and our regular dinner salads.
Southwest Pasta Salad
The last time I was at Walmart I bought a bottle of Hidden Valley Avocado Ranch dressing because I knew it would be delicious in a summer pasta salad.
To give the pasta salad a taco salad flair, I also added a can of corn, black beans, and cilantro to the mix. Adding the chicken, pasta, and avocado ranch dressing turned the veggies into a meal that our kids could not get enough of.
What You'll Need
- Pasta Noodles - use your favorite noodles or whatever you have on hand
- Veggies - tomatoes, red and green peppers, green onions, avocado, cilantro
- Black Beans - rinse and drain before adding
- Corn - fresh, frozen, or canned
- Shredded Cheese - cheddar, Pepper Jack, Fiesta, or mozzarella
- Dressing - any flavor of Ranch dressing will work
How to make Ranch Pasta Salad
This easy pasta salad comes together in minutes. Once the noodles are cooked and the veggies are chopped, stir everything together with your favorite Ranch dressing.
- Cook the pasta noodles. Make sure to rinse and cool them once they are done.
- Chop the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cilantro while the pasta noodles are cooking.
- Drain the corn and black beans. Make sure to rinse the beans too.
- Stir together the veggies, noodles, chicken, cheese, and creamy avocado dressing.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate the southwest pasta salad for a few hours before serving it, so the flavors come together.
- Stir in avocado chunks right before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you store pasta salad?
Keep this ranch pasta salad in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Can you make pasta salad ahead of time?
Yes, the flavors get better if the Mexican pasta salad can sit for 12-24 hours, so it is a great picnic salad to make ahead of time.
Easy Pasta Salad Recipes
- Vegetarian Pasta Salad
- Chicken Caprese Salad
- Ranch BLT Pasta Salad
- Pizza Pasta Salad
- Broccoli Tortellini Salad
More Picnic Recipes
*The post for Southwest Ranch Pasta Salad was first published July 2, 2015. The pictures and post were updated and republished May 29, 2021.
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
You are so right- pasta salad is a quintessential summer time dish (or meal!)! Love your southwestern spin on it - and with that avocado ranch? YUM! Cheers and happy 4th of July! ♡
Yes, pasta salad and summer just go together so well!
Cyndi - My Kitchen Craze
This pasta salad looks delicious. I can not wait to try it! Those dressings look amazing! I think you and I are on the same wave link with our blogging recipes. First the french toast and now pasta salad. Great minds think alike huh? Pinning!
Great minds do think alike! Love it 🙂
Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor
This is a pasta salad that is perfect for summer picnics and barbecues. I love the avocado ranch flavors!
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
Love the southwest take on this classic salad
I love your salad ideas! Easy and quick. Works for me!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
This sounds fantastic, Jocelyn! I need to try that avocado ranch dressing, especially in a salad like this!
Thank you, Gayle. It is the perfect addition to pasta salad.
Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust
Avocados with ranch, I might be in love!! This looks so good!
I know, right? Those two just go together so well.
Looks yummy. Can't wait to try it. There are a couple of the Hidden Valley flavors that look good too. Thanks for the heads up.
We have tried a few of those new ones, and they are all good. I hope you can find them in your store.
Medha @ Whisk & Shout
Ooh yum! Especially loving the avocado in there 🙂
I love adding avocado chunks to pasta salads. It is so good!