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.
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
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- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 1 - 15 ounce can corn, drained
- 1 - 15 ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1/2 cup diced red pepper
- 1/2 cup diced green pepper
- 3 green onions, diced
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 2 cups cherry tomato halves
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup Hidden Valley Avocado Ranch dressing
- salt and pepper
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Rinse and drain in cold water.
- Stir together the corn, black beans, peppers, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, chicken, and cheese.
- Add the pasta and dressing and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Gently stir in the avocado chunks right before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 395mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 18g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and are not guaranteed to be accurate. If you need special diet advice, please see a registered dietician.
*The post for Southwest Ranch Pasta Salad was first published July 2, 2015. The pictures and post were updated and republished May 29, 2021.