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Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

This Tex-Mex pasta salad is the perfect addition to any picnic or cookout!

It’s bright, fresh, and loaded with zesty Southwestern flavors that’ll have you dreaming of sunny days and warm nights.

Hearty pasta is tossed with black beans, sweet corn, crisp bell peppers, and juicy cherry tomatoes. But it doesn’t stop there!

Creamy Tex Mex pasta salad with avocado chunks, cherry tomatoes, corn and black beans.
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I’m talking creamy avocado chunks, a kick of jalapeño, and fresh cilantro to make those Tex-Mex vibes pop. 

The dressing is a dreamy combo of sour cream, mayo, salsa, and taco seasoning. It’s the ultimate make-ahead dish for any occasion.

Why You’ll Love This Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Flavor Fiesta: It’s a delightful fusion of vibrant flavors. It combines salsa’s zestiness, avocado’s richness, and the kick of jalapeño for a truly mouthwatering experience.

Creamy Yet Crunchy Texture: This salad offers an irresistible medley of textures in every bite, keeping your tastebuds entertained.

Crowd-Pleaser: Appealing to a wide range of palates, it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser. It’s perfect for any party.

Easy Preparation: This recipe is straightforward to prepare with simple steps and readily available ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Fusilli or Rotini Pasta: Spiraled pasta captures the zesty dressing and veggies in every bite.
  • Black Beans: Hearty and creamy, these protein-packed beans add satisfying texture and earthy flavor.
  • Corn Kernels: Sweet pops of sunshine bring out the Southwest flavors.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Crisp and vibrant, it adds a fresh crunch and a pop of color.
  • Red Onion: It adds a pop of color and gives the dish a subtle bite.
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes: These juicy fruits balance out the salad.
  • Avocado: Luscious and buttery, avocado adds a creamy element to tie it all together.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Bright, citrusy, peppery, cilantro brings an authentic Mexican flavor.
  • Jalapeno Pepper (Optional): Fiery and feisty, a kick of heat spices things up!
  • Dressing: The blend of sour cream, mayonnaise, salsa, taco seasoning mix, lime juice, salt, and pepper ties it together.
A vibrant Tex-Mex pasta salad in a white bowl, showcasing colorful ingredients like corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and avocado, garnished with fresh cilantro.

How to Make Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Follow these easy directions to make this irresistible salad.

1. Cook the pasta. Cook the fusilli or rotini pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add the vegetables and beans. To the bowl with the pasta, add the black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeno (if using). Toss gently to combine.

3. Make the dressing. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, salsa, taco seasoning, lime juice, salt, and pepper until smooth and well combined.

4. Toss. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss until everything is evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

5. Refrigerate to blend flavors. Cover and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.

6. Stir and serve. Give the salad a good stir before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

A heaping serving of Tex-Mex pasta salad in a bowl, showing off the mix of cherry tomatoes, black beans, and corn kernels.

Tips For the Best Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to make the best salad.

  • Pick your pasta wisely. In addition to fusilli and rotini, cavatappi, farfalle (bowtie), and penne work well in this salad as their nooks and crannies trap the dressing.
  • Toss in more flavor. For extra Tex-Mex flavor, add a can of drained Rotel tomatoes with green chiles instead of regular tomatoes.
  • Pack in some protein. Make it a main dish salad by mixing in some cooked shredded chicken, ground beef seasoned with taco spices, or sliced grilled steak.
  • Try tasty toppings. Crush some tortilla chips or Fritos over individual servings for a crunchy topping. Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) also add a nice crunch.
  • Cheese, please! Shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican cheese blend are great in this salad. Cotija or queso fresco crumbles also work well.
  • Serving it in style. Serve alongside grilled meats, fajitas, or as part of a Tex-Mex buffet. 
A detailed shot of Tex-Mex pasta salad on a wooden table, revealing the mix of fresh and vibrant ingredients.

How to Store

Leftover pasta salad is great to enjoy for lunches throughout the week.

To Store: Refrigerate in an air-tight container for 3-5 days, ensuring the flavors meld together.

For optimal freshness, store avocado and optional toppings like tortilla strips separately to prevent browning and sogginess. 

Add these ingredients just before serving to maintain their texture and flavor.

Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Course: Side DishCuisine: American
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

10

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minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

305

kcal

This Tex-Mex pasta salad is a spicy twist on a classic! Packed with black beans, corn, bell pepper, and a kick from jalapenos, it’s guaranteed to please.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fusilli or rotini pasta

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

  • 1 avocado, diced

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)

  • Dressing:
  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup salsa

  • 1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning mix

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeno (if using) to the bowl with the pasta. Toss gently to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, salsa, taco seasoning, lime juice, salt, and pepper until smooth and well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss until everything is evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Cover and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Give the salad a good stir before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “Tex-Mex Pasta Salad”

  1. I love each and every one of your recipes. I have been saving all in an aol folder. I hope it never gets deleted by system💕

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