Has pasta salad gone out of fashion? Maybe not, but I sure don’t see it served as often as I did, say, a decade or two ago (I’m dating myself here). But if so, I’d like to make a case for bringing them back. Pasta salads make great summer meals, though you can enjoy them year round. They’re a fantastic accompaniment to grilled vegetables and plant proteins. They can also be an everyday kind of meal. Case in point, this easy salsa pasta salad that’s embellished with avocado, corn, and bell peppers.
Your favorite salsa plus a little vinaigrette give it all the flavor it needs. A nice bonus is that as a tasty room temperature dish it’s a nice change of pace from sandwiches for your portable lunch for work and school.
So if you’re on board with bringing back the vintage pasta salad, try this one for a start! If you’d like to make it more of a main dish, you can add some beans, as suggested in the variation. Or, you can serve it with a bean dish as I’ve done here — a crazy-easy vegan hot bean dip with tortilla chips. A simple bean dish like refried beans works well as a companion, too.
- 8 ounces pasta, any short shape
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh (about 2 ears) or frozen corn kernels
- 1 bell pepper, any color, cut into short, narrow strips
- 2 medium firm, ripe tomatoes, finely diced
- 2 limes
- 1 medium firm, ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
- 1/3 cup vinaigrette dressing, bottled or homemade (see link in Notes)
- 1 cup salsa, your favorite variety
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. When the pasta is nearly done, plunge the corn, fresh or frozen, into the cooking pot, and cook for another minute or so. Drain and rinse under cool water, then drain well again.
- Combine the pasta and corn with the bell peppers, corn, and tomatoes in a large serving bowl.
- Juice one of the limes and cut the other into wedges.
- Toss the avocado with a little of the lime juice before adding both to the serving bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Toss gently and thoroughly. Serve at once, garnishing the serving platter with the lime wedges.
Here's our Basic Vinaigrette recipe.
Variation: For a heartier dish (and if you’re not serving with a bean dish), add a 15-ounce can of black, pinto, or kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 134Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 369mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g