Southwest Pasta Salad

Picnic Week: Southwest Pasta Salad


Southwest Pasta Salad

There are a few things you need in order to have a totally awesome picnic. Plenty of food is a no-brainer. Also, don’t forget the wine, and/or beer, and/or cider. And bring all of your awesome friends because that makes everything perfect. Here are a few more things to check off your list.

  1. A big tablecloth for covering the possibly gross picnic table in the park, or to use as a big picnic blanket if you can’t get a table.
  2. Cups for discreet sipping of adult beverages.
  3. Matches to light the grill.
  4. A corkscrew (unless you brought screw top wine which I do all the time)
  5. Plates, napkins, and utensils. (I’ve forgotten forks before.)
  6. Condiments because that’s what makes stuff extra awesome.

Southwest Pasta Salad

You should also probably bring along this Southwest Pasta Salad. It totally rocks. It’s simple, bright, delicious, and a bit spicy. That’s where it’s at!

I love this recipe because it’s unexpected. It’s also brilliant for a picnic because it can be made ahead of time. In fact, it’s even better after it’s had a chance to sit in the fridge for a day. Black beans, corn, green onions, and bell peppers, combined with a spicy lime dressing, take this recipe above and beyond your normal every day pasta salad.

It also never hurts to have a vegetarian dish at your picnic. You never know who might stop by.

Pack your picnic basket with plenty of flavors. Trust me. It’s awesome.

Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad
Serves 6
A spicy take on pasta salad
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1/2 pound small pasta (I used penne because it was in my pantry)
  2. zest of 2 limes
  3. 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  4. 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  5. 3 green onions, chopped (I use scissors)
  6. 1/2 cup frozen corn
  7. 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
for the dressing
  1. 6 Tbsp lime juice (I combine the juice from the fresh limes I zested with some from the squeezy lime-shaped bottle. Nigella does it, so it’s okay.)
  2. 1/4 cup cider or rice vinegar (really whatever’s in your pantry will probably work)
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1-1/2 tsp chili powder
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1/2 tsp coriander
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 2 tsp sugar
  9. 3/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
  1. Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, according to the time on the package. Drain
  2. Zest your lime into the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the black beans, bell pepper, green onion, corn, and cheese. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the pasta and stir it up.
  5. The easiest way to make the dressing is to combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Give it a good shake until the oil has mixed in.
  6. Pour the about 2/3 of the dressing over your salad and give it a stir. If you want more, add it. If not, save it for something awesome later.
  7. Allow the salad to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, but overnight is even better.
  8. Best served under puffy clouds.
Adapted from Our Best Bites
Adapted from Our Best Bites
How to be Awesome on $20 a day

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