Southwest Pasta Salad Bar/Southwest Salad Dressing

This recipe comes from Our Best Bites where she combines everything in one bowl.  The tastes and dietary needs in our family vary so, we found it better to serve as a pasta bar.

1 lb bowtie pasta
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 roma tomatoes, diced or about 3/4 C or halved cherry tomatoes
1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 C sliced green onions
1/2 C frozen corn
8 oz diced cooked chicken (this is fantastic)
1/2 C Queso Fresco (or grated jack, cheddar or pepperjack)

6 Tbs fresh lime juice (about 3 juicy limes)
zest from 2 limes
1/4 C white wine or rice vinegar
4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 tsp sugar
3/4 C canola oil
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro

Boil pasta in salted water until cooked. While it's cooking, prepare dressing. First zest your limes and put in blender along with the lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and sugar in a blender. Process until smooth. With the motor running slowly, add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated. Add the cilantro and pulse so it gets broken up, but some pieces still remain in tact.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse immediately with cold water to cool. Place the pasta in a large salad bowl. In a sectioned tray have black beans, tomatoes, diced pepper, green onions, corn (thaw in the microwave for 1 min.), cheese and chicken available for people to build their own salad with the pasta as the base.

The dressing is also good on a green salad as well.


  1. Oh man I would love to make that, but then Jeff would complain about the lime dressing, but boy does that sound good.

  2. That is why we serve it all seperately, even the dressing. He could use whatever dressing he likes or could eat it plain like my daughter does.


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