Pasta salad has been my kryptonite ever since I was a kid. If there is a bowl of it sitting in the fridge, all resolve melts like ice cream in the desert. In fact, I feel overwhelmingly compelled to keep a fork nearby at all times so I can access a quick bite whenever the craving strikes.
To me there is no summertime side dish more perfect than a pasta salad. Meat-filled, meatless, veggie or fruit (seriously have you ever tried a pasta salad with plums? Good stuff!) Whatever ingredient combinations you dream up, they almost always work in pasta salad.
My mum’s specialty is a traditional mayo-based salad, packed with salmon and capers. Childhood kryptonite.
This version boasts a salsa yogurt dressing, which is nothing more than salsa whisked into Greek yogurt, with a sprinkle of cumin and salt. The dressing is just as good on green salads – a great reason to keep a container on hand at all times. Come to think of it, I’ll bet it would also be good dolloped on grilled chicken or fish.
The rest of the ingredients are your basic southwestern fare – black beans, corn, red bell peppers and cilantro. You could also mix in fresh, diced tomatoes and avocado for an extra layer of flavor and texture.
If you let the salad sit overnight, be sure to have some extra dressing on hand, as the pasta absorbs the dressing the longer the salad sits. Just mix in an extra portion of the dressing to add flavor and moisture back into the salad.
Other vegetarian side dish recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Vinaigrette
Cookin’ Canuck’s Strawberry & Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds
Healthy Nibbles & Bits’ Sorghum Salad with Kale Pesto
The Iron You’s Easy Baked Parmesan Zucchini
Recipe Runner’s Heirloom Tomato & Blue Cheese Salad
Southwestern Pasta Salad with Yogurt Salsa Dressing Recipe
Whip up this healthy southwestern whole wheat pasta salad for your next barbecue. It gets its flavor from black beans, corn and an easy yogurt salsa dressing.
- 1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta
- 2 ears corn, cooked & kernels cut off
- 1 (14 oz.) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro
- 3 green onion, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup salsa (your favorite kind)
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- Cook the penne according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta, corn kernels, black beans, red bell pepper, cilantro and green onion.
- Toss with the dressing. Serve.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, salsa, cumin and salt. Taste and season with more salt, if desired.
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