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.
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.
These days, I'm keeping things a little lighter, so typically opt for versions dressed with vinaigrettes, pesto-like sauces or yogurt-based dressings.
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
- 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
- 2 ears corn cooked & kernels cut off
- 1 14 ounce can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- 3 green onion thinly sliced
- ¾ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ⅔ cup salsa your favorite kind
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon 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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Had this last night for dinner with my husband. We both loved it! Was extremely filling
Could I substitute sour cream for greek yogurt?..Just ran out :\
I haven't actually tried it with sour cream before, but it's worth a shot! You could also increase the amount of salsa in the recipe.
Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen
How did you know I would wake up this morning wanting to eat salsa out of a jar with a spoon? This might be a slightly more nutritious way to satisfy that craving. 🙂
I love these flavors! I actually make the same dressing for my salads all the time - so good!!
I'm loving the corn in there! And the yogurt dressing. Okay I'm loving all the things in there ; )
Colleen (Souffle Bombay)
I am a sucker for a good pasta salad - the combination you have going on here looks delicious. This is a must try for me! Pinning! Oh and if I had to list my kryptonite food...it would be a long list lol! Well, at least 5 anyway!
Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
I love using yogurt + salsa for salad dressing - how perfect to use it for a pasta salad!! I'll bring the wine.
Thank you Dara for the nice salad. Have a great week.
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Yay for pasta salad Mondays! Yours looks amazing! We love southwestern flavors so I could eat this everyday!
Pasta salad is just the best for cleaning out a fridge and I love how creamy and flavorful this dressing would be!