Texas Living

Southwestern Pasta Salad

By Ellise Pierce 7.7.15

For Texas-size summer gatherings, you need dishes that’ll feed a crowd. Pasta salad’s a great go-to side for picnics, barbecues, and outdoor parties, because it tastes as great at room temperature as it does cold.

This one’s slightly fiery, just like our summers.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Makes 10 to 12 servings


1 shallot

1 chipotle chile (in adobo sauce)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

½ cup grapeseed oil or another flavorless oil

sea salt, to taste

1 pound small pasta, such as fusilli, orecchiette, or penne

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 (15-ounce) cans corn, drained and rinsed

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 lime, juiced (about 2 teaspoons)

a small handful fresh cilantro, chopped

¼ cup crumbled queso fresco or feta


Finely chop the shallot and chipotle and put in a small bowl. Add the mustard and vinegars and whisk together. While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil until the vinaigrette comes together. Taste for seasoning, and then set aside.

  1. Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta al dente. Once it’s drained and cool enough to handle, put the pasta in a large bowl and toss it with about half of the vinaigrette.
  2. Add the black beans, corn, and chopped cherry tomatoes. Toss to combine. At this point, you may refrigerate the pasta salad.
  3. Right before serving, add the juice of half a lime and half of the chopped cilantro. Toss and taste. If you need to add more lime juice, now’s the time to do it. To serve, sprinkle the rest of the cilantro on top along with the crumbled queso fresco or feta. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette as desired.