Southwestern Pasta Salad

No picnic table is complete without a colorful, filling, refreshing pasta salad.  My favorites are the ones without mayo, not just because glops of mayonnaise makes my stomach shudder, but also because it’s safer to pack up a pasta salad tossed in olive oil and vinegar and take it on the MBTA (for twenty minutes or two hours – you never know) to your picnic destination.

Fresh, local cherry tomatoes got my shopping list started.

Alongside gazpacho, baked zucchini sticks with sweet onion dipping sauce, fresh zucchini tart…

…and fresh tomato sandwiches made with a hint of Jen’s homemade mayo (which, despite my aversion to straight up mayo, were delicious).

All delicious!

Southwestern Pasta Salad
Adapted from Cinnamon Girl

8-12 ounces pasta
Sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2-3 Tbsps. fresh lime juice
2 tsps. honey
2 tsp. Chile powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne/red pepper (or more)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 can (14 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
1  1/2 cups corn kernels, lightly steamed (optional)

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente.
  • While the pasta cooks, make the dressing by combining the olive oil, lime juice, honey, Chile powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and cilantro.  Whisk together and store in the fridge if not using immediately.
  • Drain pasta and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil to keep it from sticking.  Once cooled, transfer to a large bowl and add beans, onion, tomatoes, and corn. 
  • Add dressing and mix together.  Adjust seasonings as necessary, then store in the fridge.  Toss before serving.