This southwestern pasta salad is bright and fresh and healthy, thanks to Banza pasta made from chickpeas, tons of veggies, and an avocado yogurt dressing. It’s a perfect potluck salad or easy weeknight side dish to serve alongside grilled chicken or a veggie burger.
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You’re going to love this
Easy. Just a little bit of prep goes a long way. While the pasta is boiling, chop your tomatoes, onions, and parsley or cilantro and you’re ready to go.
Healthy pasta salad. You can feel super good about digging into this salad, brimming with fresh veggies, black beans, and Banza pasta -- made from protein-packed garbanzo beans. It’s tossed in an avocado Greek yogurt dressing for even more protein.
Simple ingredients. This is a great pantry salad recipe that easily comes together with easy-to-find ingredients you might already have on hand.
Crazy flavorful. Banza pasta brings flavor to the party in a way that typical pasta does not. And the dressing is so creamy and delicious, you’ll be making it for all your salads this summer. I know I will be.
How to Make Southwestern Pasta Salad
Boil pasta one minute less than package directions for al dente pasta. Drain.
The package will warn you, but I’ll mention it too, it gets a bit foamy. More than normal. So if you don’t know about the wooden spoon trick, here you go. Just rest a wooden spoon over your pasta while it boils and it won’t boil over. Scouts honor.
Make Avocado Yogurt Dressing
In food processor or blender, add ½ of an avocado, ½ cup Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, juice and zest of one lime, and 1 tablespoon honey. Process until smooth and creamy.
In a large bowl, add pasta, corn, beans, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, feta, green onion, and avocado yogurt dressing.
Toss until thoroughly mixed.
Pasta. I used chickpea pasta, but you can use any kind of pasta you like. The rotini shape is great because it holds onto the sauce, so I recommend rotini or shells or another shape with nooks and crannies. Salt your pasta water and cook about a minute shorter than recommended so you don’t end up with a mushy mess.
Corn. This recipe uses frozen corn. Which is always a great option. And if you can find fire-roasted frozen corn, that will add even more flavor. BUT, if corn is in season when you make this, fresh uncooked corn would be amazing.
Beans. Any kind of bean will work in this recipe. Canned beans usually have a high sodium content, so I always rinse them thoroughly before using them in any recipe.
Parsley. Or cilantro. I will never, ever, ever, ever use cilantro in any recipe. Because it tastes terrrrrrible to me. Because, baby, I was born that way -- really, it’s a genetic thing. So I use parsley instead. But use cilantro if you love it.
Feta. Really, any cheese would be great, but I love the crumbly, salty feta.
Southwestern Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing
- 8 ounces chickpea rotini pasta, or regular pasta
- 10 ounces frozen corn, thawed
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup red onion
- ¼ cup parsley or cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese
- 3 green onions, sliced
Avocado Yogurt Dressing Recipe
- ½ avocado
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Boil pasta one minute short of the package directions for al dente pasta. Drain.
- If you use chickpea pasta, the package will warn you that it gets a bit foamy. More than normal. So if you don’t know about the wooden spoon trick, here you go. Just rest a wooden spoon across the top of your pot while your pasta cooks and it won’t boil over. Scouts honor.
Make Avocado Yogurt Dressing
- In food processor or blender, add ½ of an avocado, ½ cup Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, juice and zest of one lime, and 1 tablespoon honey. Process until smooth and creamy.
- In a large bowl, add pasta, corn, beans, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, feta, green onion, and avocado yogurt dressing.
- Toss until thoroughly mixed. Garnish with parsley and tomatoes.
Hungry for more healthy salads?
Cuisinart Mini Food Processor
I love making my own dressings -- especially creamy ones without mayo, like this avocado yogurt dressing. But a bowl and a whisk just aren't going to achieve the creaminess I'm after. So, this mini food processor is my go-to for making dressings, chopping nuts, and making graham cracker crumbs.
I used Banza pasta in this recipe, which is made from chickpeas. It's gluten-free and high in protein, but also has a lot more flavor than regular pasta. It might not be available everywhere, however, but of course, you can find it at Amazon. It comes in a ton of other shapes, too.