This cool Southwest Pasta Salad, with chicken, pasta, corn, and black beans, is covered in a creamy avocado dressing, and makes a perfect summer side dish.
This pasta salad is like a combination of a pasta salad and a chicken salad with a taco salad thrown in for fun! Whatever name you call it, it is creamy, cool, and scrumptious!
To make this recipe as easy as possible, I have included time saving tips for using your Instant Pot for cooking the chicken and pasta, which can be done ahead of time.
Nothing says summer better than a cool, creamy pasta salad that is perfect for an outdoor picnic, bbq, or potluck.
Since I make so many pasta salads during the summer, I created this one, which as described above is a combination of many types of salads.
Why You’ll Love This Pasta Salad
- It’s Pasta Salad. First of all, who doesn’t love a cool, creamy pasta salad!
- Delicious. This pasta salad is bursting with flavors of Mexican chicken, corn, black beans, and that awesome avocado dressing.
- Make Ahead. Another reason to love this pasta salad is that you can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until when you are ready to serve it, or transport it to your outing.
- Use Leftovers. This is a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken, or corn, or beans.
Why This Pasta Salad Recipe Works
- This is a tried and true recipe that has been recipe tested.
- This recipe is easy to follow with the step by step instructions, as well as step by step photos.
- I include some time saving tips to cook chicken and/or pasta in an Instant Pot ahead of time.
How To Make Southwest Pasta Salad
Below I discuss the ingredients and possible substitutions in case you don’t have a specific ingredient on hand. However, if you are looking for the specific measurements of each ingredient, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this article, just above the comments, for the printable recipe card, which includes all all the ingredients and the specific amounts of each one.
Creamy Avocado Dressing Ingredients
- Mexican crema or sour cream
- Limes, juiced
- Ranch seasoning, spicy or any flavor
Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Cooked Rotini or other pasta like, penne or macaroni.
- Black Beans
- Chopped green chilis
- Black olives
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Green bell pepper
- Red onion
- Mexican blend shredded cheese
Creamy Avocado Dressing Directions
In a mixing bowl, combine all the creamy avocado dressing ingredients and stir to combine. It is fine if some of the avocados get a little mashed.
Pasta Salad Directions
In a large bowl, add pasta, corn, black beans, diced red onions, diced bell peppers, sliced black olives, and chopped green chiles.
Next, add the cherry tomato halves, and chopped cilantro, and stir together.
Make the Creamy Avocado Dressing (See Instructions above) and pour on top of salad. Add the shredded cheese and stir until all combined.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Flavorful Tip: For an even more flavorful pasta salad, make it a couple of hours or a day in advance to give the flavors some time to more fully develop and blend together.
Time Saving Tip: Make it easy on yourself and make the pasta in the Instant Pot. Set the pressure cook time for half the time it says to boil the pasta. That means if the directions on the pasta box says to boil the pasta for 10 minutes, then pressure cook for 5 minutes.
Chicken Tip: Use up leftover cooked chicken in this pasta salad. That means you can use Rotisserie chicken, or my Rotisserie Chicken Tenders, or from one of my other recipes, such as Skillet Chicken Fajitas, Easy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs, or Oven Baked Chicken Breasts in this recipe.
What To Serve With Southwest Pasta Salad
This recipe pairs well with any recipe that you would take to a cookout, barbecue, picnic or potluck. Below are some of my favorites to serve with it.
- BBQ Chicken Kabobs
- Instant Pot Pork Ribs
- BBQ Burgers
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
Can You Freeze Pasta Salad?
If you want to freeze pasta salad, it is best to freeze the pasta separately from other ingredients in order to maintain the texture of the pasta salad as much as possible. If you have leftover prepared pasta salad and want to freeze, it is not optimal, but you can freeze it but the texture may not be quite the same as when it was originally served.
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Mexican Chicken Southwest Pasta Salad Recipe
Creamy Avocado Dressing
- 2 avocados diced
- ½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 3 limes juiced
- 1 (1-ounce package) spicy ranch seasoning or any flavor
- 1 pound rotini cooked according to package directions
- 1 (15.5-ounce can) corn drained
- 1 (15.5-ounce can) black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 (17-ounce can) chopped green chilis
- 1 (6.5-ounce can) black olives
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 green pepper diced
- ⅓ cup cilantro chopped
- ⅓ cup red onion diced
- 1 cup Mexican shredded cheese
Creamy Avocado Dressing
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and stir to combine. It is fine if some of the avocados get a little mashed but make sure there are plenty of big pieces as well.
- In a large serving bowl combine all the pasta ingredients and gently stir together.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and stir to combine.
- Either serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.