Add a flavorful twist to a traditional pasta salad with this scrumptious Mexican pasta salad! Full of Mexican flavors, this great side dish was meant to impress.
Creamy & Spicy Mexican Pasta Salad
This Mexican-inspired pasta salad is truly the CHEESE KNEES (yes, we referenced ourselves here — don’t judge). It’s got a heavenly creamy dressing made of ranch dressing, sour cream, taco seasoning, and salsa. It is stuffed with mouthwatering ingredients like black beans, cherry tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and of course, corn!
So buckle up, buttercup. This perfect pasta salad recipe is gonna be your new favorite thing!
why you’ll love it!
- The flavors and textures are out of this world!
- It’s a simple side dish that can be made in under 30 minutes.
- It tastes even better the next day!
- A perfect crowd-pleaser for any occasion.
What is Mexican Pasta Salad?
This pasta salad recipe is full of Mexican-inspired flavors that, of course, include CHEESE. To be clear, this is NOT an authentic Mexican recipe, but rather our humble version of it transformed into delicious pasta salad form!
Traditional Mexican macaroni salad is called “Ensalada De Coditos,” which simply means “macaroni salad” in Spanish. An authentic recipe typically uses elbow pasta, diced carrots and celery, corn, roasted red bell peppers, jalapeños, Mexican crema, and mayonnaise.
What’s In Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad?
- Cavatappi pasta: we love the look of twisty cavatappi noodles, but any type of pasta will do.
- Black beans: a staple for any Mexican dish, beans add texture, flavor, and dimension to this dish.
- Cherry tomatoes: juicy tomatoes help keep this pasta salad fresh and bright.
- Corn: another staple Mexican ingredient, corn adds sweetness and texture that is simply unbeatable.
- Bell pepper: we used green bell pepper for this recipe, but any bell pepper would taste great.
- Queso fresco: easily the BEST cheese for this Mexican pasta salad.
- Onion: onions provide a satisfying crunch and flavor that is irresistible.
- Cilantro: cilantro adds a fresh, earthy flavor that goes so well with the pasta. Omit it if you’d like!
- Ranch dressing: we love the tangy creaminess of the ranch as a base for the dressing. It’s delish!
- Sour cream: we used sour cream for this recipe, but plain greek yogurt is a great substitute.
- Taco seasoning: use a leftover taco seasoning packet or make your own easy taco seasoning!
- Salsa: use your favorite kind of salsa, whether that’s mild or spicy.
How to Make Mexican Pasta Salad
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta according to package instructions for about 8 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water.
Next, place the cooked pasta, beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cheese, onion, and cilantro into a large bowl. Set aside.
Now it’s time to put all this creamy goodness together!
In a small bowl, add the ranch dressing, sour cream, taco seasoning, and salsa and stir to combine. Pour the dressing into the large bowl and stir to make sure all of the ingredients are coated in the dressing.
GARNISH & SERVE
To serve, garnish with more chopped cilantro and queso fresco. Enjoy!
Top Tips for Perfect Mexican Pasta Salad
- Al dente pasta is where it’s at: Try not to overcook your pasta. Otherwise, it could get a mushy texture once mixed in with all the other pasta salad ingredients.
- Pan-fry the corn: we love pan-frying the sweet corn for this delicious pasta salad. Fry it on high heat in a cast iron skillet so that the skillet gets hot hot hot and retains heat, resulting in perfectly charred corn.
- Make it SPICY: like things super spicy? Add in some cayenne pepper or jalapeños!
What to Serve With It
This Mexican pasta salad recipe is an amazing side for any occasion — but we especially love it when we’re GRILLING. Our sister site, Fit Foodie Finds, has some great recipe pairings, including:
Store this Mexican pasta salad in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Garnish with additional fresh cilantro when serving leftovers.
Mexican Pasta Salad
- 8 oz. cavatappi pasta
- 15 oz. canned black beans
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 10 oz. frozen corn thawed
- ½ green bell pepper diced
- 5 oz. queso fresco ~1 cup
- ¼ red onion minced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- ¾ cup ranch dressing
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- ½ cup salsa any kind
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions for about 8 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water.
- Place the cooked pasta, beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cheese, onion, and cilantro into a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, add the ranch dressing, sour cream, taco seasoning, and salsa and stir to combine. Pour the dressing into the large bowl and stir to make sure all of the ingredients are coated in the dressing.
- To serve, garnish with more chopped cilantro and queso fresco.
Tips & Notes
- This dish can be served immediately, but the longer it sits, the more the flavors will develop.
- Pan-fry the corn for an elevated flavor.
- Avocado would be a great addition if you plan on serving it immediately. Otherwise, wait to add this until you are ready to serve.