Tex Mex pasta salad brings all your favorite southwest flavors to the table. Summer might be winding down but there’s still time for grilling, watching the lightening bugs flicker in the backyard, and long conversations with good friends over heaping plates of food. A big thank you to Skinner® for partnering with Restless Chipotle to bring you this quick and easy pasta recipe.
For this recipe you’ll need: Skinner® Texas Shape pasta, fire roasted corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, green onions, bacon, cilantro, queso fresco, fresh lime, fire roasted poblano pepper, mayonnaise, sugar, salt, chipotle in adobo, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepperJump to Recipe
There are just some things that come to mind when you think about summer. Endless days languidly stretching catlike into long velvet evenings sprinkled with shimmering stars top the list for me. My parents entertained friends nearly every weekend during the summer with everyone bringing a favorite dish to contribute to the table. There were tall stacks of sizzling steaks with crispy fat clinging to the edges, sliced and salted tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, and (my favorite) pasta salad.
Later, full tummied and sleepy eyed, I’d climb on my dad’s lap and listen to the rumble of his voice as I leaned against his chest. His voice, my mom’s voice, and the voices of their friends would begin to swirl together until some unknown magic happened and I found myself in my own bed squinting in the bright sunlight of a new day.
As my kids were growing up we had pasta meals often because they’re budget friendly, quick, and family pleasing. I’d often serve one of my mom’s pasta recipes because of the great memories that got stirred up but I also have a lot of pasta meals that I’ve come up with on my own, like this creamy-spicy Tex Mex pasta made with Skinner Texas Shape pasta.
At first I used Skinner pasta because my mom had used it. I grew up with it and saw no reason to change. Later I began to appreciate the huge variety of shapes which kept my toddlers interest in their dinners! Recently I’ve learned that Skinner Pasta has earned Non-GMO Project Verification on its most popular pasta products. (The Non-GMO Project is the only entity in North America that offers third-party verification and labeling for products made according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.)
That makes me super happy.
Tonight we had a houseful of friends over to celebrate my 18 year old starting a new chapter in his life and heading to college. He’ll be studying engineering at Texas A&M, following in the footsteps of my husband my husband’s family. It’s bittersweet for me.
On the one hand I am SO proud of him but on the other I’m not ready for this season of parenting him to be over.
I made this Tex Mex pasta salad as part of the celebration. Using the Texas shaped pasta made it even more fun and fit so well in my Texas theme! I even made a maroon and white bundt cake for dessert.
All of us sat around the table or leaned against counters with plates piled high with sandwiches, chips, and Tex Mex pasta salad. We reminisced about when the kids were small, laughed, cried, and emptied the bowl of pasta. There were chips left, there was chicken salad left, but by golly the Tex Mex pasta salad had disappeared.
As I talked with my friends and family my granddaughter leaned against my chest, listening to the rumble of my voice as I talked, her tummy full and her eyes heavy with sleep. I picked at the last few pieces of Texas shaped pasta that clung to the sides of the bowl and thought about the constants in my life. The blessings of good friends, good family, and good food have been an integral part of it and have carried me through wave after wave of adversity over the years.
Tips for Making Southwest Pasta Salad
This is a super easy recipe that you can even make ahead of time. Here are some tips and ideas for making it your own.
- You can use any kind of small pasta you like — farfalle, shells, or rotini work well, too.
- Don’t rinse the pasta, just drain it.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil if it starts sticking together.
- Don’t be afraid to use more chipotle if you like your foods to have a little more kick.
- Let the salad sit for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The flavors will blend together better.
- Salt the pasta water!
- Let the pasta cool completely before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.
- Turn this Tex Mex pasta into a hearty main dish by adding grilled chicken or steak.
- You’ll find more great pasta recipes on the Skinner Pasta Website.
Tex Mex Pasta Salad Recipe
This easy Tex Mex pasta salad recipe is unique with spicy fire roasted flavor as big as Texas! If you’re looking for a classic macaroni salad you might like this old fashioned macaroni salad recipe.
Tex Mex Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces Skinner Texas Shaped Pasta , cooked and drained - don't rinse
- 8 slices bacon , cooked until crispy and crumbled. Fat reserved
- 2 cups Fire Roasted Corn , about 2 15-ounce cans - drained
- 1 1/2 cups black beans , about 1 can - drained
- 1/3 cup cilantro , chopped
- 1 poblano pepper ,diced (fire roasted optional)
- 1 bunch green onions ,chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes ,cut in quarters
- 3 ounces queso fresco , crumbled
Creamy Tex Mex Dressing
- 2 tablesoons chipotle in adobo
- 1 teasoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- zest from 1 lime
- Salt and pepper
- Gently toss all pasta ingredients in a bowl, reserving 1 ounce or so of the queso fresco.
- Spoon the dressing over and mix gently.
- Add reserved queso fresco to the top of the salad.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Creamy Tex Mex Dressing
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
If you liked this creamy southwestern pasta salad you may also like…
Italian Pasta Salad, Black Eyed Pea Salad (Cowboy Caviar), BBQ Macaroni Salad
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Skinner® pasta. All opinions are my own.
Included in Meal Plan Monday!