Two Peas and Their Pod

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Last month we helped cater a family party. We were in charge of making three large salads. We made a simple spinach salad with berries, Greek Quinoa Salad, and Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing. I created the Southwestern Pasta Salad for the party and it has become one of our favorite pasta salads. We make it all of the time now. If you like our Creamy Avocado Pasta, I am positive you will love this pasta salad.

The pasta salad is loaded with flavor. It has black beans, tomatoes, peppers, onion, sweet corn, avocado and cilantro. And the best part? The creamy avocado dressing. It is rich and creamy, but in a healthy kind of way. The dressing is easy to whip up, just throw all of the ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

If you are looking for a new pasta salad recipe, give this Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing a try. It can be enjoyed as a side dish or main dish. This pasta salad is perfect for picnics, potlucks, parties, or everyday eating. Enjoy!

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Yield: Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


For the salad:

8 ounces pasta (I used Rotini)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced orange or yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup sweet corn (can use frozen corn)
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lime, for juicing over the salad
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

For the Creamy Avocado Dressing:

2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped and seeds removed
2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and stir in the pasta. Cook until al dente. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking, make the Creamy Avocado Dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, black beans, tomatoes, peppers, red onion, corn, and chopped avocado. Pour dressing over pasta salad and stir until salad is well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the salad, so the avocados don't brown. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Note-you may have leftover dressing, depending on how "dressed" you like your pasta salad. If the dressing is too thick, add more buttermilk.

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112 Responses to “Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing”

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  1. j3nn — August 22, 2012 @ 4:08 am

    Love all the bright colors. Avocado dressing sounds magnif!

  2. Jessica — August 22, 2012 @ 4:16 am

    Mmm – you do some seriously tasty stuff with avocados. I always love that Southwestern combo of corn and black beans, but I can think of a hundred ways to put your avocado dressing to good use!

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — August 22, 2012 @ 6:53 am

    Love that dressing! This salad sounds awesome :)

  4. Tasha @ ThatsSoYummy — August 22, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    This looks like summer in a bowl… Love the colors and combos. 😉

  5. Jen @ Savory Simple — August 22, 2012 @ 7:27 am

    This sounds great! I especially love the sound of that dressing.

  6. Rachel Cooks — August 22, 2012 @ 7:34 am

    I could definitely live on this—especially the pregnant me. Now I just need to find someone to make it for me….

  7. Cindy Ferguson — August 22, 2012 @ 8:09 am

    Looks delish Maria, can’t wait to try it!

  8. Ohhh, this looks sod delicious! I love anything that is southwestern style. Yum!!!

  9. Lori — August 22, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    This looks absolutely wonderful, but I really dislike cilantro. Any suggestions for alternate herbs?

  10. April — August 22, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    Looks wonderful and I love cilantro! Yum!

  11. Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — August 22, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    Oh YUM. That creamy avocado dressing is calling my name!

  12. The avocado dressing sounds amazing! Love all the bright colours in this salad.

  13. Cookie and Kate — August 22, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    This pasta salad is right up my alley! Avocado dressing and veggies, yum. Thank you for the link love, too, Maria!

  14. Minnie(@thelady8home) — August 22, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    Wow! This sounds really so healthy and flavourful.

  15. Lindsey @ Family Food Finds — August 22, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    Wow! That looks amazing! Love the colors!

  16. Renee - Kudos Kitchen — August 22, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    I love the sound of this avocado dressing! This pasta salad looks very inviting!!!

  17. RavieNomNoms — August 22, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    This looks to die for! JUST my kind of pasta salad…avocado makes everything better :-)

  18. I love this salad, everything about it is perfect for summer! Creamy Avocado Pasta is one of my favorites, and I know this would be equally as good!

  19. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — August 22, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    This salad is so pretty! Love the dressing – must try!

  20. Cathy @ Noble Pig — August 22, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    These are some of my fave flavors. Wow. Lucky for all who got to partake in it!

  21. Great idea! I love making pasta sauce with avocado, and dressing on cold pasta salad is an even smarter idea!

  22. Bren — August 22, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    Looks great! I am going to give it a try this weekend.

  23. Averie @ Averie Cooks — August 22, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    You always make the best sounding pasta salads!

  24. Riley — August 22, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    Anything with avocado! And corn. And cherry tomatoes. I love everything in this pasta salad, I’m sure it’s delicious!

  25. Heather (Heather's Dish) — August 22, 2012 @ 10:21 am


    this seriously sounds so incredible…i’m putting it on the menu next week!

  26. Shari @ The Daily Dish — August 22, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    This looks AWESOME! Thanks for sharing! :)

  27. Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — August 22, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    Holy cow, this looks fantastic! So colorful and flavorful.

  28. Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings — August 22, 2012 @ 11:07 am

    love anything southwest flavored :)

  29. Erica — August 22, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Avocado makes everything better 😉 Fantastic! And very festive looking

  30. Jeanine — August 22, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    Looks delicious – avocados are the best! Thanks for the link love :)

  31. kim@hungryhealthygirl — August 22, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    I absolutely LOVE all of the ingredients in this recipe. Looks like the perfect pasta salad!! Making this next week for sure!!

  32. Wow, this looks incredible and I love that it’s so easy! Awesome recipe for using up the end-of-summer produce!

  33. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — August 22, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

    This is amazing! Love the avocado dressing!!

  34. Christina @ This Woman Cooks! — August 22, 2012 @ 2:08 pm


  35. I’m loving the avocado dressing! What a fabulous way to use up some avocados AND boost your fiber content just a bit a long the way.

  36. SoyB — August 22, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    Looks yummy… one question. Do I need to worry about the dressing darkening like how guacamole does when left out a bit or does the other ingredients take care of that? Wondering if this could be made and brought to a party or made a little ahead, etc.. Thanks!

    • Two Peas replied: — August 23rd, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

      The lime keeps the dressing from browning. You can make it ahead of time!

  37. Saving this one in the recipe folder for sure…looks spectacular!

  38. Carla @ Carlas Confections — August 22, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

    I am definitely yearning for that creamy avocado dressing!!!!

  39. Joanne — August 22, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    I can definitely see this being a hit at my next family function!

  40. Katie @ Blonde Ambition — August 22, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    The dressing sounds amazing! Love avocado in sauces and dressings, it helps make them so creamy :)

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