Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

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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!

If you like this easy pasta salad, you might also like:

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

This easy pasta salad is a summer favorite. You will LOVE the creamy avocado dressing!
4.50 from 2 votes


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
  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. 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!

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

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

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

  5. 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!

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

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

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

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. The dressing sounds amazing! Love avocado in sauces and dressings, it helps make them so creamy 🙂

  13. Southwestern food should always come with creamy avocado dressing in my opinion! Your recipe for the dressing looks great with all the spices and seasonings! I’ve never tried making it with buttermilk, either which is brilliant. The whole salad looks fantastic and definitely perfect to make in big batches for gatherings!

  14. Made this tonight….and delicious!!!! Snuck some into a tupperware for work lunch tomorrow before it was all gone 🙂 Hoping the dressing does not brown overnight!

  15. I made this for dinner last night,, and I jujst and, LOOOOOVVVED it! We ate it for lunch today…just as good. Thanks!!

  16. i have used avocados as an ingredient in salads but never used it in a dressing! what a brilliant idea. we are having people over for dinner next weekend and i know what salad i am serving 😉

  17. Wow…it looks so nice. With all these ingredients, the textures will be fantastic. I am thinking, maybe try to add some white wine will create good flavor too. 🙂

  18. i made this last night for my bunco group, and they all loved it – everyone wants the recipe! i made extra avocado dressing to use on a lettuce salad tonight – win win 🙂

  19. I thought I commented on this already, but I guess I didn’t!
    I adore this recipe! Pinned for dinner next week!

  20. Oh I am so in love with this!! This is perfect for a party, especially labor day coming up!

  21. I love this recipe!! This is packed full of nutrition and no one would even know it. Thanks for this great idea. I will be making this for an upcoming party!
    Have a healthy day.

  22. This was a big hit with my family. I left the jalapeno seeds in to spice it up a bit too! Will definitely be making again. Thank you 🙂

  23. My best friend and I both looked at this recipe yesterday morning, independent from one another, and then when we got together to plan dinner we both mentioned a pasta salad recipe we saw. Lo and behold, it was the same recipe so we made it last night. After three bowls, I decided I really needed to control myself. This was excellent! 🙂

  24. K so I finally made this today and all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, this is the best veg friendly salad and the dressing is so delicious!

  25. How long will the dressing keep in the fridge? I would like this for regular green salads over the course of the week but only have time to cook on the weekend? Will it keep for a week?

    1. I haven’t kept the dressing for a week. I have stored it for a few days and it was fine.

  26. I made this tonight because I was looking for a pasta salad that was different from the norm. It’s easy to make and I like that the dressing is on the lighter side. However, the green color isn’t super appetizing so I was a little skeptical. It was a huge hit at the BBQ I took it to! I can’t remember the last time I got so many compliments on something and I consider myself to be a pretty decent cook. The only changes I made were to add a dash of Worcestershire to the dressing bc it needed a little something more. I made the dressing several hours ahead and let it sit which I think really helped develop the flavor (although this wasn’t planned). Add some chicken and you have yourself a light summer pasta. Definitely a keeper.

  27. Made this last week and enjoyed it. I found that the dressing recipe as written made more than we needed, so I think I would halve that next time to get the bright, fresh look/taste that the photo advertises. 🙂 Otherwise, it was delicious and I would totally make it again. (love avocados and am learning about homemade dressings) Thanks for the recipe!

  28. Hi! May I know how many tsp of salt did you use for the dressing? I am gonna make it for my project in class. Thanks.

    1. I probably used a teaspoon, but taste and salt as needed! Everyone has different tastes when it comes to salt!

  29. Love your site and recipes. Wanted to know if you list the nutritional information for your recipes.
    Appreciate it.

  30. Hi,
    I made your recipe last night and it was AMAZING !! the dressing along was just wonderful. My husband is allergic to tomato, so I just added more bell peppers. I made mine a bit more spicy. I even shared some with the guys are work, and all loved it. I will put this recipe with my favorite recipes now. It’s easy, super healthy, tasty and husband friendly. Thank you !! 🙂

  31. Tried this recipe tonight and it is amazing. Can’t wait to make it again when my other half is back in town 🙂 Maria, your recipes never disappoint!

  32. this recipe is delicious, thanks for sharing. I’m always looking for new recipes to try 🙂


  33. 5 stars
    I made this to take to a camping potluck, and it was a hit! It was a nice change from the typical pasta salad. I doubled the recipe and it was plenty to put out at a potluck! Delicious and a keeper!