make ahead / reheat, sides, vegetarian

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Southwestern Pasta Salad

My horseback riding club has a monthly meeting and themed potluck. This month’s potluck theme was salad. The meetings are on Friday evenings, so anything I bring to the potluck needs to be something that I can either make the night before or is quick and easy to make after work. Also, because it’s Lent, I either needed to make a fish or vegetarian dish. I didn’t have much leftovers to take home!

The great thing about this salad is that you can use what you have on hand, and change up the proportions somewhat if you need to. For example, if you only have 1½ cups of corn, totally fine. I haven’t done a big grocery stock up in a while because I give up half of my grocery budget for Lent (and donate it to a food pantry or other similar hunger-related cause), so I just used what I had on hand. You could also add black beans, but I didn’t have any canned ones in my pantry, and I didn’t have time to deal with the dried ones. You could also use sour cream or plain yogurt instead of the mayo, but if you do, I’d recommend cutting way back on the vinegar.

Servings: 2½ quarts, serves ~16-20


  • 2-2½ cups dry pasta (penne recommended)
  • 3 tomatoes, diced (or one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 cups frozen corn (or 1 can corn, drained)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (could substitute another cheese, such as mild cheddar)
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic seasoning (or 1 tbsp dried minced garlic + ½ tsp garlic powder)
  • 3 tbsp Tastefully Simple Onion Onion seasoning (or 3 tbsp dried minced onions


pasta salad in mixing bowlPrepare pasta according to package instructions.

While pasta is cooking, place corn, tomatoes, and bell pepper in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In another mixing bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar and mayonnaise until well-combined. Add cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, garlic, and onion and whisk until well-incorporated. Set aside.

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and rinse under cold water to get it cooled to at least room temperature. Transfer the pasta to the mixing bowl with the veggies. Add the dressing and stir until everything is well-combined. Stir in cheese.

Refrigerate until serving. Recommend stirring again before serving.

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