Monday, June 21, 2010

Pasta Taco Salad

I was looking for a different sort of side dish to bring to a family BBQ this past weekend, and I found this pasta salad on a blog called Cara's Cravings (her picture is definitely better than mine, I was only able to capture the leftovers). There were rave reviews, and I just happened to have some leftover wagon wheel pasta, so I gave it a go.

My review: It was a nice change from the usual pasta salad, and the flavors were good. I used a very mild salsa and limited chili powder to cater to some picky palates, and I definitely think it needed more spice. In fact, we kicked up the leftovers with some spicy picante-style salsa later on, and I liked it much better. Also, I don't think the "vinaigrette" is necessary - do we really need to be adding a 1/2 cup of oil to this otherwise pretty healthy salad? I used a lot less, and I think it would be fine omitting it completely and just mixing in the lime juice and spices right into the pasta. But, I'll post the recipe as-is and you can judge for yourself!


1 lb. wagon wheel pasta
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10 oz. package frozen corn (if you are going to make this at least several hours ahead, no need to defrost first)
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
8 oz. shredded Mexican-blend cheese (I didn't add this)
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, diced


1. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese. Add the cooled pasta and mix well.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Pour over the pasta salad, add the cilantro, and mix well. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

4. Just before serving, stir in the diced avocado

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