Southwestern Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing

from 3 votes

Add a flavor-packed spin to a deli classic with a crowd-friendly recipe for refreshing Southwestern Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing.

Large bowl containing Southwestern Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing

Are you ready to skip the store-bought deli salads that are more mayonnaise than pasta? Look no further than this big bowl of Southwestern Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing! It’s a rainbow of flavors starring your choice of pasta and one seriously creamy yogurt-based dressing.

Glass bowl containing diced tomatoes, diced orange bell pepper, yellow corn kernels, sliced scallions, cavatappi and black beans

This quick-fix pasta salad is packed full of vibrant peppers, hearty black beans, sweet corn, juicy tomatoes and fresh green onions ready to be tossed with a zippy dressing. The best part? Adding black beans and Cotija cheese help take this salad from side-dish to star of the show with a healthy dose of protein.

Top down view of blender containing yogurt, avocado, minced garlic, salt and pepper

No pasta salad is complete without a delicious dressing to tie it all together. And no Southwestern recipe is complete without avocado. Tangy yogurt, ripe avocado, honey, and lime come together in a blender to make a creamy concoction that will become your go-to dressing, dip and even sandwich spread.

Large bowl containing Southwestern Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing

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Main Course

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing

Whip up a 30-minute meal in-a-bowl with a refreshing recipe for southwestern pasta salad starring DIY avocado dressing.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4 from 3 votes
Large bowl containing Southwestern Pasta Salad with Avocado Dressing
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings


For the pasta salad:

  • 8 oz. uncooked pasta, such as shells, cavatappi or penne
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup yellow corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • Cotija cheese, for garnishing

For the avocado dressing:

  • 1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey


Make the pasta salad:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl.
  • To the bowl, add the bell pepper, corn, black beans, tomatoes and scallions.

Make the dressing:

  • In a blender, combine the avocado, yogurt, garlic, lime juice and honey. Blend until puréed, scraping down the sides as needed. 
  • Transfer the dressing to the bowl with the pasta and toss to combine.
  • Garnish the pasta salad with the cotija cheese and serve immediately or store, covered securely, in the fridge until ready to serve. 
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 271kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 28mg, Potassium: 520mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 1175IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 69mg, Iron: 1mg


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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  1. 5 stars
    We all loved it! I always tweak dressings a little to suit our taste , but it was a hit at our house, and I’ll definitely be making again. I’ve already shared the recipe. Even my (fussy) husband loved it and asked to have it as our new dish for cookouts. Thank you!

  2. 2 stars
    Overall extremely bland. It needs red pepper or some zing to it. There isn’t flavor if you follow the directions as is. It needs some additions.

  3. Maybe I did something wrong, but this was very bland to me, the only thing I did not add was the cheese. I ended up throwing the whole batch away after about 2 days because it was just blah, I tried to add more garlic, salt, pepper, onions, etc., but it never had a punch like I expected. I don’t like spicy so that was not the problem, I just think all the ingredients are pretty bland on their own and it just didn’t work for me. :(

  4. Hello , I really enjoy your recipes and your site , Question how long would this last in the refridgerator , un dressed and same for the dressing ? I like to take salads to work for lunch and I’m definately going to go for this one ..

    1. Hi Kenneth! Both the pasta salad and avocado dressing will keep up to a few days when stored separately. Enjoy!