Southwestern Pasta Salad

Say goodbye to gloopy mayonnaise-covered pasta salads. We put an avocado to work to create an irresistibly creamy dressing, that won’t have any of the mayonnaise-haters running for the dusky hills. The only drawback is that the dressing will oxidize after a little while and go gray. Don’t worry, the salad will be no less delicious, but plan on serving this within an hour or two of making it. For a little heat, add thinly sliced fresh jalapeños or even some drained pickled ones. Or if you really want to turn up the temperature, add a can of chopped green chilies to the dressing before blending.

southwestern-pasta-salad
Photo by Greg DuPree
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  • Serves 4 (serving size: 1⅔ cups)
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Say goodbye to gloopy mayonnaise-covered pasta salads. We put an avocado to work to create an irresistibly creamy dressing, that won’t have any of the mayonnaise-haters running for the dusky hills. The only drawback is that the dressing will oxidize after a little while and go gray. Don’t worry, the salad will be no less delicious, but plan on serving this within an hour or two of making it. For a little heat, add thinly sliced fresh jalapeños or even some drained pickled ones. Or if you really want to turn up the temperature, add a can of chopped green chilies to the dressing before blending.

Ingredients

  1. Check 8 ounces campanelle or other short pasta
  2. Check 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for pasta water
  3. Check ¾ cup olive oil
  4. Check ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  5. Check ¼ cup cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  6. Check 1 ripe avocado, halved, divided
  7. Check ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  8. Check 1 15.5-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  9. Check 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  10. Check 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 3 ears) or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  11. Check 5 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain and rinse pasta under cold water to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, combine olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, ½ of the avocado, ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and ¼ cup of water in a blender and process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. Combine pasta and avocado dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; toss well. Thinly slice remaining half of avocado. Serve salad topped with scallions and avocado.