This creamy, spicy, packed with flavor pasta salad with a chipotle dressing is a fun twist on a classic. This is a great way to spice up the pasta salad routine…literally!
Is there a limit on the number of classic dishes we can transform with taco-inspired ingredients? It just seems like such an easy win. Can anyone turn down spices, avocado, cheddar cheese, and fresh corn? No, right?
For several years in a row we’ve done Slow Cooker Crispy Pork and a big taco bar for the Fourth of July, and this year was no different. It’s great for a crowd – large or small – and there are countless ways to use leftovers.
And the leftovers from any taco bar you might be planning? They can be thrown right into this pasta salad! Love when one meal becomes two or three…or four.
This pasta salad is tossed in a creamy dressing that can (and should!) be adapted to your tastes. Spice it up with a tablespoon or more of that adobo sauce or just use a bit which adds a smoky, subtle spice. No matter how much spice you use, the dry spices will give the dressing plenty of flavor.
And the rest of the ingredients are just as adaptable. Anything you’d like to see on a taco would be great here. I used those small sweet peppers which gave the salad great crunch and lots of extra color.
A squeeze of lime juice at the end adds a fresh, tangy flavor that balances the creamy dressing.
It’s part classic and part new, and both those parts are totally tasty.
- ½ cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- ½ cup Mayonnaise
- 2 tsp White Wine Vinegar
- ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tsp Ground Cumin
- ¼ tsp Ground Coriander
- ⅛ tsp Onion Powder
- 2 tsp - 2 Tbsp Adobo Sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
- 12 oz Fusilli Pasta (sub any pasta shape)
- 3 ears of Corn, kernels sliced off (2 cups frozen corn kernels, defrosted)
- 1 can (14 oz / 397 g) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 Bell pepper, diced (we used thinly sliced small sweet peppers in the version photographed)
- 6 oz Cheddar Cheese, cubed
- 1 Avocado, cubed
- 2 tsp - 4 tsp Lime juice
- 2 stalks Green onions, finely chopped
- Boil pasta according to package directions.
- Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Taste and add the adobo sauce a bit at a time to adjust to your spice (you can skip it altogether if you don’t want the pasta salad spicy).
- Toss together pasta, corn, black beans, bell pepper, cheese, and avocados (see note below - if not serving right away, wait to add the avocado).
- Just before serving, toss together the dressing and pasta salad with lime juice, to taste. Top with green onions.
For the cheese, an extra sharp cheddar is great as is pre-shredded Mexican Blend (pre-shredded saves time too!). We made the version above with Pepper Jack Cheese which added extra spice but was great!
If making this ahead, store the dressing separate from the other ingredients and just toss everything together at the last minute. It’s a good idea to wait to cube and add the avocado at the last minute as well.
This is great with rotisserie chicken tossed in which makes a great lunch!
When you’re a twin and want a pic in every single photo board at the zoo….