This Southwest Pasta Salad With Chipotle Dressing is the perfect side dish for your next summer BBQ! With bacon and cheese, it’ll be a hit!
Chipotle Pasta Salad
During pasta salad season, the same old recipes can get kind of boring. That’s where this Southwest Pasta Salad with Chipotle Dressing comes in!
One of the side dish recipes that will be perfect for your next cookout or summer potluck, this creamy southwest pasta salad is packed with flavor and heat. As a bonus, it’s great the next day as well! Eat it for lunch as your main dish or snack on it throughout the day.
One thing to be careful with in this great recipe is the amount of heat that you use. I highly recommend adding the chipotle slowly to your sauce and tasting it as you go. If you like it very spicy, use the entire thing. If you want just a little kick for extra flavor, try a quarter of the chili pepper.
This is one of the best pasta salad recipes you’re going to find, so whether you have it as a main meal or serve it on your barbecue table next to fresh veggies and fruit, this is sure to become one of your new favorites.
- You can easily make this a Chipotle Chicken Pasta Salad by adding leftover rotisserie chicken or chicken breasts.
- Turn this into a vegetarian salad by omitting the bacon.
- This will be fine at room temperature for a few hours, but if you plan to serve it on a hot day outdoors, you will want to place it on ice to keep it chilled.
How To Make Southwestern Pasta Salad:
12 oz elbow macaroni
1 red onion, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup bacon, cooked and diced (approximately 5-6 pieces)
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp adobo sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1 small canned chipotle chile, drained and minced (to taste)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add your elbow noodles and cook pasta for 8-10 minutes until al dente. If the package directions state something different, follow those until al dente.
Drain it in a colander and allow the pasta to cool. Run some cold water over it if you don’t have time to wait.
While the pasta cooks, cook your bacon (in your preferred method) until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan/plate and place it on paper towels to drain the grease. Cut it into small pieces.
Peel, cut, and dice the onion, and add the small pieces to a large bowl.
Core, seed, and dice the red pepper. Add those pieces to the bowl.
Add your bacon pieces and cooked pasta, then stir to combine.
In a medium bowl or food processor, mix your mayo and sour cream.
Add the vinegar, honey, sugar, adobo sauce, and salt to the sauce. Stir your dressing ingredients to combine well.
Add your chipotle peppers to the sour cream mixture. The chipotle will be spicy, so you may want to add a quarter of the can at a time, tasting it to make sure that it isn’t too hot. When you have the right amount of heat, continue to the next step.
Refrigerate both bowls under plastic wrap for a couple of hours until you are ready to serve your cold pasta salad for best results.
When you are ready to serve this easy Southwest Pasta Salad recipe, mix the shredded cheese and cilantro into the pasta. Cilantro is delicate, so you’ll want to wait until the last minute to add it.
Stir your creamy chipotle sauce into the pasta salad ingredients, serve it in a large salad bowl, and enjoy!
Store any leftover pasta salad in an airtight container or under plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
What Kind Of Noodles Should I Use For This Creamy Southwest Pasta Salad Recipe?
I like to use a short pasta like elbow noodles or ditalini pasta for this great recipe, but you can use rotini pasta or anything else you have on hand.
I would not use spaghetti or linguine, because you’re looking for something that will both hold the sauce and fit on your fork easily. You can also easily replace gluten-free pasta if you’re looking to make this gluten-free.
What Other Vegetables Can I Add To This Easy Pasta Salad Recipe?
This creamy pasta salad is excellent just the way it is, but it’s very easy to add other ingredients if you’d like.
Black beans, sweet corn, black olives, green onions, or Roma tomatoes could work well. If you don’t have Monterey Jack cheese available, you could also use either cheddar cheese or Colby Jack in its place.
Can I Use Greek Yogurt As An Ingredient Substitute?
Yes! You can swap plain Greek yogurt out for sour cream equally (use 1/2 cup total). You can also substitute Greek yogurt for some mayo, but I would use 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt instead of substituting the entire 1/2 cup.
I do not recommend using Greek yogurt to substitute both ingredients in this recipe or you won’t get the fresh flavors you’re looking for.
Are You Looking For More Tasty Salad Recipes? Here Are Some Of My Favorites:
- Layered Taco Salad With Fritos
- Black Bean Avocado Salad
- Dill Pickle Potato Egg Salad
- Easy Dorito Taco Salad
- Easy Cranberry Chicken Salad
- Everything Bagel Vegan Potato Salad
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If you have the option of making the dressing the night before, do that and allow it to chill in the fridge overnight. It will allow the flavors to meld. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. This calculation is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a doctor or dietitian. This calculator is a guide, but makes no guarantee of being exact or fully accurate.
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 644mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 10g
If you have the option of making the dressing the night before, do that and allow it to chill in the fridge overnight. It will allow the flavors to meld.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
This calculation is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a doctor or dietitian. This calculator is a guide, but makes no guarantee of being exact or fully accurate.
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