Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Southwest Pasta Salad

This is a fun change from the normal pasta salad.  We like to have it as a side dish with hamburgers or with a Mexican flavored chicken (either marinated or with a seasoning).  If we just have the pasta I cook up some chicken chunks to add to the pasta.

Southwest Pasta Salad
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1/2 lb bowtie pasta
1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes,  diced or about 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup sliced green onions (I always forget this so I usually end up using normal onions)
1/2 cup fresh corn (or frozen corn)
zest from limes
optional: 8oz diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup Queso Fresco or Cotija Cheese  (or you could sub grated jack, cheddar, or perpperjack)

6 TBS fresh lime juice (about 3 juicy limes)
1/4 C white wine or rice vinegar
4-5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 tsp sugar (add a touch more if your limes are extra sour/bitter)
3/4 C canola oil
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro

To prepare dressing boil pasta in salted water until cooked.  While it's cooking, prepare dressing.

First, zest your limes and place the zest in a large salad bowl.

Place the lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and sugar in a blender.  (Basically everything except the cilantro and oil).  Process until smooth.  With the motor running slowly, add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated.   Add the cilantro and pulse so it gets broken up, but some pieces still remain in tact.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse immediately with cold water to cool.  Place the pasta in the large salad bowl with the lime zest.  Add black beans, tomatoes, diced pepper, green onions, corn (no need to thaw the corn), and chicken if desired.  Toss with dressing.  Taste, and add additional salt and pepper to taste.  For best results, chill for 1 hour before serving.  Right before serving, sprinkle cheese on top.  Serve with extra lime wedges if desired.

Makes about 4-6 dinner sized servings or 10-12 servings.

1 comment:

The Duke said...

This sounds really good. I think I'm going to give it a try.