Mexican Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of those dishes that is like a blank canvas.  It’s simple: noodles, veggies, meat or cheese, and a dressing.  Done and done.  I like pasta salad for a side when it’s hot out.  Something about it just screams picnic or barbecue.   I also happen to like pasta salad for feeding tiny humans.  Everyone knows that kids like noodles.  It’s funny, because when I threw together this pasta salad, I used salsa in my dressing.  And I thought it would be too spicy for the kids.  Even KB and my momma thought it was a little spicy. But wouldn’t you know it, the kids ate it up?  I guess if you don’t say it’s spicy they might not think it’s spicy.

Anyways, I’m sure a Mexican pasta salad isn’t a new concept.  And I guess this isn’t technically Mexican food.  I just threw in some ingredients and flavors I normally use when I’m cooking Mexican food and made a dressing out of store-bought salsa and called it a Mexican pasta salad.

Start by making your dressing in the bottom of a large bowl.  Add jar of salsa, mayonnaise and sour cream.

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Whisk together and set aside.

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In a large bowl, place the cooked shell noodles.  I used shell noodles because they have pockets for the dressing.

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Then add ingredients.  Here is where you can get creative, but I added the following: onion, roasted red pepper, pepper jack cheese, corn, green chiles, black beans, tomatoes, green onions, avocados and olives.  Use what you like, leave out what you don’t.

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Mix to combine.

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Pour the dressing on top.

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Mix to combine.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Recipe:
1 – 16 oz box of shell pasta
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1  - 15 oz can black beans
1 cup canned corn
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup green chiles (fresh or canned)
1/4 cup sliced olives
1 avocado, diced
8 oz pepper jack cheese, cut in small cubes

dressing:
1 jar of store-bought salsa
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream

Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.  Cook shell pasta to al dente.  In a large bowl, add pasta, onion, tomato, roasted red pepper, black beans, corn, green onions, green chiles, sliced olives, diced avocado, and pepper jack cheese.  Mix to combine. Add dressing and mix again so dressing is coating all the salad.  Serve and enjoy!

Caroline