Sunday, August 17, 2008

Southwestern Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad

This was one of the first recipes I came across when I started frequenting the What's Cooking? Board (a forum for newlyweds sharing a common interest in food). It's a pasta salad recipe from Cara of Cara's Cravings. When I first read through the recipe, I knew I had to try it - I'll try anything with avocados in it, I love them! The big question, though, was whether my husband would eat it because he hates pasta salad.

The dish comes together quite easily. While the pasta is cooking, you can chop the tomatoes and cilantro, mix together the dressing, and throw the remaining ingredients into a large salad bowl. It's the kind of dish that is perfect for a weeknight meal, or to take with you to a potluck or luncheon.

Since the dressing is not mayonnaise-based, this dish is really light. If you're looking for something a little more filling, you could add diced, cooked chicken to this dish.

This recipe is definitely a keeper - much to my surprise, my husband loved it. It's still the only pasta salad that I can get him to eat, but something is still better than nothing!

And if you like this, you might also want to try the Tex Mex Salsa.

Southwestern Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad
from Cara's Cravings

8 ounces wagon wheel macaroni, uncooked
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (9 ounce) package frozen corn, thawed
1 cup salsa
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (I used about 1/2 cup - love cilantro!)
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed (I omitted these)
1 avocado, pitted, chopped (I sliced mine instead)

1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 large garlic cloves, minced

In medium bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; mix well. Set aside.

Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain cooked pasta; rinse with cold water until cool.

In large bowl, combine beans, corn, salsa, tomatoes and cilantro.

Add cooked pasta and dressing to bean mixture; toss until well coated. Stir in half each of the cheese and tortilla chips. Place salad on large serving platter or in large serving bowl. Top with remaining cheese; garnish with remaining chips and avocado.


  1. i have been wanting to try this since i heard about it a looooong time ago. it looks wonderful with the sliced avocado on top. i think i will try to make it sometime this week to take to work.

  2. What a delectable pasta variety!! Love the addition of the avocado slices - avocado makes everything taste better, in my opinion :0)

  3. This looks great! I love this take on pasta salad. I'll have to try it sometime!

  4. It's all sorts of pretty but I am allergic to far too many of the ingredients. :(

  5. Looks so fun! I know my family would go nuts for this and I'd get all the avocado for myself!

  6. I bet my kids would be all over this, especially if I included the crushed chips! I've been on a salad kick and might have to add this one to my rotation.

  7. i'm usually not too keen on pasta salad either, but there's no way i could resist this--it has everything i love. black beans, corn, maters, AVOCADO, cilantro. i'd be forced to use jack cheese though--it's my favorite. love the pictures. :)

  8. I'm a sucker for anything Mexican and this looks delicious! Next time I have to bring a dish to a cookout this is going to be it. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)

  10. Such a catchy name -- wanna make this just for that alone.. Of course anything with avocado is instantly appealing to me so..

  11. This looks delicious! I'm going to have to add it to my list of things to make!

  12. So glad you like it! This is definitely one of my favorite summer dishes, so much that my sweet husband has decided to try his own hand at making it for my belated birthday party this weekend :)

  13. Mmm... this looks fantastic!

    I'm a big fan of pasta salad, so I'll definitely have to give this one a try.

    Thanks for the delicious idea :)