Looking for a flavorful pasta salad recipe? Look no further! This Southwest Pasta Salad is packed with veggies, juicy grilled chicken, and a kick!
This delicious southwest pasta salad recipe is sponsored by ALDI USA. As always, all thoughts and opinions remain my own and I’m proud to partner with brands I love.
Pasta salad is my love language. And I really am not picky on the type. But I have to say, this Southwestern version is quickly climbing the ranks to becoming my new favorite. We’ve been eating it on repeat this year and it’s the perfect dish to make for the Fourth of July, no matter how you’re celebrating this year!
When I was a little girl I remember being in line at big picnics, waiting for my turn to fill up my plate. Sure, the burgers and dogs looked fine, but I was there for the other goods.
Coleslaw, pickles, deviled eggs, fruit salad, potato salad and my all-time favorite…pasta salad. And of course, room for homemade pie and brownies.
There’s something about cool or cold pasta in dressing on a hot summer day, there’s nothing better and it’s so nostalgic.
As I’ve grown up, I’m still just as pasta salad obsessed. All my father in law has to say is -“I’ve got pasta salad”…and I’m over in a flash. I’ve been known to sneak a midnight serving or two. 🙂
But when I make something, I just have to stray a bit from the traditional. I love playing with different flavor combinations, and I feel like I’m always coming back to dishes with a Southwestern or Mexican flair.
So, when I was loading up for my weekly ALDI haul and wanted to make some pasta salad, I thought – “why not use some salsa and sour cream for a yummy dressing and put my favorite taco/fajita ingredients together to make something new?”
What gives this pasta salad southwest flavor?
The ingredients in this pasta salad really resemble what you would find in a taco or burrito bowl. We’ve got bell pepper, tomato, jalapeno, corn, beans and green onion. I love adding juicy grilled chicken but you can leave that out if you want.
The dressing is a mixture of salsa (the Simply Nature Salsa from ALDI is absolutely to die for), sour cream, and mayonnaise. I love using salsa in sauces and dressings because it’s instantly packed with flavor and all you have to do is open a jar!
I found all of the ingredients at my ALDI, which is great because lately, I’ve been short on time and I just don’t have time to shop around. ALDI is always my number 1 pick, but it’s even better in the summer because they have all of the fresh produce and high-quality foods that I’m looking for. What more do you need in the warm months?
How do you grill the chicken so that it’s juicy?
Grilling juicy chicken is actually super easy. If you want to make this recipe with chicken (makes it more of a main dish), get out some boneless skinless chicken breast.
Pat it dry with a towel, this helps with sticking to the grill. Season it simply with salt and pepper and drizzle on just a bit of olive oil.
Once it’s on the grill, don’t touch it for about 10 minutes. Then, flip it and let it cook until it’s 165F internally. Once it reaches 165F at the thickest point of the meat, pull it and let it rest before cutting into it. This helps the juices stay in the meat, and not on your cutting board.
Do you have to use chicken? What can I use instead?
You certainly don’t have to use chicken here if you’re wanting more of a side dish, or if you’re trying to cook something without meat. I’d recommend adding another can of beans or chickpeas…but simply leaving it out is fine, too!
I know you’re going to love this pasta salad recipe. Make it and tag me on Instagram!Print
Southwest Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken
Looking for a flavorful pasta salad recipe? Look no further! This Southwest Pasta Salad is packed with veggies, juicy grilled chicken and a kick!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
For the grilled chicken (this is optional, you can do meat-free if you’d like!):
- 1 lb. Simply Nature Organic Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- about 2 tsp. Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the pasta salad:
- 16 oz. Priano Bronze-Cut Pasta (I like the rigatoni or conchiglie/shells), cooked according to package directions
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 1 and 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 jalapenos, finely diced and de-seeded (optional)
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- 1 (15 oz.) can Dakota’s Pride Pinto or Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can Happy Harvest Sweet Corn, drained
- 1 (10 oz.) can Casa Mamita Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, drained
- 1/2 cup Burman’s Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Friendly Farms Sour Cream
- 1/4 cup Simply Nature Organic Salsa (I use the medium)
- salt and pepper, to taste, if needed (taste it after it’s all mixed together)
- Start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat (450-500F).
- Then, remove the chicken from the packaging and pat it dry with a paper towel. Season with the salt and pepper and then drizzle on the olive oil.
- Place the chicken on the grill and grill for 10-12 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of your chicken) until it reaches 165F internally at the thickest part of the breast.
- Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting it into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the chicken, bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeno, green onion, corn, beans, and tomatoes and green chilies to the cooked pasta in a very large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and salsa. This is your dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and stir until everything is well combined and distributed.
- This can be served warm or cold and can be stored in a covered container for 2-3 days in the fridge. Enjoy!