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Overhead view of a large bowl of vegan southwest pasta salad with cilantro, black beans, corn, bell pepper and chipotle dressing..

Southwest Pasta Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This vegan Southwestern pasta salad is delicious any time but especially during the warm summer months. Serve as a main dish, side dish or appetizer!


For the Pasta Salad

  • 375 g rotini pasta 
  • 2 cups corn kernels (150 g) 
  • 2 jalapeno, diced (50 g) 
  • 2 tsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced (160 g) 
  • 2 medium red peppers, diced (350 g) 
  • 1-pint cherry tomato, halved (254 g)
  • 1 398 mL can of black beans, drained and rinsed (1.5 cup approx.) 
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

For the Southwest Dressing

  • 1 cup roasted cashews (125 g)
  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder 
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika 
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ½ tsp black pepper 
  • 1 garlic clove (5 g) 
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp lime zest


  1. Soak the Cashews: In a small bowl, cover the roasted cashews with 1 cup of boiling water. Let cashews soak for at least 15 minutes or until the water is no longer hot. This can be done up to 8 hours in advance.
  2. Cook Pasta: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook your pasta according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse well under cold water to stop the cooking and prevent sticking. 
  3. Roast Corn & Jalapeno: While the pasta is cooking, preheat the oven to Broil. Add the corn and jalapeno to a baking tray along with the oil and toss to coat. Spread in an even layer. roast in the oven on broil for 2 minutes, remove and stir around with a spoon. Place back in the oven for an additional 2 minutes or until the corn is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. Blend the Southwest Dressing: Once the cashews are done soaking, place the cashews and water into a blender along with the other spices, garlic, lime juice and zest.  
  5. Assemble the Pasta Salad: Once pasta is ready and corn has cooled, place in a large bowl with the onions, peppers, cherry tomato and black beans. Pour in the cashew dressing and mix thoroughly. Note: If you’re not serving right away, consider adding half the dressing and reserving half to add just before serving so the pasta doesn’t absorb all the sauce.
  6. Garnish & Serve: Season with salt and pepper if needed and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with a wedge of lime and enjoy!


If you don’t have chipotle powder, you can use 1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.


  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 505
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 471 mg
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 81 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 19 g