This Mexican pasta salad is crunchy, creamy, spicy and so easy to make. Look no further for your next cookout side. Imagine your favorite Mexican street corn in pasta salad form with a creamy (dairy free) dressing!
Summer calls for pasta salads, and if you've been around here for a while you know Zach and I are obsessed with Mexican food. So it just seemed natural to make this Mexican street corn pasta salad a thing. Here's what you need to make this happen!
Ingredients for Mexican Pasta Salad:
- Gluten free (optional) pasta
- 4 ears of fresh corn
- Spices including: cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
- Red bell pepper
- Red onion
The dressing for this recipe is a little bit involved, but you won't regret making it. It goes on this pasta salad but it also goes so well with salads, tacos and chicken.
How to make Mexican Pasta Salad:
- The recipe starts by preparing the pasta. When you're making a pasta salad you want it to be cooked and cooled before mixing everything together. Follow the directions on the pasta package then drain and rinse.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the corn. Roasting the corn with Mexican spices to build the flavor and give the corn a deep flavor. Coat them in the spices, wrap them in foil and throw them in the oven.
- Prep the dressing by adding everything to the bowl of a food processor then blend until smooth. Set aside and chop all of the ingredients then toss with the drained and cooled pasta.
- Cut the corn off the cob when it's done roasting and add it to the bowl then toss everything with the creamy dressing.
Pasta Salad Q&A:
What is the best pasta for pasta salad?
The best pasta for pasta salad is a short and twisty one with lots of nooks and crannies to catch all the creamy dressing. Some of my favorites (which can be found gluten free) include:
Do you rinse pasta for a cold pasta salad?
Once the pasta is done cooking, strain and rinse then toss with a tablespoon of olive oil if you want to help keep it from sticking together.
Can you make pasta salad the day before?
You can typically make pasta salad up to 3 days in advance by prepping the ingredients separately and mixing them together before serving.
Make ahead tips: Make the pasta, corn and dressing up to 3 days in advance. Chop the veggies and toss with the pasta salad then store in an air tight container. When you're ready to serve, toss the pasta salad with the dressing and serve with fresh cilantro!
Storage tips: Once this Mexican pasta salad recipe is made and mixed it will last in the fridge up to 3 days. Store in an air tight container and serve cold.
If you love this recipe, don't forget to follow me on Instagram and tag me with @what_mollymade so I can see it and feat you.
More pasta and cookout salads:
Mexican street corn pasta salad
For the pasta salad:
- 16 ounces short twisty gluten free pasta farfalle, rotini etc.
- 4 ears corn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro about 1/2 cup, minced
- 1/2 large red onion diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
For the dressing:
- 3/4 cup paleo mayo I like primal kitchen brand
- 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk. shaken first to combine cream and liquid or sour cream for non dairy option
- 1/2 cup cilantro tightly packed about 1/2 bunch
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Juice from 1/2 a lime
- 2 teaspoons dried chives
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 clove of garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup jalapenos from the jar
- 1/4 cup mild salsa verde or diced green chilis
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rub each ear of corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Wrap each one individually in aluminum foil then place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
- While the corn is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Boil water and cook pasta according to pasta directions. While it’s cooking, chop all of the ingredients and set aside.
- Prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and blend on high for 30-60 seconds, until it's smooth and creamy. When the corn is done, remove from the oven and unwrap the foil. Allow to cool until it’s cool enough to handle. Drain and rinse the cool pasta then add to a large bowl with the chopped veggies. Stand the corn up on its end and cut it off the cob. Repeat with each ear then add to the pasta salad. Top with the prepared dressing and toss to completely coat.