Tex Mex Pasta Salad

Tex Mex Pasta Salad ready to eat
Colorful Tex Mex Pasta Salad ready to serve (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Tex Mex Pasta Salad. My favorite quick lunch is a chilled pasta salad. Pasta salads travel well to work, on picnics, and to potluck meals. My Tex Mex Pasta Salad combines all my favorite Tex Mex flavors into a tasty takealong dish.

Tex Mex Pasta Salad with Chicken
Tex Mex Pasta Salad with chunks of Rotisserie Chicken (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Trader Joe’s makes an interesting gluten-free black bean-based rotini-shaped pasta which is the base for this dish. You could use your favorite pasta such as penne, rotini, elbows, bow ties — whatever you have on hand. Since this Trader Joe’s pasta is gluten free, it might taste “gummier” to some people. I think it tastes a bit “creamy” though.

Trader Joe's gluten free organic black bean rotini
Trader Joe’s organic gluten-free black bean rotini pasta (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

To make this pasta salad, cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.

Trader Joe's cooked black bean rotini
Trader Joe’s organic gluten free black bean rotini cooked to al dente (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

This cooked pasta will be the base of the pasta salad so place it into a non-metallic bowl when cooled.

Trader Joe's black bean rotini as the pasta salad base
Cooked Trader Joes black bean rotini is the base for the pasta salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Dice some red bell pepper and ripe tomato. Mince a seeded fresh jalapeno. Thinly slice some purple onion and some black olives. Add some thinly sliced radish, roasted corn, black beans and chopped cilantro.

Ingredients for Tex Mex Pasta Salad
Ingredients for Tex Mex Pasta Salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

For additional protein, cube some Monterey Jack cheese and add some diced cooked chicken, chipotle-spiced chicken or seasoned ground beef taco meat.

Cubed Monterey Jack Cheese
Cubed Monterey Jack Cheese (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some green or red salsa. Add some Lime Cilantro Dressing or some Chipotle Cream Dressing or both.

Tex Mex Pasta Salad ingredients ready to mix
Combine all ingredients for my Tex Mex Pasta Salad and mix together (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Mix together all items.

Tex Mex Pasta Salad ready to eat
Colorful Tex Mex Pasta Salad ready to serve (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Plate and garnish with tortilla chips and additional cilantro. This Tex Mex Pasta Salad usually lasts 1 – 2 days in the fridge. Omit the meat if you are seeking a vegetarian pasta salad.

Tex Mex pasta salad vegetarian version without meat
Serve my Tex Mex Pasta Salad without meat for a vegetarian version (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Try my other pasta salads including my Pizza Pasta Salad, my Lemony Mediterranean-Style Tuna Pasta Salad, and my Marinated Chicken Tomato Orzo Pasta Salad. Have a Pasta Salad Party!



From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Tex Mex Pasta Salad


6 oz. Trader Joe’s black bean rotini pasta or your favorite small-shape pasta
1 c canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c diced red or yellow bell pepper
1 diced ripe tomato or 10 quartered grape tomatoes
1 c roasted corn
1 minced seeded jalapeno
1/4 c thinly sliced purple onion
2 radishes, thinly sliced then stacked and sliced again into chiffonade
4 sliced black olives
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
2 T chopped cilantro
2 T tomato salsa or green chile salsa or your favorite salsa

Meat additions (select one or more):
1 c diced cooked rotisserie chicken
1 c smoky chipotle chicken
1 c seasoned ground beef taco meat

Dressings (select one or use both):
1/4 c Lime Cilantro dressing
1/4 c Chipotle Cream Dressing

Crushed or whole tortilla chips, cilantro sprigs, and a dollop of sour cream (optional) for garnish


1. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain, and set aside to cool. If you are using the Trader Joe’s gluten-free black bean rotini, check it several times while cooking. I’ve found it cooks faster than the directions on the package and can turn to mush if overcooked.
2. Place the cooled pasta into a non-metallic bowl.
3. Add the black beans, diced bell pepper and tomato, roasted corn, minced jalapeno, thinly sliced purple onion, radish chiffonade, sliced black olives, cubed Monterey Jack cheese, and chopped cilantro. Stir together to mix.
4. Add the salsa, chicken or beef, and one or both dressings. Mix again.
5. Refrigerate for a few hours or serve immediately.
6. Garnish each serving with the tortilla chips, cilantro sprigs and maybe a dollop of sour cream.
7. And serve.

Makes 6 servings. Double or triple for a picnic or potluck party. Travels well as a work or school lunch.

Variations: Add cooked chorizo sausage to the mix. Omit the meat for a vegetarian version. Serve the pasta over a bed of arugula or mixed greens. Top each serving with some diced avocado or a few dollops of guacamole.

Order some Trader Joe’s organic black bean rotini from Amazon:

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