Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

The pumpkin is out and fall recipes are all around us.  I love fall and all the things that come with it but I'm not quite ready...yet!  We are still getting tomatoes, jalapenos and bell peppers from our garden.  Yes.  Still!  So I'm still taking advantage of every. last. fresh vegetable I can. 

That's why I'm so excited to share this pasta salad recipe with you.  It's packed full of fresh vegetables, and ours utilized vegetables straight from our garden.  I think about 95% of the vegetables used were from our garden.  We used tomatoes, red onion, red and green bell peppers, and corn!  Talk about straight from the farmer's hand.  There's nothing better!
This pasta salad was incredibly delicious, filling and light all at the same time.  It's packed with tons of flavor.  It starts with a base of pasta and vegetables.  Lime juice adds a slight tartness and brightness to the dish.  The cilantro adds color, and bright earthy flavor.  And last but not least, the best part.  The creamy avocado dressing.  Oh. My. Gosh!  This stuff is sooo good.  It's creamy and rich and yet still healthy.  Doesn't get much better than that.  This delightful dressing is then poured over the pasta and veggies and given a quick toss to coat everything.  The end result is a light and refreshing salad, perfect by itself or as a side.  I served this as a side with pan seared chicken and I used some of the extra creamy avocado dressing as a sauce for the chicken and it was out of this world!  If you love avocado you will love this pasta!

Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

For the salad-
8 oz pasta (I used bowtie)
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Cup grape tomatoes
1/2 Cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 Cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 Cup red onion, diced
3/4 Cup sweet corn, I used fresh but canned is fine too
1 Large avocado; peeled, seed removed and chopped
1/2 Cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing-
2 Rip avocados, peeled and seeds removed
1 (5oz) container Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp milk
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/3 Cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and roughly chopped
2-3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 Tsp ground cumin
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Fill a large stockpot with water and place over high heat.  Bring water to a boil, salt and add pasta.  Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water, drain, rinse and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepared the creamy avocado dressing.  Combine avocados, yogurt, milk, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice and cumin in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  If the dressing is still thick, add a bit more milk 1/2 a tablespoon at a time.  Once desired consistency is achieved, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large bowl combine black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, corn, avocado, and pasta.  Top with creamy avocado dressing, gently stir to combine.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over the salad, adjust seasonings and top with chopped cilantro.

Recipe sourc: barely adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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