Mexican pasta salad is made with pasta, bell pepper, corn, ham, cheese, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, and a cream sauce. Serve it at your next get-together or as a side dish for any meal.
This is a simple recipe for any time of year, a delicious way to use up that leftover Easter ham or take it to a summer potluck.
Why this recipe works
This salad is delicious for a simple side dish or even a light main dish. It's a summer salad with lots of Mexican flavor that taste better the next day. Like my Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad, or my Greek Tortellini Pasta are pasta salad recipes that are perfect for potlucks and outdoor gatherings.
Ingredients for this recipe
- Pasta-I use elbow macaroni noodles but you can use any type you prefer.
- Mexican Crema- Its a Mexican sour cream but you can use regular sour cream if you prefer.
- Mayonnaise-I prefer Best Food's or Hellmann's.
- Bell pepper- You can use a green instead of a red bell pepper.
- Corn- Frozen or canned both work great.
- Ham- No leftover ham? Grab a ham steak or some deli ham.
- Jalapenos- Pickled jalapeños not only add heat but fantastic flavor.
- Cilantro- if you hate fresh cilantro you can add in some flat leaf parsley.
How to make this recipe
- Step I- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. I like al dente pasta.
- Step 2-In a small bowl mix together the mayo and Crema until combined.
- Step 3-In a large bowl add all the other ingredients, creamy dressing and toss with the cooked macaroni until combined.
- Step 4- Chill for at least couple of hours.
- You can use green bell pepper instead of red bell pepper.
- I used cheddar cheese but Monterey Jack or mozzarella also works great.
- Best Foods or Hellman's are always my choice for mayonnaise.
- If your cold pasta salad is a little dry the next day mix in a couple tablespoon of mayonnaise to freshen it up.
Mexican Crema is creamy slightly tangy very similar to sour cream. Although it's thicker than sour cream but not as thick as Crème Fraiche.
The creamy mayo mixture absorbs into the macaroni. Although it still tastes delicious a great way to freshen it up is by adding in a couple of tablespoons of mayo and Mexican Crema.
This is a great way to use up any leftover ham you may have from a holiday meal like my Slow Cooker Honey Ham. Or you can always grab a ham steak from your grocery store or even get some deli ham and cut it into pieces.
Store any easy pasta salad leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Mexican Ham Pasta Salad
- 4 cups Elbow macaroni
- 2/3 cup Mexican cream Crema
- 2/3 cup Mayonnaise Not Miracle Whip
- ½ Red bell pepper diced
- ¾ cup Frozen corn
- 3/4 cup Shredded carrots
- 1 1/2 cup Ham cubed
- 1/2 cup Pickled jalapenos diced
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese cubed (or mozzarella)
- ¼ cup Cilantro chopped
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- Salt to taste
- Cook pasta according to the package directions.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the Mexican cream and mayonnaise and mix until there are no lumps.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the mayonnaise over the pasta and toss to combine.
- Chill for at least 2 hours. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Serve as a light meal, or as a side salad to your favorite meal.