Southwestern chicken pasta salad is a quick and easy dinner or satisfying side dish. Loaded with chicken, and veggies and smothered in a delicious ranch dressing.
Why this recipe works
This pasta salad has a delicious southwest flavor. It's the perfect make-ahead dish for summertime barbecues or potlucks. A perfect hearty dish loaded with great flavors like this Italian Pasta Salad.
- Pasta: I use rotini pasta but any short pasta will work fine.
- Chicken: Leftover chicken works great or even a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
- Beans: I use black beans, but pinto beans would be great also.
- Cheese: I use a mixture of pepper jack cheese and cheddar.
- Bell peppers: Either red pepper or green peppers are delicious.
- Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes work great but you can also just dice up a tomato.
- Corn: Canned, frozen, or even fresh
- Cilantro: If you hate cilantro you can use parsley instead.
- Ranch dressing: I like to buy the powder and make my own dressing.
- Garlic powder: Granulated garlic also works.
How to make this recipe
In a small bowl add the ranch dressing ingredients and whisk until combined. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Add the cooked chicken, cooked pasta, and veggies into a large salad bowl.
Pour the dressing on top of the pasta mixture and toss until coated, cover and chill until ready to serve.
- Toss in some leftover taco meat for a delicious twist!
- Shredded cheese can be used instead of cubed cheese.
- Rinsing the pasta in cold water after cooking helps stop the cooking process.
You could add in some chopped black olives, jalapeños, and red onion, or add in some diced avocados right before serving.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Yes, this southwestern pasta salad is even better the next day. If the sauce soaks into the pasta too much you can add in a couple of tablespoons of ranch dressing or even sour cream to freshen it up a bit.
Of course not, you could add in some grilled shrimp. Or you can leave the meat out of this southwest pasta salad altogether.
Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad
- For the dressing
- For the salad
- 1 3/4 cups prepared ranch dressing
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces rotini pasta
- 2 cup diced cooked chicken
- 1 14.5 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup diced cheddar cheese*
- 1 cup green bell pepper diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup fresh or canned corn
- ¼ cup sliced green onions
For the dressing
- 1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until well combined.
For the salad
- 2. Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Rinse pasta under cool water.
- 3. Add the cooked pasta and chicken and the veggies to a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing on top and toss until coated.
- 4. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour, serve and enjoy!