This Corn & Black Bean Pasta Salad combines fusilli pasta with corn, black beans, bell pepper and cilantro for a Southwestern flair.
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This is one of those salads that I always want to make for an cook out or barbecue. It’s always a favorite and gets eaten up quickly. It’s no wonder, because it combines all the great Southwestern flavors in one bowl, with a creamy sauce that ties it all together.
My family has been making a version of this salad for years, so it’s practically a summer classic for us at this point. I make it almost as often as this delicious Broccoli Salad or our favorite Stovetop Mac & Cheese.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Fusilli pasta – You can substitute the fusilli with any corkscrew pasta, or a bowtie pasta or even simple macaroni noodles. It won’t change the taste of the salad, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
- Corn – Canned corn has a good crunch and is a quick and easy way to enjoy corn.
- Black Beans – Rinsed and drained
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Yellow or Red Bell Pepper – Chopped
- Avocado – Add the diced avocado right before serving so that they are fresh and bright green.
- Red pepper flakes – Optional
- The dressing ingredients – Mayonnaise, lime (or lemon) juice, cumin , chili powder and salt.
All of these southwestern flavors combined into one salad is pure joy. This salad goes with just about any summer dish you’re serving. We serve it alongside our Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs often, as well as with Tri Tip Steak and these Air Fryer Chicken Patties.
How to Make Corn & Black Bean Pasta Salad
Start by boiling the pasta as directed on the package until al dente. Allow it to cool before adding it to a large bowl.
Add the other ingredients for the salad to the bowl, except the avocado and red pepper flakes. Stir this all together. You won’t want to add the avocado until just before serving, because it will get brown and soggy and ruin your salad.
Next you’ll make the sauce. Blend all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. The dressing should also be added to the salad just before serving. If you’re not serving the salad right away, store the salad and the dressing separately and put the dressing on within an hour of serving.
Add salt and pepper to taste as you’re stirring the dressing into the salad. This is very much up to personal preference, so add a little, stir, and taste, until you’ve added the right amount for you.
After you’ve incorporated the dressing into the salad, you can add the avocado and give it one last stir. Top each serving with a bit of red pepper flakes for some added heat.
The salad benefits from 30 minutes in the refrigerator before being served, so all the flavors have time to meld.
It will keep for just a day or two, if you have left overs, before it becomes a little watery. The avocado in the salad doesn’t keep well.
Tips and Notes
- If you’re not serving the salad right away, store the salad and the dressing separately and put the dressing on within an hour of serving.
- The salad benefits from 30 minutes in the refrigerator before being served, so all the flavors have time to meld.
- You can substitute the fusilli with any corkscrew pasta, or a bowtie pasta or even simple macaroni noodles. It won’t change the taste of the salad, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
Main Dishes to Serve This With
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Corn & Black Bean Pasta Salad
- 4 ounces fusilli pasta uncooked
- 1 cup whole kernel corn drained
- 1 cup black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1/2 cup yellow or red bell pepper diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 1/2 avocado diced (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain; set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the pasta to a large bowl. Add the corn, blackbeans, tomatoes, bell pepper and cilantro. Stir together.
- In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and salt.
- Add the dressing to the pasta salad. Stir to combine.
- Refrigerate covered until ready to serve. Add the avocado and red pepper flakes (if desired) just before serving.
Other Summer BBQ Side Dish Recipes To Try
- Best Broccoli Salad Recipe
- Bacon, Jalapeno, and Corn Salad
- Creamy & Spicy Chipotle Coleslaw
- Classic Mexican Street Corn
- Instant Pot Baked Beans Recipe
- Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Click for Even More Summer BBQ Side Dish Recipes
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Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.