Southwest Pasta Salad

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I had no idea what to call this dish, but I figure that since I used paprika and cumin it kinda fits into the Southwest theme of food. It’s a cold pasta dish that’s loaded with fresh veggies and the flavor of the seasoning isn’t overwhelming to take way from those fresh flavors. It’s also a great meal because you can use whatever you have in your fridge that needs to get used up! Perfect for those odds and ends and scraps from other meals. Feel free to use my recipe as is or mix and match based on what you have available!

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I’m not really one to make a cold pasta salad. They just aren’t my thing. However, for whatever reason I was craving fresh veggies the other day and thought that a pasta salad would hit the spot. Guess what? It did! And it was a meal my six year old dug into and kept wanting more. That’s always my litmus test for a recipe.

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I really don’t have a lot to say today for a blog post. I know I’m supposed to have a long, drawn out post to generate ad revenue. But, I don’t have process pictures or a big story to tell. The weather was beautiful for a while here in Wisconsin and then now it’s back into the 60s and grey and not summery anymore. Maybe that’s why I was craving fresh veggies? So, here’s the recipe. I’m a terrible blogger.

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Southwest Pasta Salad

This recipe is all about the fresh veggies, colors, and blend of flavors. Completely vegan, whole food, plant based, and can easily be gluten free. Earthy seasonings combine with the brightness of lime to bring it all together into a quick and easy dish that is perfect for outdoor eating, meal prep, or just cleaning out your fridge! Serve it as a side dish or a main.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword glutenfree, vegan, veganfood
Prep Time – 30 mins
Cook Time – 10 mins
Cooling Time – 10 mins
Total Time – 50 mins
Servings – 8

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces bowtie pasta, whole wheat or standard (gluten free if needed)
  • 2 cups kale (finely chopped)
  • 8 ounces chickpeas (drained)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups corn kernels (canned, frozen, or fresh)
  • 1 cup english cucumber (sliced and quartered )
  • 1 cup tomato (chopped)
  • 1 cup red pepper (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (approximately 1 lime's worth)
  • 1-2 avocados (chunked)

Optional add-ins

  • shredded carrot
  • chopped celery
  • fresh parsley and/or cilantro

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt the water. Approximately 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt. Salting the water can be omitted but it adds to the flavor of the pasta.
  • In a dish or mortar and pestle, mix together the nutritional yeast, paprika, garlic powder, and cumin. Set aside.
  • Boil the bowtie pasta for 5 minutes. Add in the chopped kale and boil an additional 5 minutes. Stir the pot then drain into a colander. Add the chickpeas and stir in the colander. Sprinkle half of the seasoning over the pasta mix, stir well to combine. Let cool 10 minutes before continuing.
  • Keeping the pasta in the colander. Stir in the 1/2 of the remaining seasoning, corn, cucumber, tomato, red pepper, and onion. Fold in the avocado and sprinkle the lime juice, or squeeze the lime, over the pasta and fold a few times to combine. Serve from the colander or transfer to a serving bowl! Use the remaining seasoning blend to top individual servings.

Notes

You can mix it in a bowl instead of a colander, but I like using the colander for that process so that my serving bowl doesn’t look messy. 
I boiled fresh corn cobs in the pasta water before cooking the pasta and then broiled them to get a little char. You can use fresh corn like I did or use canned or frozen. 
You can use any pasta for this dish but I prefer bowtie for cold salads like this. If you are using gluten free pasta you’ll need to rinse the pasta instead of just letting it drain. 
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