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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


  • 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


  • 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.


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.