I really like pasta salad. I've posted several recipes here before, from my Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad to my Potluck Pasta Salad, along with a Roasted Red Pepper version and the classic BBQ favorite, Hawaiian Pasta Salad. Most pasta salads use mayonnaise, or some form of dressing, which can be a bit unhealthy.
This version, which has a great Southwestern kick, uses avocado in place of the mayonnaise, which makes the dressing rich and creamy. Sure, there's fat in avocado, but it's the GOOD kind. This salad is also stuffed with protein-rich black beans and plenty of crisp, fresh vegetables as well. If you leave the pasta out, you can even eat this salad as a tip of dip, much like my Texas Caviar!
Southwestern Pasta Salad
adapted from Fabulessly Frugal
2 ripe avocados
3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2-3 Tbsp lime juice
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 15oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced red, orange or yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 8.5oz can sweet kernel corn, drained
Combine the avocados, Greek yogurt, buttermilk, lime juice, garlic, 1/4 cup cilantro, jalapeno and cumin in a blender or food processor. Pulse/blend until smooth, then set aside.
Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion and corn. Pour the dressing over the mixture and stir until well-coated. Season with salt and pepper, then garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.