This Vegan Mexican Pasta Salad is the perfect combination of healthy and indulgent, with a vegan creamy Mexican-inspired dressing and lots of healthy veggie-forward add-ins to give it a burst of amazing flavor in every bite!
This recipe is for you if you:
- Love a good pasta salsa but are tired of the same ol' thing
- Love the bright flavors of fresh Mexican salsas and salads
- Want a quick (15 minutes?) no-fuss lunch or dinner recipe
- Love it when you bring a dish to a party everyone asks you for the recipe and say "wow that's vegan???" when they taste your food
Related recipe: Vegan Mexican Rice
How to make vegan Mexican Pasta Salad
First, choose your pasta. Some people have strong opinions on what kinds of pastas to use for pasta salads vs saucy pasta recipes. I myself prefer elbow macaroni or rotini shaped pasta for pasta salads. I would love to hear your preferred pasta shape!! Leave me a comment and let me know!
Step 1: Cook the pasta. You can do this old-school on the stove-top, or try cooking pasta in the Instant Pot. I always make elbow macaroni in the Instant Pot - it's SO much easier, uses less water, requires no watching, and it comes out perfectly al dente every time.
To cook macaroni in the Instant Pot, just add 8 oz of uncooked elbow macaroni to the Instant Pot, add 3 cups water, and salt. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
Allow pressure to release naturally for 1-2 minutes, then do a manual quick release. Stir, drain excess water, rinse in cold water, and your macaroni is cooked and ready for use in this pasta salad!
Step 3: While cooking the pasta, prepare the dressing. Mix the following ingredients in a small bowl and let the flavors infuse while you prepare the rest of the salad:
- ½ cup vegan sour cream
- ½ cup salsa (mild or medium - your choice!)
- ¼ cup vegan mayo (<- make your own with this recipe! A good mayo really makes a difference!)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 small jalapeño, seeds removed and chopped (or add more jalapeño if you like things SPICY)
- Salt & pepper to taste (about ¼ - ½ teaspoon each to start)
Related recipe: Vegan Creamy Stuffed Avocado Salad
Step 4: In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients:
- 1 large diced tomato (2 smaller tomatoes, such as plum/Roma tomatoes)
- Corn (from one 15-oz can)
- Black beans (from one 15-oz can)
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped scallions
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
Step 5: Add the cooked pasta and dressing, and mix well. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve this Mexican pasta salad right away or let it chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes if you prefer your pasta salad cold.
Related recipe: Vegan Jackfruit Tacos
Serving size and doubling this recipe
This recipe makes about 4 larger dinner-sized portions, 6 smaller side dish servings, or can serve about 8 people if served at a party with lots of other appetizers and food.
You can absolutely double this recipe! But try to eat it within ~3 days of preparing it, since the fresh tomato can get pretty soggy in the creamy dressing.
Related recipe: Vegan Black Bean Tofu Tacos
Other fun add-ins for this pasta salad:
This vegan pasta salad is suuuper delicious and addicting as it is, but you can always switch things up with a few other ingredients:
- Sliced olives
- Shredded vegan Pepper Jack cheese
- Minced garlic
- Finely diced red onion instead of scallions
- Sliced banana peppers
- Pickled jalapeño (instead of fresh jalapeños - they're a little less spicy and give the salad a nice vinegary flavor)
- Diced bell pepper
If you’ve tried this recipe, please let me know how you got on in the comments below – I LOVE hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious recipes and food inspiration!!
Related recipe: Creamy Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Pasta
Other vegan Mexican-inspired recipes you will love:
- Vegan Mexican rice
- Mexican cabbage salsa
- Vegan black bean taquitos
- Jackfruit tacos
- Vegan tamales
- Best easy guacamole
- Vegan blender salsa
- Black bean salad
- Vegan black bean soup
- Vegan tofu and black bean tacos
If you enjoyed enjoyed this recipe, please leave a star rating and a comment below! And make sure to save it for later on Pinterest!
Vegan Mexican Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad:
- 8 oz uncooked pasta, such as macaroni (half of 1 lb box)
- Salted water for cooking pasta, (3 cups if cooking in the Instant Pot)
- 1 large tomato, (or 2 Roma), diced
- ½ bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
- 3 green onions, diced
- 1 15-oz can corn kernels, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and mix well (see notes about the jalapeño!). Let the flavors infuse into the dressing while you prepare the salad.
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the pasta salad, including the cooked pasta. Stir in the dressing. Mix well, and season with salt, pepper, and lime juice, if desired. Serve immediately or chill and enjoy within 3 days.
- One full jalapeño makes a pretty spicy salad. You can start with ¼ or ½ of a jalapeño , and add more, if you are not sure about the heat level. Or use pickled jalapenos for a vinegary burst of flavor and less heat
- Other fun add ins:
- Olives - sliced or halved
- vegan Pepper Jack cheese
- Diced bell pepper
- ¼ to ½ Finely minced yellow onion or shallot instead of green onions
- Minced garlic
- Pickled jalapeños (this is also a little less spicy than fresh jalapeños!)
- Banana peppers