Everyone’s favorite Cowboy Caviar dip made into an easy Pasta Salad. Tender spiral pasta noodles, corn, sweet bell peppers, diced tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, avocado covered in Italian dressing and seasonings.
COWBOY CAVIAR PASTA SALAD
It’s no secret that I am a fan of all things pasta salad. Perfect for summertime get togethers, BBQ’s, or even for lunch! One of my all time favorite pasta salads just happens to be this ranch pasta salad.
Anytime a pasta salad recipe calls for prepared store-bought salad dressing I know it’s a good one. It’s easy. And it’s an easy way to get maximum flavor with little effort.
Today’s recipe just happens to combine my all-time favorite dip, Cowboy Caviar, into a pasta salad. Think Cowboy Caviar + pasta noodles!
Rotini Pasta Noodles – This is the base of the pasta salad. I prefer the rotini spiral pasta because they are the perfect size and the dressing and all the chopped veggie goodness gets stuck in the spirals. Use this one for best results, but any pasta could be used as long as it’s the same 12 oz in size.
Canned Beans – This is where you can get creative and change it up if wanted. I prefer using black beans and pinto beans. I have also used navy white beans + black beans and that’s a good combo too. Other really love black-eyed peas in their cowboy caviar. Just use two cans of whatever bean you love. The same bean or two different kinds of beans.
Corn – I love the gold n’ white canned corn but any canned corn will work. White corn or the regular yellow corn.
Roma Tomatoes – I use about 6 Roma tomatoes in this pasta salad recipe. I seed the tomatoes and then cut into small chunks. If you want to avoid seeding the tomatoes then go ahead and halve some small grape tomatoes.
Bell Peppers – My kids happen to be obsessed with bell peppers so I always have the multi-pack in my fridge. Use two different colors or just 1 bell pepper if you’re not a huge fan of it. I usually will use a red and orange bell pepper for a nice color pop in the salad.
Cilantro – Most either love or hate this. It does add so much to this salad so please use it!
Red Onion – Again, the red onion may not be a personal favorite but it adds so much flavor to this salad so please use it! I just used half of a large red onion. But feel free to use the entire onion.
Avocado – The BEST ingredient ever! Use 2-3 avocados and add them right before serving. If you are making the salad ahead of time, then make it as directed but leave out the avocado. When you are ready to serve dice up the avocado and add it in.
This recipe is so adaptable. If you want some heat then add in a chopped jalapeno. Add some more spices to the Italian dressing to your preference. Use as much or as little of the ingredients as wanted.
I know you’ll love this fun twist to a pasta salad. I love to see everyone’s variations so comment and let me know how you made it!
MY TIPS FOR COWBOY CAVIAR PASTA SALAD
- For best taste, salt the pasta water before adding the pasta. Not only does it flavor the pasta but it also helps the water to boil faster! I never measure but I probably use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
- If you are making this a few hours ahead of time then WAIT to add the chopped avocados. When you are ready to serve, stir in the avocado and serve right away.
- Leftovers can easily be re-moistened by adding more dressing.
- If you are totally against bottled salad dressings then feel free to make your own homemade Italian dressing recipe. I don’t have a good one for you but a simple search should do the trick.
Cowboy Caviar Pasta Salad
Everyone's favorite Cowboy Caviar dip made into an easy Pasta Salad. Tender spiral pasta noodles, corn, sweet bell peppers, diced tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, avocado covered in Italian dressing and seasonings.
- 1 box (12 oz) Rotini Pasta (NOT the tri-color version)
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans (drained & rinsed)
- 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans OR white navy beans (drained & rinsed)
- 1 can (15 oz) gold n' white corn (drained)
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced small
- 1 red bell pepper, diced small
- 6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro (about 1 bunch cilantro)
- 2-3 avocados, peeled and chunked
- 1 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cook noodles according to package instructions. I don't care for al dente noodles so I always cook for the higher recommended cook time. Don't forget to salt your pasta water (about 1 teaspoon salt will do the trick). Drain the noodles and rinse in cold water.
Add the cooked & rinsed noodles into a large mixing bowl. Add the other pasta salad ingredients and mix together in the mixing bowl.
In a separate small bowl, combine the Italian salad dressing and seasonings. Stir together and pour over the pasta salad. Stir well to make sure all the noodles and goodies get mixed in together well.
Eat right away OR refrigerate for 2-5 ours before serving. You can add the avocado in with the other salad mix-ins OR leave it off and add it in right before serving. Either way works fine. If you are making it the day before then I would advise waiting to add the avocado until serving time.
Depending on the amount of red onion you want, you could use 1/2 of the red onion. I love the flavor it adds so I use 1 small red onion. Adjust to your liking. Same with the chopped cilantro. Use more or less to preference.
I always use the Olive Garden Italian salad dressing. It's the best flavor and consistency for pasta salads. I highly recommend using the Olive Garden brand (Sold in grocery stores. You don't have to go there and get it 🙂 )
For some added spice, finely dice 1 jalapeno pepper and add it into the pasta salad mix. For more heat, leave the white seeds and membrane attached. For less mild heat, take out the seeds and white membrane part.
My pasta salad leftovers were in the fridge for 4 days. And ironically, the avocado did not turn to brown mush! So this salad is fine to be made ahead of time by a few hours before serving and then refrigerate until ready. Or, add the avocado in right before serving. Either way will work I found!
TRY THESE OTHER PASTA SALAD RECIPES
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad – Together as Family
- Easy Greek Pasta Salad – Together as Family
- Caprese Pasta Salad – Chef In Training