This Tex Mex chicken pasta salad is so delicious. If you aren’t sure what you fancy for dinner – Tex Mex, chicken, something with pasta, or a salad – try this! It’s a southwest pasta salad with chicken offering the best of all worlds. This is a flavourful dinner salad just bursting with colour and flavour! This is the perfect salad for a summer BBQ and I hope you have plenty of those this season. Add this favourite summer salad recipe to the menu and you won’t be disappointed.
Tex Mex Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients
Chicken is the protein of choice in this salad for a summer BBQ. Cook your own chicken or use canned. I like to use rotisserie chicken to make this favourite summer salad recipe. It’s just so convenient!
You can use rotini noodles or any shape you like such as penne, macaroni or bowtie. Choose from canned green chillies or a green chilli salsa. Any kind of cheese works here too. A Mexican blend would be great in this Tex Mex chicken pasta salad. Sharp cheddar would also be good.
If you can’t get Mexican crema, just use sour cream. The other ingredients are corn, black beans, olives, tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, and red onion.
For the dressing, you will need a couple of ripe avocados, the crema (or sour cream), mayonnaise, lime juice, and ranch seasoning. If you’re starting with cooked chicken, the pasta is the only ingredient to be cooked. So cook the pasta for this flavourful dinner salad first while you prep the other ingredients.
How to Assemble this Salad for a Summer BBQ
Once the pasta is cooked and the other ingredients are chopped, drained or otherwise prepared, you can assemble it.
Before you do, it’s your call whether to use warm or chilled pasta. You can make a warm salad by draining and using the pasta straight from cooking. Alternatively you can run cold water over it until it’s cold and use that. The southwest pasta salad with chicken would be better chilled if it’s a hot day. But the choice is all yours.
I love Tex Mex and I also love Italian food. But bring the two together and – wow! This is my favourite summer salad recipe for a good reason. It’s like a taco but swapping the tortilla for pasta. It’s easy to eat (no knife required) and you can make it ahead.
This Tex Mex chicken pasta salad will keep for about 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s super-portable so you can bring it with you for lunch. Or you can double or triple this salad for a summer BBQ if you’re feeding a crowd. It’s very versatile!
Tips for the Best Flavourful Dinner Salad
A side dish type salad is usually light and pairs with your protein and carbs. A flavourful dinner salad on the other hand is a meal in its own right.
This delicious concoction of chicken, pasta and Tex Mex ingredients is a great salad for a summer BBQ. You can add some chicken or steak from the grill or just enjoy this as it is.
You can use a regular ranch seasoning packet, but I used the spicy ranch seasoning in this salad.
Use the freshest ingredients for the best results. The corn and beans are fine if they’re canned but the avocado, lime, green pepper, and so on, are better fresh.
I like to cook pasta to al dente (how my nonna made it!) This means it is cooked but with a little bite to it. If you prefer softer pasta, give it a couple extra minutes. This is largely down to personal preference.
Some Variations to Try
If you don’t want meat, you can simply omit the cubed rotisserie chicken or replace it with sliced grilled Portobello mushrooms or even marinated tofu.
In fact, you might want to make your own chicken instead of using rotisserie. In this case, marinate the chicken before cooking it (if you are cooking your own). Combine these to make a wonderful Tex Mex marinade for chicken, tofu or your protein of choice:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
Whisk those together and let your chopped raw chicken or uncooked tofu cubes sit in it for a while to give them extra flavour.
You might like to spice this southwest pasta salad with chicken up a little. In that case you can add some chopped jalapenos or your favourite chilli pepper to the mix.
If you are a fan of this salad for a summer BBQ, you might also like Sesame Avocado Asian Chicken Salad with Honey Ginger Dressing, Cobb Salad with Garlic Cilantro Dairy Free Ranch Dressing or Tangy and Sweet Watermelon Paloma Cocktail.
Zesty Tex Mex Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
Zesty Tex Mex Chicken Pasta Salad
- 1 Pound rotini
- 1.5 Cups chicken I used rotisserie, cubed
- 1 Can corn 15.25 ounce, drained
- 1 Can black beans 15.5 ounce, drained and rinsed
- 7 Oz. green chilis chopped
- 1 Can black olives 6.5 ounce, sliced
- 1 Cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1/3 Cup cilantro chopped
- 1/3 Cup red onion diced
- 1 Cup shredded cheese I used Mexican blend
- 2 avocados diced
- 1/2 Cup sour cream
- 1/3 Cup mayonnaise
- 3 limes juiced
- 1 Package ranch seasoning I used spicy ranch flavour
- Cook the pasta as per the directions, drain, rince and put in a large bowl.
- In a large serving bowl combine all the pasta ingredients and gently stir together.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and stir to combine. It is fine if some of the avocados get a little mashed but make sure there are plenty of big pieces as well.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and stir to combine.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Change the vegetables in this Tex Mex chicken pasta salad if you prefer others. The green pepper can be subbed for red pepper. Some people might like to add raw broccoli and cauliflower florets (broken up small) or even beets.
Get creative with what you add to this favourite summer salad recipe. All kinds of things would be good!
I would love to know if you try to make this Tex Mex chicken pasta salad for a summer BBQ. Hopefully there are a lot of barbeques in your weekend plans this season. It is my favourite summer salad recipe and everyone always asks for more of this flavourful dinner salad. Add this southwest pasta salad with chicken to your menu this week and you won’t be disappointed.
If you are looking for other chicken salad recipes, you might also like this Air Fryer Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons or another tasty pasta salad is this Gluten Free Vegan Broccoli Pasta Salad with Roasted Squash & Walnuts.