I was skeptical when I heard Mexican flavors can be blended with pasta salad until I tried it for myself, and believe it or not it’s my new favorite macaroni salad! How could it not be with fresh ingredients and flavors like this?? There is just so much goodness going on in this salad between the tender macaroni, charred fresh corn, sweet tomatoes, salty Cotija cheese, creamy black beans and avocados, the light bite from the red onion and the zip from the cilantro lime dressing, my oh my! So good! Try this for yourself and see what I’m talking about. It will likely become a new go-to summer staple.
This is a perfect recipe for bbq’s, parties and potlucks but of course it’s just the perfect summer side dish to serve with your favorite grilled chicken and steak. It’s such a hearty and filling macaroni salad and I love that it’s loaded with veggies. If you don’t have ancho chili powder regular chili powder may be substituted but I love that depth of flavor the lightly smoky ancho chili powder brings so try it in the future. And be generous with the cilantro, it really is about one small full bunch once you mince it up finely. It brings a lot of flavor to the dressing. Now make it soon (today seems like a good day, right?). I hope you enjoy this Mexican Macaroni Salad as much as we do!
Mexican Macaroni Salad
Yield: About 8 servings
- 2 ears fresh yellow corn , husked
- 10 oz . dry elbow macaroni
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large Roma tomatoes , seeded and diced (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 can black beans , drained and rinsed well
- 1 large avocado (semi-firm but ripe), diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion , rinsed or 2/3 cup chopped green onion (or use a blend of both)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (full fat)
- 1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
- 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup finely minced fresh cilantro (about small 1 bunch, leaf portion)
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Preheat a grill over medium-high heat to about 450 degrees. Once preheated add corn and grill, turning about every 2 - 3 minutes until charred on all sides, about 8 - 9 minutes total. Set aside and let cool then cut corn kernels from cobs.
Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente in lightly salted water (about 1/2 Tbsp) according to directions on package. Drain and rinse, then let drain and cool.
For the dressing, in a mixing bowl whisk together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, chili powder, cumin and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 3/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper). Chill until ready to assemble macaroni salad.
Set aside some of the mix in ingredients (tomatoes, corn, avocado, onion if you'd like some color on top of the salad). In a salad bowl toss together drained macaroni, corn kernels, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, Cotija cheese, onion and the cilantro dressing mixture. Sprinkle set aside ingredients over top. Serve immediately or chill up to 2 hours (thin with a little water if desired, it thickens as it rests since the noodles absorb the liquid).
Recipe source: Cooking Classy