Fiesta Pasta Salad

Fall is my favorite season.  I love the colors, the cooler weather, the flavors, the football and bands, and my birthday.  But this year, I find myself wishing summer would linger a little longer.  We had a very full summer of fun activities.  But I want just one more grilled hamburger, one more picnic, one more swim party.

If you feel the same way, this pasta salad screams summer.  It is light but still filling and delicious.  It works great as a side dish, but could also be eaten as a main dish.  It is great for taking to a  pot luck, because it makes a ton of food.  Enjoy!

Fiesta Pasta Salad (Serves 20-25 as a side dish)

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Dressing:
1 package Fiesta Ranch dip mix
2 cups fat free buttermilk
2 cups plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice, optional

Salad:
1 (13.25 ounce) package whole wheat spiral pasta, cooked
½ small red onion, diced
1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 bell peppers, diced (a mix of colors is best)
½ cup grated colby jack cheese
¼ cup chopped cilantro

1. Combine dressing ingredients. Set aside.

2. Combine salad ingredients except cheese and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir in dressing until salad is well coated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, overnight is best.

3. Stir in cheese and cilantro right before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 155
Protein: 9.6 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1.4 g
Cholesterol: 7 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 110 mg

Recipe Notes: I never buy buttermilk. I just make my own with vinegar or lemon juice. If you have lime juice, that would work well for making the buttermilk, and you wouldn’t need to add the extra tablespoon. You could really change up or add the ingredients. I think I would prefer black beans over kidney beans in the future. Fresh tomatoes or avocados would be delicious. If serving as a main dish, some shredded chicken would be a nice mix-in. This salad gets better as it sits, so really plan ahead when making it.

Source: slightly adapted from a family recipe

Low-iodine adjustment: Use beans you prepared yourself rather than canned. Omit the cheese. Make a vinaigrette dressing, like this or this.

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