Post updated with new photos 7/26/23
The PERFECT summer salad! This cilantro lime pasta salad is loaded with fresh veggies & avocado all tossed in a creamy cilantro lime dressing! Quick, flavorful & an easy potluck idea!
Cilantro lime pasta salad – the official dish of summer! This is not your traditional pasta salad. Dare I say it…it’s better!😉 Loaded with fresh seasonal veggies including sweet corn, tomatoes and avocado then tossed in the creamiest cilantro lime dressing!
We take this salad with us all the time to parties – and we’re always asked for the recipe. It’s so simple, flavor-packed and couldn’t be easier to make! Everyone loves how different it is from our usual pasta salad!
Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad
Pasta: We love using bow tie pasta (farfalle) but any type of short pasta will work. (Rotini would be another great choice!)
Corn: Fresh corn works the best for this recipe but canned or frozen corn can be used instead.
Tomatoes: We love using cherry or grape tomatoes! (They have such great flavor!)
Red onion: Red onions are slightly sweeter and don’t have a harsh “onion flavor” like white or yellow onions.
Cilantro: Use the leaves and stems for maximum flavor! We’ll be using cilantro in the pasta salad and for the dressing.
Avocado: A must for this salad! Add as little or as much as you want.
Plain Greek yogurt: Used as the base for your dressing. We use 0% plain Greek yogurt for ours!
Limes: Used to thin out the dressing and adds so much flavor!
Garlic: Two garlic cloves are needed for the dressing! (Don’t worry about mincing them. We’re blending all our dressing ingredients together.)
Spices: Salt and a pinch of cayenne are used to season your dressing!
How To Make Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad
1. Make the dressing. Add your dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Then cover and keep the dressing stored in the refrigerator.
2. Prepare the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package’s directions then let it cool completely. Add it to a large bowl once cooled.
3. Prepare the rest of your ingredients. While the pasta cools, cook your corn using your preferred method and cut the kernels off each cob. Cut your tomatoes, red onion and cilantro.
4. Mix! Add your prepared ingredients to the bowl with your pasta and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until it’s fully coated.
5. Serve. Top each individual portion with diced avocado and cotija cheese (if using) and serve immediately.
Quick Tip: Double the dressing recipe to use for leftovers! We’ll usually double the dressing if we’re making a full box of pasta too.
Variations & Tips
- Grill the corn for added flavor!
- Add a sprinkle of cotija cheese!
- Top it with diced or grilled chicken to make it a full meal!
- For leftovers: Toss your leftover pasta salad in another half batch of dressing right before serving! (The pasta tends to soak up the dressing as it sits.)
Store your leftover pasta salad in an air tight container in the refrigerator. We usually pick out the avocado pieces before storing because they tend to turn brown. (You can always add more avocado when you eat it next!) Your pasta salad should stay good for 2-3 days if stored properly.
Can I prep any ingredients beforehand? Yes! You can prepare the pasta, corn, tomatoes, onion and dressing at least 1-2 days in advance. (Cut the avocado right before serving.)
What’s the easiest way to cook fresh corn for this pasta salad? Boil your corn cobs for 1½ – 2 minutes. (They should be plump and bright yellow.)
Can I freeze my pasta salad? No. Freezing can cause a few of your ingredients to become mushy after they thaw.
Why you’ll love this cilantro lime pasta salad recipe!
- Lightened up & healthy! We’re using protein-packed Greek yogurt as the base for our dressing & loading it up with fresh veggies and healthy fats!
- A different type of summer pasta salad! No typical pasta salad ingredients here! It’s a fun change of pace everyone’s going to love!
- So much flavor! Creamy, tangy, zesty & everything in between! This pasta salad has all the flavors and textures!
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]
Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad
For the pasta salad:
- 16 oz. bow tie pasta, cooked and cooled (or your favorite pasta)
- 1½ cups corn kernels (about 2 ears of corn)*
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ of a small red onion, chopped or thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
- 1-2 avocados, diced
- Cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)
For the dressing:
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped (leaves & stems are ok)
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp cayenne
- Make the dressing. Add your dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Then cover and keep it stored in the refrigerator.
- Toss the pasta salad. Add the cooled pasta, corn kernels, tomatoes, onion and cilantro to a large bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until it's fully coated.
- Serve. Top each individual portion with avocado and cotija cheese (if using) and serve immediately.