Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad

Perfect for potlucks, picnics & summer BBQ’s! This easy pasta salad is loaded with fresh corn, tomatoes, onion & cilantro all tossed in a creamy homemade cilantro lime dressing! It’s simple, refreshing & the best dish for summer!

A white serving bowl filled with creamy cilantro lime pasta salad topped with diced avocado and freshly chopped cilantro

Cilantro lime pasta salad – the official dish of summer! This is not your traditional pasta salad. Dare I say it…it’s even better!😉 Loaded with lots of veggies including fresh corn, tomatoes and all the avocado then tossed in the creamiest and dreamiest cilantro lime dressing! We get asked for this recipe all the time at parties! It’s simple, easy and such a nice change of pace from our usual pasta salad routine.

Ingredients used to make cilantro lime pasta salad

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad

  • Pasta: Any type of short pasta will work for this recipe. (We love using bow tie (farfalle) or rotini pasta.)
  • Corn: Use fresh corn for the best results. (It’s more flavorful and adds a pop of texture that’s hard to achieve with canned or frozen corn.)
  • Tomatoes: I’d suggest using cherry or grape tomatoes. They’re the perfect size for your salad and have so much flavor!
  • Red onion: Red onion works the best! (It’s slightly sweeter than white or yellow onion and doesn’t have a harsh “onion” taste.)
  • Cilantro: Use the leaves and stems for maximum flavor! You’ll need at least 2 tablespoons for this salad.
  • Avocado: Add as little or as much as you want!
  • Cilantro lime dressing: A creamy homemade dressing to tie it all together! It’s got a touch of heat, is only a handful of ingredients and can easily be made in the blender!
A food processor photographed from above filled with a creamy cilantro lime dressing
A large clear bowl filled with bowtie pasta, fresh corn, tomatoes, red onion and cilantro sitting next to a small bowl of chopped cilantro and fresh lime wedges

How To Make Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad

  1. Make your dressing. Place the dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Then keep your dressing stored in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your salad.
  2. Prepare your pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package’s directions. Then set it aside to cool completely.
  3. Prepare the rest of your ingredients. While the pasta cools, cook your corn using your preferred method then cut the kernels off the cobs after they’ve cooled. Cut your tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and avocado and set them aside.
  4. Mix and serve! Add all your ingredients (except the avocado) to a large bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Then toss the salad until it’s fully coated and top it with your diced avocado. Serve immediately with extra avocado on the side.

Like a lot of dressing? Make 1½ – 2x the dressing recipe and use it for leftovers! We’ll also double the dressing if we’re making a full box of pasta.

A close up photo of cilantro lime pasta salad tossed in a creamy homemade cilantro lime dressing

Tips & Variations

  • Have leftovers? Toss your pasta salad in a little extra dressing right before serving! (The pasta tends to soak up the dressing the long it sits.)
  • Try grilling your corn for added flavor!
  • Add a sprinkle of cotija cheese!
  • Make it an all-in-one meal & add some diced or grilled chicken to the mix!

FAQ’s

  • Can I prep any ingredients beforehand? Yes! You can cook your pasta and corn, make your dressing and cut the tomatoes and onion the day before serving. I would wait to cut your avocado until 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 in color.)
  • How do I store my leftover pasta salad? Place your pasta salad in an air tight container and keep it stored in the fridge. I would pick out any avocado pieces before storing because they can turn brown and look unappealing. (You can always add more when you eat it next!)
  • How long will my leftover pasta salad keep in the fridge? Your salad should stay good for 2-3 days if stored correctly.
  • Can I freeze my pasta salad? No. Freezing this salad can alter it’s consistency and cause your ingredients to become mushy after it’s been thawed.
Cilantro lime pasta salad served in a large white serving bowl surrounded by a plate of limes and a small bowl of chopped cilantro

Why you’ll love this cilantro lime pasta salad recipe!

  • A different type of pasta salad! No usual pasta salad ingredients over here! This salad is a fun change of pace that everyone’s going to love!
  • Lightened up & healthy! We’re using protein packed Greek yogurt as the base for our dressing & loading it up with lots of fresh veggies and healthy fats!
  • So much flavor! Creamy, tangy, zesty & everything in between! This pasta salad has all the flavors, all the textures and all the summer vibes!😉

More pasta salad recipes you might like:

[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!]

A close up photo of cilantro lime pasta salad tossed in a creamy homemade cilantro lime dressing
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5 from 1 vote

Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad

Perfect for potlucks, picnics & summer BBQ's! This easy cilantro lime pasta salad is loaded with fresh corn, tomatoes, onion & cilantro all tossed in a creamy homemade cilantro lime dressing! It's simple, refreshing & the best dish for summer!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time13 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: avocado, cilantro lime dressing, cilantro lime pasta salad, corn, pasta salad, summer recipes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the pasta salad:

  • 8 oz. bow tie pasta, cooked and cooled (or your favorite pasta)
  • cups corn kernels (about 2 ears of corn)*
  • cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ of a small red onion, chopped
  • 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
  • ⅛-¼ tsp cayenne (depending on how spicy you want it)

Instructions

To make the dressing:

  • Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Then place it in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your salad.

To make the pasta salad:

  • Add your pasta, corn, tomatoes, onion and cilantro to a large bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top.
  • Then toss the salad until it's completely coated. Add your avocado and cotija cheese (if using) right before serving and serve immediately.

Notes

These are suggested amounts for the ingredients. Please feel free to add more or less of an ingredient if you prefer. (We’ll usually double the dressing if we’re using a full box of pasta.)
*Cook the corn using your preferred method. (We usually boil ours for 1½ – 2 minutes.)
For leftovers: Make another ½ batch of dressing to toss the salad in right before serving. (The pasta tends to soak up your dressing while it sits.)

26 Comments

  1. Such a delish & easy recipe, 😊 thanks

  2. Do you have any nutrition information for this recipe?

  3. Easy to make but for me it was a little to tart. I will use less lime juice next time. Overall I liked it. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  4. This looks delicious and I am going to try it. One question, is the corn cooked or raw off the of the cob?

    • Oh yay, I can’t wait to hear what you think! It can be both actually! We’ll usually boil the corn for about 1 minute or so and then cut the kernels off but if I’m short on time then I’ll cut them off raw. They taste the same either way. 🙂

  5. Melissa Murphy

    How long does this salad keep in the fridge? I’m hoping for yummy leftovers!

    • Hi Melissa! I would say about 3-4 days. The pasta tends to soak up some of the dressing while it sits so I would suggest saving any leftover dressing you have too. I can’t wait to hear what you think! 🙂

  6. hey there! quick q – should the plain greek yogurt be 0% fat? 2% fat? just confused by that. thanks so much!

    • Hi Kathleen! It really depends on your personal preference. I usually use 0% fat because it doesn’t have as strong of a yogurt flavor. I hope this helps!

  7. Can this salad be made the day before serving and then just toss right before serving?

  8. This looks amazing!! Making me hungry.

  9. Hey! I was wondering what the macros and calories were per serving. Thank you!

    • Hi Alonna! Unfortunately I don’t have that information yet. I’m working on getting it soon though!

      • Rachel Hayek

        Hi there, what kind of cheese would you recommend using with this? I see there’s cheese in the picture but wasn’t seeing it listed anywhere.

        • Hi Rachel! I would suggest using cotija or queso fresco. They both should be pretty easy to find at most grocery stores. I hope this helps! 🙂

  10. Hello, is there a substitute for Greek yogurt ? Or would it not taste a good ??

    • Hi Karyn! I personally wouldn’t suggest substituting the greek yogurt. I’ve tried a few different versions of the dressing with different substitutions and they didn’t come out the same. I’m sorry! If you have a strong aversion to greek yogurt though and would need a substitute, the closest one would probably be sour cream. It will change the flavor of the dressing though. I hope this helps!

  11. This looks tasty. I’ll have to try this out on the family.

  12. This looks incredible! I wanted to make a blackbean salad and was wondering if you think the dressing would go well on that also?

    • Hi Andrea! Thank you so much! And yes, this dressing would be amazing on my black bean salad. That’s such a great idea! Let me know if you try it. 🙂

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