Loaded Southwestern BBQ Pasta Salad — an easy make ahead pasta salad that’s loaded with flavor, veggies, and fun! Your whole family will love it!
I made this pasta salad for a pool party we attended. I love the fact that this full flavored super yummy pasta salad doesn’t have mayo in it (as you know, I’m not a fan of mayo).
This would be great for a picnic, BBQ, pool party, or any summer get-together! It’s perfect for lunches as well; pack up some pasta salad and a tuna sandwich, and you’re brown bagging it in style!
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BBQ side dishes
This Loaded Southwestern BBQ Pasta Salad was a big hit! Black beans, creamy BBQ dressing, all the southwestern veggies! Super yummy. And don’t forget to pin this recipe!
BBQ side dishes for a crowd
Looking for other great side dishes to take to a BBQ or summer party? Try my Skinny Avocado Ranch Pasta Salad, Mexican Street Corn Salad, or Mexican Corn Salad.
What kind of pasta should I use?
Use any smaller pasta that you like. Macaroni, farfalle, fusilli, rotini, anything fun. Those multi colored pastas would be beautiful in this pasta salad too!
What kind of BBQ sauce should I use?
Use your favorite BBQ sauce for this make ahead summer side dish. I used a nice mesquite flavor BBQ sauce the first time I made this, it added a nice smokey flavor to the dish.
Maybe you like your BBQ sauce a little spicy, a little sweet, a little fruity, it’s all good. Use your favorite, the one you like the best!
Can I vary the recipe?
If you wanted to make this more of a main dish, you could throw some cooked shredded chicken into it. I’d also love some cut up sausages (veggie links for me please) tossed into it.
Want to use a different cheese? Go for it! Pepperjack, cotija, Monterey Jack cheese would all be lovely!
Toss in more veggies if you like as well!
How to make this pasta salad
Quick cook the onions
I use a little quick cooking trick for the red onions so they aren’t so harsh and overpowering. Just place them in your strainer or colander, drain the boiling pasta water over the onions, and voila, easy softened onions!
Mix up the remaining ingredients
In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. This can be done while the pasta cooks!
Allow the drained pasta to cool, and toss it in with the veggies and sauce. Top with additional cheese and herbs if desired. Refrigerate the pasta salad until you’re ready to serve it.
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Loaded Southwestern BBQ Pasta Salad Recipe
Loaded Southwestern BBQ pasta salad
- 1 pound small shape pasta
- ½ cup red onion , finely diced
- ¾ cup BBQ sauce
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 can black beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn , thawed
- ½ red bell pepper , diced
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, place chopped red onion in the bottom of a strainer. Once pasta has cooked, pour the boiling water over the red onion through the strainer, and strain the cooked pasta. Place the drained pasta and red onion in a large bowl and allow to cool.
- In a smaller separate bowl, stir together BBQ sauce, sour cream, chives, cilantro, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and thyme and pour over pasta. Toss to mix.
- Add all remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Garnish with additional shredded cheddar and chives or cilantro as desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
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What, exactly, makes this “southwestern?” Because there’s no cumin, no chile, no oregano, nor any chipotle, and you’re using cheddar cheese, not Asadero or Cotija.
Cindy, I didn’t realize that those were the only ingredients allowed in a southwestern recipe. *facepalm* If I had only known!
Added chickpeas! 10/10.