This Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad is the perfect cold pasta salad for potlucks, parties, or a quick and easy meal. It can be made in advance and your friends and family will love this pasta salad recipe!

I teamed up with Kroger to share this delicious Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad. As always, all opinions are my own.

Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad in a glass bowl

We LOVE making and eating pasta salads during the hot summer months because they don’t require much cooking, you only have to cook the pasta, which only takes about 10 minutes. Plus, pasta salads can be made ahead of time. It’s great having one in the fridge for easy lunches and dinners.

tomatoes, lemon, black beans and ingredients for pesto in the Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad

So far, this summer, this Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad has been my go-to for taking to BBQ’s, potlucks, and parties. When we are invited to a BBQ or dinner party, I’m often asked to bring a pasta salad. And when I bring one, I want it to be a GOOD one so everyone will love it. You want your pasta salad to be the one that everyone is raving about and the one that is gone by the end of the dinner.

pasta and pesto for the Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad

If you are looking for the BEST pasta salad to make and take to parties this summer, make this Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad. Your family and friends will LOVE it!

all ingredients separated in a glass bowl for Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad

Quick and Easy Pasta Salad

It is SO good and SO easy to make! Not only is it a cinch to throw together, but it’s super clean. I found all of the ingredients at my local Kroger and used my OptUP app to make the best ingredient choices.

Have you heard of the OptUP app? Check out this post to learn more about it. Basically, you can take advantage of thousands of products rated on overall nutrition, enabling you to find “better for you” options throughout the store based on recent purchases. Your household dashboard allows you to see how you are doing with each shopping trip and gives ways you can improve the healthfulness of your cart over time. The ultimate goal is to help take the guesswork out of purchasing the most nutritious items, making it easier for you to eat and live well. All of the ingredients in this salad will do wonders for your OptUP score!

I love the Southwest inspired flavors in this pasta salad:

  • tomatoes
  • black beans
  • corn
  • jalapeño
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • lemon

The jalapeño pesto is seriously so good and really pulls all of the flavors together. It is light and refreshing, which makes this salad perfect for summertime. If you don’t want to take the time to make your own pesto, feel free to use a store bought variety.

closeup view of Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad in a glass bowl

Tips for Making Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad:

  • Rotini pasta works best in this recipe. I love how the pesto gets stuck in all of the nooks and crannies of the spiral shape! However, bowtie or even penne will also work well.
  • Cook the pasta, drain it, and rinse with cold water, and drain again, making sure you shake off all of the water. This is a cold pasta salad. Plus, I always rinse my pasta with cold water to stop the pasta from continuing to cook.
  • While the pasta is cooking, chop up and prepare all of the other ingredients, including the pesto.
  • You can make this pasta salad in advance. In fact, it’s even tastier after letting all of the flavors marry for about 30 minutes. The pasta salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but I bet it won’t last that long.
  • If you want to bulk up the salad, you can add chopped chicken, diced avocado and/or feta cheese.
  • Feel free to use halved cherry or grape tomatoes rather than whole tomatoes.

I have a feeling this Southwest Pasta Salad is going to be a summer staple at your house, I know we are going to make it all summer long! Enjoy! And be sure to check out the Wellness Your Way site for more healthy summer recipes, tips and more!


Tuscan Pasta Salad from The Recipe Critic

Healthy Greek Chickpea Salad

Easy Greek Pasta Salad from Oh Sweet Basil

Healthy Cherry Almond Broccoli Salad

overhead view of Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad in a white bowl with a black fork

Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad in a glass bowl
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Southwest Jalapeño Pesto Pasta Salad

This Southwest Pasta Salad is great for potlucks, parties, BBQ’s, and easy meals! It is a summer favorite!
Author: Kim


Pasta salad

  • ½ pound (8 ounces) whole grain bow-tie pasta or rotini or penne (use gluten-free pasta, if needed)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans
  • 2 medium (about 10 ounces) tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup fresh, canned or frozen corn kernels

Jalapeño pesto

  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
  • 2 small jalapeños with seeds and membranes removed
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, halved
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup raw whole pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup avocado or olive oil
  • Ground black pepper, to taste


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Before draining, reserve about a cup of cooking water. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.
  • While pasta is cooking, make the pesto: combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor. Run the machine until mixture is well blended, stopping and scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  • Pour enough pesto into the pasta to lightly coat it once tossed (you might not quite need all of it). Add a small splash of pasta cooking water and toss well. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and add the drained black beans, diced tomatoes, and corn. Stir until combined. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. This salad is best after it’s had a chance to marinate for about 30 minutes, but you can serve it right away if need be.


STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: This recipe keeps well for several days in the refrigerator, covered.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Leftovers are great served warm or chilled. One of my favorite ways to eat this salad is to add some leafy greens and a drizzle of lemony dressing.
TO SIMPLIFY THE RECIPE: Skip the pesto step and buy jarred pesto (any kind).
Serving: 1cup, Calories: 278kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Sodium: 308mg, Potassium: 522mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 800IU, Vitamin C: 14.9mg, Calcium: 70mg, Iron: 2mg

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