Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.  

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

I don’t know about you, but thinking up side dishes is one of my least favorite things ever.

Another one of my least favorite things?  Being in the kitchen preparing food while everyone else is visiting around the grill, drinking ice-beverages on the patio, and watching the kids play on the slip and slide.

So yeah, pasta salads are one of my favorite, easy, make-ahead dishes for summer entertaining.  I can throw it together in the morning {which gives the flavors time to meld anyway}, hand the meat and the bread to the Tall Boy for grilling, and my work is done. 😉

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

What I love even more about pasta salads is that you can load ’em up with whatever veggies float your boat.  Since I went with a sort of Tex-Mex theme with this version, I used loads of bell peppers, corn, red onion, and cilantro.  I realized after I shot this that I forgot to add in the black beans, and I totally recommend that you do that.

Along with some sour cream, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and spices, I added in some Lowry’s Baja Chipotle Marinade to make a quick and easy dressing {NOT sponsored, I just really like using their quick marinades}.  You can find Lowry’s in your grocery store next to the salad dressings.


I crumbled some Queso Fresco {Mexican crumbling cheese, found in the refrigerator case–I get mine at Wal-Mart} on top just before serving, but cubed cheddar would work just fine here, too.

Packed with veggies and covered with a dressing made with Greek yogurt, this Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is the perfect addition to your summer cookouts.

Since grilling season is just around the corner, I’m looking for new side dish recipes to try.  What are your favorites?

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad
  • 12 ounces small pasta
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup Baja Chipotle Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used half green pepper and half red pepper)
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • optional: queso fresco cheese, for topping
  1. Boil pasta until tender, 7 to 9 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, combine the sour cream, Greek yogurt, marinade, lime juice and spices in small bowl.
  2. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Place pasta in a large bowl and add the bell pepper, corn, black beans, red onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. Add the sour cream/yogurt mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Keep covered in the refrigerated until serving. Just before serving, top with crumbled cheese.

XO, Ashley


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Tropical Fruit Salad

Given the choice between fruit and a buttercream-frosted cupcake, my son will choose fruit every time.  My husband finds even vanilla ice cream “too sweet” and much prefers carrots and Ranch dip to any form of dessert.

What is wrong with these people and why are they in my house?

I, on the other hand, have to make deals with myself in order to eat healthy.  For example, if I eat well all week, I can reward myself by purchasing Martha Stewart’s “Cookies” recipe book or “How to Cook With Butter” by Paula Deen.

I’m always looking for ways to liven up my fruit dishes so that I’m not tempted to consume an entire jar of Nutella when eating a banana or an apple.  Not that this wouldn’t be great with Nutella.  In my book, pretty much everything is great with Nutella.

Tropical Fruit Salad

  • 2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, undrained
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 medium oranges, peeled and sliced
  • 4 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 2 mangos, peeled and cubed

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 cup juice
  2. Stir together reserved juice, honey, and next 3 ingredients; add pineapple, orange slices, and remaining fruit, tossing gently to coat.
  3. Cover and chill up to 24 hours.  Garnish with coconut, if desired.


Grilled Potato Salad

My husband and I took this week off work for a stay-cation.  As our (un)luck would have it, we’re setting record temperatures here in Kansas, and it’s too hot to do anything but sit on an air-conditioner vent and eat ice cubes.  Plans for the zoo and mini-golf?  Not happening.

It was 111 degrees here on Sunday.  No joke.  I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be that hot anywhere outside of the Mohave Desert.  Maybe not even there.

So, not being in the kitchen is top on my priority list this week, at least not while the oven and/or stove is on.  Am I cooking everything I possibly can on the charcoal grill?  Absolutely.

Grilled Potato Salad (click to print)

  • 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 bacon slices
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions:

In a heavy-duty aluminum foil tray, pile in your potatoes and veggies.  Drizzle with olive oil, and place bacon slices on top.

Grill over medium to high heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

While vegetables cook, whisk together vinegar, broth, vegetable oil and garlic.

Place grilled vegetables in a large bowl, and crumble bacon slices over the top.  Shake vinegar dressing to mix and pour over veggies.  Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Red, White and Blue Salad

What can I say, I looooove salads this time of year.  I don’t know about you, though, but I get awfully bored with the same old iceberg lettuce, cucumber, carrots and tomatoes.  Bleck, who wants to eat that??

Coincidentally, in the summer, I always have huge containers of fresh berries in my fridge.  And while I do my best to eat as much fruit as I can during the week, I’m always looking for various ways to use up my berries by the end of the week.  This has become my new, favorite, summer salad.  It’s crisp and cool, and not your same old run-of-the-mill mixed salad.  Add some grilled chicken to this, and you’ve got a meal.

 Start by toasting some pecans on the stove top.  Almonds would also be yummy!  Melt some butter over low heat and add your chopped nuts.  Sprinkle with a little brown sugar and cook until lightly toasted.  Remove from heat and place on a paper towel to cool.

Meanwhile, thinly slice your cucumber and strawberries.  Mix with fresh spinach leaves, and toss with blueberries and freshly sliced parmesan cheese.  Drizzle with a berry viniagrette dressing.

Berry Viniagrette

In your blender, mix together:

  • 1/4 cup fresh fruit spread (I used blackberry, since that’s what I had on-hand, but blueberry or strawberry would work great, also);
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Process until smooth.  With blender running, slowly add in 2/3 cup of vegetable oil.  Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Greek Pasta Salad

Carbs are not my friend.  Well, actually they are; just maybe a little too much.  I could probably live off of bowls of steaming hot pasta, warm bread straight from the oven, and my own personal downfall, tortilla chips and salsa.  In fact, I’ve found myself begging my husband to remove the chip bowl from the table at Abuelo’s, or asking him to throw his used, wadded up napkin into the bowl at the end of the meal so I didn’t keep eating them.

Embarrassingly enough, sometimes even that doesn’t stop me.

But not all carbs are bad, and certainly not in moderation.  Especially when you add a lot of vegetables, right?  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

We have the best mediterranean restaurant near our house, and besides their hummus, my favorite menu item is their pasta salad.  While my recipe isn’t exact, it’s still pretty darn tasty.  Also, this is a great summer salad recipe; you can take it to picnics or barbeques and not worry about it sitting around wilting.

Greek Pasta Salad (printable recipe)

  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 3 dill pickle spears, chopped
  • 1 small jar arthichoke hearts, marinated and quartered
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • feta cheese, to taste
  • your favorite Greek dressing

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil.  Make sure to salt your water; it helps ensure your pasta does not turn out too bland.  While your pasta is cooking, grab your ingredients:

As soon as your pasta is done, run it under cold water to cool off:

Add your chopped pickles, tomatoes, artichokes, capers and olives.

Then mix with your favorite Greek dressing.  I used this recipe:

Greek dressing, from Our Best Bites

1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. white vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (this will not make the dressing spicy, just flavorful)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 c. canola oil (or other salad oil)
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. dry oregano

In the jar of a blender, combine all the ingredients through the garlic. Blend until smooth. While the blender is running, add the oil in a steady stream. Turn off the blender and add the feta and pulse the blender a few times (more if you want a creamier consistency). Whisk in the herbs.

If possible, allow salad to set for 1 to 2 hours before serving, to allow flavors to meld.