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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Cucumber Salsa

Apparently, my son has decided one of his new favorite activities is serving as my personal trainer.  Not that I don’t need one, mind you, but he’s tough.

When we get home after work in the evenings, he immediately sticks my iPod in the Bose and flips it to Pink’s “Perfect.”  And then insists I do sit-ups.

To the entire song.

This might be okay if I was in any sort of shape.  However, my exercise routine typically involves seeing how quickly I can hit the ice cream supply after dinner.

Anyway, this recipe may not give you a rockin body, but it might at least offset the margaritas that pare with it nicely.

Now, pay close attention.  This is pretty tricky.  Grab your ingredients:

Chop your cucumber, red onion and cilantro.  Drain a can of Rotel and dump it in.

Isn’t it pretty and bright?

Stir in 1/4 cup white wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar.  Combine, and serve with tortilla chips.

Cucumber Salsa

Mix together:

  • 3 cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 can of Rotel, drained
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • cilantro, to taste

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.

Rosemary-Parmesan Steak Fries

While I often hear a small voice in the back of my head calling, “Danger! Danger Will Robinson!” as I consider shoving my son’s leftover McDonald’s french fries into my mouth (while no one is watching, of course), this recipe really isn’t all that unhealthy.  There’s still salt, of course, but I tell myself that’s offset by using the whole potato (skins and all) and olive oil rather than deep-frying.

Rosemary-Parmesan Steak Fries

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 and slice 4 medium potatoes into 8 slices each.

Mix ingredients through the garlic with 2 Tbsp olive oil, and add potatoes.  Toss to coat.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.  Using foil makes for super easy clean-up later, and what can I say, I’m lazy.  Also, the foil really helps your potatoes cook more evenly.

Spread your potatoes evenly on the foil, and bake for approximately 40 minutes.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and enjoy.

Mexican Corn on the Cob

Who am I kidding?  Madness pretty much meets our house every day.  Runs it, actually.  With a full-time job and a 4-year old boy, I usually consider it a success if we manage to eat by 8:00 and don’t destroy the kitchen and/or dining room.  But sometimes the thought of tackling the whirlwind messes we create is more than I can bear on a Monday.

So, despite the horrendous temperatures here, we try to eat outside as much as we can this time of year.  The Doodlebug can run and play, and I can enjoy a glass of wine without wondering how (why??) spaghetti sauce is smeared on top of (underneath, on the side of) the kitchen table.


Tonight I made a quick rub for steaks and threw that on while the grill was warming.  Shucked some corn, and mixed together these ingredients:



Smeared the mixture over hot corn, and ended up with this:




And this:



Mexican Corn on the Cob (printable recipe)


1 cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons mayonniase

2 tablespoons sour cream

zest of 1 lime

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

dash of kosher salt


Mix together mayonnaise and sour cream.  Add zest and juice, and mix in remaining spices.  Spread mixture on hot corn and roll in shredded cheese.