Southwestern Bean and Pasta Salad

Once I conquered my fear of baking a cake without a box mix, I was hooked on making every element of every meal from scratch. Hamburger buns, condiments, crackers, ice cream – I love making it all myself. Really, if I can find a way to needlessly complicate a recipe, I will.

Southwestern Bean and Pasta Salad
At this point, it takes an unbearably hectic week to keep me from churning my own butter, so to speak.

So. It was a week until pay day, which meant protein = beans. I was planning to make my southwestern-spiced pasta and bean salad, when I realized that I had not one, not two, but THREE half-empty, opened bottles of Ranch salad dressing in the door of my fridge. Could I really justify buying buttermilk and sour cream and three different fresh herbs to dress my salad?

I could not. So I tossed my salad with bottled dressing, and it was perfectly lovely.

As much as I love cooking and baking from scratch, my option to do so is a luxury. It requires time, money, energy, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, a place to store both fresh foods and dry goods, reliable transportation to the market, potable water, pots and pans, cupboard space, and cooking skills, just for a start.

Sometimes I have all of those resources to spare, and just like most people, other times I don’t.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Continue reading for the Southwestern Bean and Pasta Salad recipe

Southwestern Bean and Pasta Salad
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Salad
Author: Bake Up, Little Suzy
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 8 mins
Total time: 13 mins
Serves: 6
Inexpensive, easy, hearty, and healthy — the perfect entree salad with a pop of heat
  • 8 oz pasta shells or elbow macaroni, cooked per package directions
  • 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 1/3 pound dried kidney beans, soaked and cooked
  • 1 lb frozen corn, thawed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can California olives
  • 1 cup low-fat ranch dressing
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, green parts only
  1. Combine the pasta, beans, corn, tomatoes, and olives in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk together the dressing and Cajun seasoning and gently stir into the pasta mixture.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Top with scallions.


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