Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad

This is hands down one of my new favorite meals. I wanted to make this pasta salad for dinner one night, but knew I needed to add some protein to make my husband happy. I recently made some yummy chicken in another recipe (coming soon) and knew I had to combine the two.
It turns out the end result was phenomenal! The seasonings of the chicken and dressing paired perfectly and I had a definite winner!
The best part is you could add all kinds of vegetables to this pasta that would add more great flavor to the dish!
I also made this for my sister-in-law's baby shower and it was a definite hit! You have got to try it!

Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats and Our Best Bites
For the Chicken
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl and set aside. Place chicken pieces in a separate bowl and combine with olive oil. Pour in seasoning mix and stir until chicken is well coated.
2. Heat a pan over medium-heat and cook chicken 3-4 minutes per side until no longer pink. Set aside and let cool.

6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 3 small, juicy limes)
1/4 cup white wine or rice vinegar
3 tsp. garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1. For the dressing: Process lime juice, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and sugar in a blender until smooth. With the blender running on slow speed, add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated. Turn off the blender and add cilantro. Pulse 5-6 times so cilantro gets broken up but some pieces still remain intact.
Pasta Salad
Zest from 2 limes
1 lb. penne or bowtie pasta, cooked according to directions and cooled
1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup feta cheese
Grape tomatoes, red onions, corn (optional)

1. For the pasta salad: Zest limes and place zest in a large salad bowl. Place cooled, cooked, drained pasta in a large salad bowl with lime zest.

2. Add beans, chicken and other ingredients if desired. Toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. For best results, chill 1 hour before serving. Right before serving, sprinkle feta cheese on top.


  1. Can't wait to make this, love the flavors! Perfect little weeknight meal for my boys.

    1. You'll love it! It's a definite favorite in our house.


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