A creamy Mexican Macaroni Salad recipe tossed in a flavorful southwest dressing! Simple to prepare with healthy whole food, plant-based ingredients, and tastes so rich and indulgent. (Vegan, oil-free, gluten-free option.)
Let's make a delicious macaroni salad with a Mexican-style twist! It's creamy, flavorful, and oh so satisfying.
Plus it's easy to prepare in just 30 minutes. We combine tender pasta, black beans, crunchy veggies, and fresh herbs in a bowl. Then toss it with a creamy southwest dressing made with a homemade "mayo", fresh lime, salsa, and taco seasoning. (Yum!)
The best part is it's made with healthier whole food, plant-based ingredients. There's no dairy, sour cream, or traditional mayo. But it still tastes rich and indulgent.
It's a perfect crowd-pleasing dish to bring for summer picnics, potlucks, and BBQs. Or simply enjoy it at home for a light lunch or side dish!
Ingredients for Mexican Macaroni Salad
For this recipe you'll toss together in a large bowl:
- Elbow noodles: Be sure to use gluten-free pasta if needed. Most often I use Banza elbow macaroni noodles which are made from chickpeas.
- Black beans: You'll need one 15-ounce can for this recipe. Black beans add lots of tasty flavor and hearty plant-based protein and fiber.
- Bell pepper: I use an orange bell pepper, but you can use yellow or red if desired. Jarred fire-roasted red bell pepper could work too, but I really enjoy the crisp, crunchy texture of fresh bell pepper to offset the soft pasta.
- Sweet corn: Either cooked fresh, canned, grilled, frozen corn (thawed), or fire-roasted corn.
- Roma tomatoes: You'll need two roma tomatoes for this recipe, but you can replace them with grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes for a bolder flavor.
- Green onions: You could also use finely chopped red onion if desired.
- Fresh cilantro: If you don't care for the flavor of cilantro, simply leave it out.
- Cashew mayo: I use my homemade oil-free Cashew Mayo. It's so creamy, rich, and delicious. (I like to make it a day in advance for convenience and quicker prep time.) But you can replace this with your favorite homemade or store-bought vegan mayonnaise if desired.
- Salsa: Simply use your own favorite, either store-bought or homemade. (I enjoy this Restaurant-Style Blender Salsa.)
- Fresh lime juice: You'll need 1 tablespoon lime juice which is about a half lime.
- Taco seasoning: I use my zesty homemade Taco Seasoning recipe that I keep on hand in a small mason jar in the pantry. You can also add salt and black pepper to taste before serving if needed.
Make it spicy: Add diced jalapeno or a dash of cayenne pepper to taste. You can even add chipotle in adobo sauce to the dressing for smoky heat!
Other flavors: Add black olives, diced green chiles, nutritional yeast, shredded vegan cheddar cheese, garlic powder, fresh minced garlic cloves, etc.
Serve this crowd-pleasing dish at summer picnics, potlucks, or BBQs. It's also a tasty light lunch or side dish to enjoy at home.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I find it keeps for about 4 days.
Want a classic version? Try this creamy Vegan Macaroni Salad as well!
Mexican Macaroni Salad (Oil-Free!)
- 8 oz. elbow noodles*
- 15 oz. can black beans
- 1 cup sweet corn, cooked
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 2-3 green onions
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, leaving al dente (slightly firm, not mushy).
- Meanwhile, make dressing: Add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Prepare salad: Dice bell pepper, tomatoes, and green onion. Roughly chop cilantro. Add to large bowl with black beans (rinsed and drained) and corn.
- When pasta is done cooking, drain well and add to bowl. Immediately add dressing and toss well. Serve immediately or chill for at least an hour to let flavors further blend.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
If you are enjoying this vegan Mexican Macaroni Salad recipe, also check out: