Southwestern Pasta Salad

I can always guarantee one thing around our house – a pasta salad will be a hit with everyone. It really doesn’t matter what kind it is either. As long as it has noodles, is cold and has a tasty dressing, it will get eaten in a hurry.

We tend to gravitate towards pasta salads that use a bottled dressing, usually a Ranch or Italian in one form or another. But it’s always fun to mix things up a bit and this Southwestern Pasta Salad definitely does that. The dressing is different from our norm and the addition of green olives is always a welcome addition. The spiciness of the dressing is mild, but that’s easy enough to change by adding more spices. In fact, last time I made this my husband thought it was a little too mild, so I had to up the chili powder and cumin while we were eating. Easy fix though!

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Salad
Keyword: Pasta Salad


  • 1 lb small shell pasta, fully cooked and chilled
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes or 1 regular tomato, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 small jar stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 1 small can black olives, sliced
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 – 3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 – 3 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked and chilled pasta with the green pepper, tomatoes, green onions and olives. Toss with the vinegar.
  • In a small bowl, stir the remaining ingredients together to make the dressing. Pour on the pasta and stir to coat.
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours, before serving.