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26 May, 2016

Chipotle Pasta Salad

Posted in : Sides on by : tiffannybrandel

On the lookout for a new pasta salad to make for a side dish this summer.  I may have already found it!!  Chipotle Pesto Pasta from the Taste Better from Scratch website sounded too good to be true.  The pesto (pesto is one of my favorite things ever) has a base of chipotle peppers in  adobo sauce.  WOW!  This recipe is so hardy that it could easily be eaten as a main dish.

I started out by cooking the pasta.  The author suggest using penne or bowtie.  I actually used a mini penne, as I was making this as a side dish and I like a little bit smaller pasta for that.  Make sure you salt your pasta…I know I say it every time, but its so important.

If you have never cooked with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, you may be a little confused.  First off, these peppers are canned and usually found in market by the Mexican food.  Secondly, these peppers pack a LOT of heat.  What I do is slice the pepper down the middle and take out the seeds.  If you like your food extremely spicy, you can leave them in, but I would advise against that.  Even without the seeds, these peppers are still super spicy.  The author used two peppers in the pesto, but I only used on (which would be equivalent to a mild salsa spice.  Next time I would probably use two, which would probably be a medium heat rating.

Now that we are schooled on chipotle peppers, its pesto time.  Combine chipotle peppers, parmesan, pine nuts (my local Kroger didn’t have pine nuts for some reason, so I subbed with walnuts) and garlic in a food processor.  Add olive oil and greek yogurt and pulse until smooth.  If you need it to be thinner, you can add more olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Combine pasta, pesto, corn, black beans and diced tomatoes in a large bowl.  Fold in avocado and cilantro and you are done!

Okay, this pasta salad is a taste explosion!  The pesto is so many things, spicy and super smoky from the chipotles and adobo sauce…yet its creamy from the greek yogurt which makes it quite refreshing.  The corn gives it a sweet crunch and the black beans add a hardiness (which gives it the ability to be a stand alone dish, if desired).  The tomato and avocado add freshness and the cilantro is like the cherry on top, lending a spicy crispness to the dish.

The only drawback I found with the recipe is that it did not fare well in the fridge overnight.  As most pesto dishes, the oil starts to separate and it is not nearly as tasty as when it is freshly made.  That will not keep me from making this dish all summer long!  I will just make sure I make it when I have company coming over:)

To get the full recipe, follow this link:  http://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/2014/06/chipotle-pesto-pasta.html

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