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Jalapeno + Sweet Corn Pasta Salad

pasta salad on a white plate

If you’ve been on the hunt for some new pasta salad recipes to try this summer, you’ve gotta make my Jalapeño and Sweet Corn Pasta Salad! It’s a delicious blend of roasted red peppers, sweet corn and pickled jalapeños tossed with bowtie pasta and vegan feta cheese. The Italian Lemon Basil Dressing ties it all together and the result is a colorful plant-based pasta salad that is perfect for a summer picnic!

pasta salad on a white plate

Cold pasta salads are a cookout staple in the summer because they’re easy to make, flavorful and perfect to pack up and enjoy with friends and family. I love summery picnic foods and this recipe is a great side dish to serve alongside your favorite BBQ recipes.

You’ll love this unique pasta salad because it’s very easy to make and it can be made advance!

pasta salad in a beige bowl
Sweet corn and zingy jalapeño peppers give this cold pasta salad a boost of flavor!

Pasta Salad Ingredients

Bowtie Pasta – I love using Farfalle for this recipe, but any short pasta shape that you like will work well!

Roasted Red Peppers – I use jarred roasted red peppers but homemade are great too!

Jalapeño Peppers – I get the mild pickled jalapeños for this recipe but feel free to turn up the heat and get the hot peppers if desired.

Frozen Corn – frozen yellow corn is the unexpected ingredient that adds a subtle pop of sweetness which really compliments the peppers!

Vegan Feta – adds creaminess and a hint of saltiness and tang.

Italian Lemon Basil Dressing – this no-whisk dressing is super easy to make. I put olive oil, lemon, basil, and parsley into a small container with salt, pepper, and garlic. Then I just shake it up and pour it over the pasta. So quick and so flavorful!

pasta salad on a white plate

How to Make Pasta Salad

Making this healthy pasta salad recipe is super simple and comes together in about 20 minutes!

Start by cooking the pasta noodles and sautéing the corn. When the noodles are cooked, rinse them with cold water to prevent sticking.

The add the pasta to a big mixing bowl along with the corn, roasted red peppers, jalapeños and red onion.

Then add the vegan feta cheese and toss it all together with the Italian Lemon Basil Dressing!

pasta and corn in a mixing bowl

Tips for Making the Best Pasta Salad

Let the pasta and the corn cool before mixing – To speed up the process, I run the pasta under cold water after it’s done cooking. This cools it down and removes any excess starch which prevents the noodles from sticking together.

Dress the salad right before serving – If you’re making this in advance, add 2 tbsp of the dressing to the pasta salad and mix well. Then toss it with the rest right before serving! Adding a little dressing will prevent the pasta from drying out, but I like to wait to dress it until right before serving for best results.

Garnish with what’s inside the salad – I love to place a few extra slices of jalapeño and small basil leaves on top of the pasta before serving. It’s nice to add a few extra lemon wedges on the side too! This will make the dish look elegant and irresistible to all of your cookout guests!

Healthy Pasta Salad Add-Ins

Add some extra healthy ingredients to this pasta salad recipe for a pretty pop of color and added nutrients!

Arugula or Baby Spinach – Add about 2 handfuls of greens before tossing with the dressing.

Green Olives – sliced olives add richness and a touch of saltiness which is delicious with the pasta and veggies!

Swap the noodles for gluten-free pasta to make this side dish gluten-free.

Avocado – thick, creamy slices of avocado would certainly be a welcome addition!

Add Protein – mix in some grilled tofu, baked chickpeas or steamed lentils to make this pasta salad more filling.

If you like this vegan pasta salad recipe, you might also enjoy:

Watch me make this recipe here!
pasta salad on a white plate

Jalapeno + Sweet Corn Pasta Salad

Nicole Vranjican
This easy pasta salad recipe is tossed with Italian Lemon Basil Vinaigrette, pickled jalapeño peppers, sweet corn and vegan feta cheese!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 485 kcal

Ingredients
  

Sautéed Corn

  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • tsp kosher salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • pinch of sugar optional

Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • 1 lb bow tie pasta dry
  • 1 cup diced roasted red peppers
  • ¼ cup diced red onion finely diced
  • ¼ cup diced pickled jalapeno peppers from the jar
  • ½ cup vegan feta cheese

Lemon Dressing

  • cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 2.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 basil leaves chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling water and add a big pinch of salt. Cook for about 1-2 minutes past the package directions so the pasta is a little bit soft but not falling apart.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add 1.5 tbsp of olive oil to a large frying pan and add in the frozen corn. Season with salt and pepper and cook until warmed through. About 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the corn to cool.
  • When the pasta is done cooking, drain the water and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Drain well and add the cooled pasta to a large mixing bowl.
  • Then add the chopped roasted red peppers, jalapeño peppers, red onion, vegan feta cheese and cooked corn to the bowl with the pasta and set aside.

Make the Dressing

  • In a container with a lid, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, chopped basil and chopped parsley Add the garlic granules, salt and black pepper, then put the lid on the container and shake it for 30 seconds.
  • Then pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper and adjust it to your liking.
    Tip: If you're making this in advance, add 2 tbsp of the dressing to the pasta salad and mix well. Then toss it with the rest right before serving! Adding a little dressing will prevent the pasta from drying out, but I like to wait to dress it until right before serving for best results. 
    Enjoy!
Keyword pasta salad

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Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

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4 Comments

  1. Reena
    June 8, 2022 / 4:49 pm

    5 stars
    Simple. Awesome. Wonderful.

    • Nicole Vranjican
      Author
      June 8, 2022 / 6:06 pm

      Thank you Reena! I’m so happy that you like it 😊😊

  2. Monica
    June 9, 2022 / 5:16 pm

    Hello,

    What brand of vegan feta cheese do you use for this recipe?

    thanks!

    • Nicole Vranjican
      Author
      June 11, 2022 / 3:51 pm

      I used Follow Your Heart crumbles but Trader Joe’s vegan feta is great too! I also love VioLife’s but I find it’s more mild and less salty so you may want to adjust the salt to taste after mixing it in with the other ingredients 🙂

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