There’s a reason cilantro and lime are paired together so often. It’s a burst of fresh flavor that just works! And that combination is what makes this Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad just amazingly tasty. Fresh tomatoes, crunch cucumbers, and sweet corn mixed with farfalle noodles and coated with a creamy, homemade Green Goddess dressing makes for an amazing lunch, meal prep staple, or barbecue side dish.
Table of Contents
About this Pasta Salad
So many cuisines pair lime and cilantro. An Asian Pad Thai garnished with cilantro and a lime wedge or your Mexican guacamole with diced cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Why? Because the pairing is just that good!
Two bright flavors: citrusy lime with refreshing cilantro. It’s a match that just works in any recipe. So why not put it with pasta?
I love a good pasta salad recipes, (check out this Pesto Pasta Salad, Chickpea Pasta Salad. or this Orzo Pasta Salad too!) but this is a change up from the typical dish. Leave the deli meats and cheeses behind and skip the italian dressing for a homemade Green Goddess Dressing made with creamy avocado. This Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad is loaded with veggies and full of fresh flavors.
And if you love this Cilantro Lime flavor combo, also check out my Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice which is a great side dish to grilled meats, base for hearty bowls, or filling for a big burrito.
Ingredients for cilantro lime pasta salad
- Farfalle Noodles - Farfalle pasta (a.k.a. bow tie pasta) isn’t a must, but I do suggest a noodle variety with extra nooks and crannies like fusilli pasta, penne, rotini pasta or macaroni. For extra protein choose a legume pasta like Banza.
- Veggies - I've included cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber, fresh corn, onion, and cilantro for plenty of fresh flavors and textures.
- Lime Zest - The zest has an even more concentrated lime flavor than the juice alone. The small specks of green are also gorgeous scattered throughout this dish.
Ingredients for green goddess dressing
- Cilantro - Keep the stems on! The stems actually have the most flavor. Cilantro will give our dressing its bright green color and contribute to its fresh flavor.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - As a healthy fat, olive oil helps you absorb nutrients from your food and also helps to thicken up our dressing a bit.
- Avocado - This is the base of our dressing making it creamy and smooth dressing.
- Limes - Lime goes so well with cilantro. It’s another bright flavor that adds freshness to our dressing. We will use three whole limes because we really want the taste to come through.
- Plain Greek Yogurt - A healthy addition full of protein that also adds extra creaminess to the dressing. .
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Make This Recipe
1. First, cook pasta according to the box instructions. Once they are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Allow them to cool to room temperature then add them to the large bowl.
2. Prepare the vegetables. Cook the frozen corn kernels (microwave or stove top), chop the cherry tomatoes into quarters, use a vegetable chopper to evenly chop the cucumber and red onion. Use a pizza cutter to finely dice cilantro. Add all of the chopped fresh vegetables to the mixing bowl with the noodles. Add the lime zest over top.
3. In the blender or food processor, add fresh cilantro leaves and stems (secret: the stem has the most flavor), along with the olive oil and lime juice. Blend it together until most of the cilantro is completely blended - it will look like green juice. If needed, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to help thin it out. Then, add avocado, plain greek yogurt. Blend again until completely smooth.
4. Pour the creamy cilantro lime dressing over vegetables and noodles. Toss to cover all of the salad ingredients with dressing. Serve with lime wedges and enjoy this easy pasta salad!
Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The great thing about Cilantro-Lime Pasta Salad is fabulous for meal prep! I usually make extra cilantro-lime dressing, too to have on hand for other salads throughout the week. Store this in a glass jar or Tupperware.
Definitely! Just substitute the greek yogurt with more avocado and leave out the parmesan. I love to sneak in healthy protein when I can; but you could easily do all avocado or even use a plant based yogurt.
If you’re one of those people that are going to come at me for not liking cilantro (or say it tastes like soap), I promise you that the avocado and lime mask this flavor where you only get hints of hints (just like your beloved La Croixs). You could also sub parsley for a similar bright and fresh flavor.
This Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad is meant to be served cold. The Green Goddess Dressing isn't great when heated and the fresh veggies are also best chilled.
Bulk up Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad recipe with some boneless chicken breast halves. I like to grill chicken on my Ninja Foodi, chop into bite size pieces and sprinkle over top of the pasta mixture. This is a great meal for busy week nights and then you can take the leftovers for lunch the next day!
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Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad Recipe
- Mixing Bowl
- Sauce pot
- Cutting Board
- Pizza Cutter optional
For the pasta salad
- 1 box farfalle noodles
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- ½ large english cucumber
- 1 bag frozen corn
- ½ cup red onion
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, zested
For the Green Goddess Dressing
- 1 buschel cilantro
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 avocado
- 3 limes, juiced
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, Two Good
- 1 tbsp Trader Joe's Green Goddess Seasoning
- ¼ cup shaved parmesan
- 1 tsp sriracha
- First, prepare the noodles according to the box instructions. Once they are cooked, drain and rinse. Allow them to cool. Add them to the large mixing/serving bowl.
- While the noodles are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Cook the frozen corn (microwave or stove top), chop the cherry tomatoes into quarters, use a vegetable chopper to evenly chop the cucumber and red onion. Use a pizza cutter to finely dice cilantro.
- Add all of the chopped vegetables to the mixing bowl with the noodles. Add the lime zest over top.
- Lastly, make the dressing. A blender or food processor is going to work best. You could use an immersion blender as well if needed. In the blender, add cilantro stems and all (secret: the stem has the most flavor), along with the olive oil and lime juice.
- Blend it together until most of the cilantro is completely blended - it will look like green juice. If needed, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to help thin it out.
- Then, add avocado, plain greek yogurt. Blend again until completely smooth.
- Pour dressing over top of the vegetables and noodles.
- Toss to coat all of the ingredients with dressing. Serve and enjoy!
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