Hello, hello, I hope you are having a nice week so far – we’ve been in a summer state of mind over here! The weekend was unbelievably gorgeous and, after spending Friday night deck sailing at my parent’s, the boys and I visited a local state park on Saturday afternoon. The park itself was nothing to write home about (although we did spot an e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s fox snake – I’ll spare you the picture) but it was a perfect day to be outside regardless of the location. Lincoln found himself a walking stick and we went for a nice nature walk (hence the snake sighting – barf!)
We packed back up Sunday morning and spent the entire day at my parent’s house. My little brother and his fiance Kelly were in town from Denver for the weekend, plus my older brother and his family were all over too. We arrived around 10am, didn’t leave until 6pm, and spent a grand total of 15 minutes indoors.
Soaking up every single second of sunshine!
Speaking of, I have the perfect gluten-free summer pasta salad recipe for you today that looks like sunshine in a bowl. I know, I know – the title of this blog is not Iowa Girl Eats Summery Salads, as recent posts might imply, but do you realize Memorial Day weekend is THIS weekend? It didn’t really hit me until yesterday that it’s already here!
I had grand plans of going somewhere for the holiday weekend, but alas, we are homebound. There’s not an empty lake house to be found in Galena nor Minnesota, flights to San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington DC are all too outrageous to justify spending on a short, three or four day trip (#midwestproblems,) and NYC with a toddler was voted as no-go. Long and rambling story (my speciality!) short, we’re sticking around here and throwing a big cookout that includes Grilled Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing!
I think we’ll survive… ;)
This pasta salad recipe might ring a bell for long time readers. I made it many years ago for a Memorial Day segment I taped on KCCI, but it was lost when I changed recipe formats on the blog last year. At any rate, I’ve had a ton of readers, especially in the last month, ask me for the recipe so I thought I’d post it again for you!
This gluten-free pasta salad recipe couldn’t be easier. Cooked pasta is combined with chopped avocado, cherry tomatoes, minced red onion, chopped basil, and grilled corn then tossed with a homemade 3 ingredient (plus salt and pepper) Chili-Lime Dressing that’s tart, smokey, and a little sweet. Translation: to die for – especially when it’s paired with the smokey grilled sweet corn. YUM!!!
Since this pasta salad is made with gluten-free pasta, I recommend serving it immediately, or refrigerating for up to one hour before serving, otherwise the pasta can get hard and mealy (if you are using regular pasta that won’t be an issue.) What I love just as much as the flavor though, is that this salad can sit out for several hours at room temperature, no problem, so it’s perfect for a backyard Memorial Day BBQ bash. Mixed Berry Rum Slushies optional but recommended.
Oh, and in case you’re like me and think side dishes are the best part of a grill out, check out the bottom of this post for 10 more Memorial Day side dish ideas. Let me know what you end up making!
How to Make Grilled Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad:
Start by cooking 8oz gluten-free rotini (or other short cut pasta) in salted, boiling water until cooked through. Drain then rinse under cold water until cool. Meanwhile, grill 2 sweet corn cobs that have been shucked over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, rotating occasionally, until the corn is evenly charred. The more char, the more flavor!
I, of course, am partial to Iowa sweet corn, but since it won’t be ready for another month or two, this sweet and snappy Florida sweet corn did the job just fine. Slow clap for Florida!
Slice the kernels from the cob once they’re cool enough to handle then add to a large bowl with the cooked and cooled pasta, plus 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes that have been sliced in half, 1 chopped avocado, 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil, and 1/4 small red onion that’s been minced.
By the way, I usually slice my avocados in half before peeling, but have found that slicing them into quarters makes it even easier.
How to Make Chili-Lime Dressing:
Last step is to shake up the crazy-easy Chili-Lime Dressing which has the perfect balance of tart, smokey, and just a teeny bit sweet. To a jar with a tight-fitting lid add 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes worth,) 1 Tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, salt, and pepper then shake to combine. Drizzle over the pasta salad (you may not need all of it,) then add a bit more salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Serve the pasta salad immediately or refrigerate for up to an hour before serving (gluten-free pasta can get hard and mealy if refrigerated too long, though if you are using regular pasta you can refrigerate as long as you like.) Pull out at your party, picnic, or potluck, and enjoy a scoop or seven of this fresh and absolutely delicious pasta salad. Enjoy!
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Grilled Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing
Grilled Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing is an easy, gluten-free pasta salad recipe full of color and fresh flavor!
- 8oz gluten-free rotini (or other short-cut pasta)
- 2 ears sweet corn, shucked
- 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1/4 small red onion, minced
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- For the Chili-Lime Dressing:
- 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until done then drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, grill corn cobs over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, rotating occasionally to char evenly on all sides. Slice kernels from cobs once cool enough to handle.
- Add ingredients for Chili-Lime Dressing into a jar with a tight-fitting lid or bowl then shake or whisk to combine.
- Combine pasta, corn, avocado, tomatoes, red onion, and basil in a large bowl then drizzle on desired amount of dressing. Season salad with additional salt and pepper then toss to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one hour before serving (cooked gluten-free pasta can become hard and mealy when refrigerated for over an hour.)
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
10 Memorial Day Side Dish Ideas
Memorial Day is usually considered the kickoff to grilling season and while I highly recommend enjoying a Root Beer Can Chicken, Perfect Grilled Steak, or irresistible Brat Burger at your holiday cookout this weekend, at the end of the day, it’s all about the sides, man. Here are 10 of my favorites!
Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Pepper Poppers
“These are AMAZING! I could have ate the entire batch myself! I have always made the traditional jalapeno poppers but these are easier and taste better!”
Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Skewers
“This recipe was a hit on the Fourth of July. Even the non-shrimp lovers declared it delicious. Thank you for the awesome recipe!”
Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Drizzle
“I did a variation of these for my wedding appetizers, people went NUTSO for them. thanks for sharing such lovely photos and instructional tips!”
The BEST Pasta Salad
“I made this last night and ..no lie..my husband said wow this is the BEST pasta salad I’ve ever had :) Too funny. Thanks for yet another great recipe!”
Best-Ever French Onion Dip
“BEST DIP RECIPE EVER!!! Im not a fan of dip, but this is my only exception. Made the dip last night for a bonfire with the entire family. Everyone loved!!!!!”
Caprese Pasta Salad
“Everyone, go and make this right now! Seriously. So delicious. Made this for our Mother’s Day lunch and it was a hit. :)”
Best-Ever Southwestern Black Bean Dip
“I made this for a party yesterday, and it went so fast that my husband didn’t even get to try it! It made so much that I was sure I would have leftovers, but the bowl was scraped clean. Now I have to make it again so my husband will get to taste it. :-) Great recipe!”
Cucumber and Tomato Salad with BEST-EVER Italian Vinaigrette
“I had to pause for a moment from eating this salad right now to come here and say that, yes, this is THE BEST Italian dressing ever!!! I could drink it, it’s so good! And so easy to prepare, which makes it a million times better! Thank you so much for sharing my new go-to dressing recipe :)”
Black Bean and Sweet Corn Guacamole Dip
“I just made this for my husband and I – we devoured it in about 5 minutes flat! Just so delicious and fresh. Will definitely be adding this to the rotation!”
Ultimate Red Skinned Potato Salad (Mayo Free)
“Made it this weekend – and it was amazing! Everyone in my family loved it! Can’t wait to make it again!”