This corn, bacon, and jalapeno pasta salad with cheddar and summer vegetables is divine. Everything is tossed in an ultra flavourful chili lime vinaigrette for the perfect late summer side dish that is perfect for potlucks and BBQs!
- 1 pound (454 grams) short pasta (fusilli, rotini, penne, or macaroni)
- 5 slices bacon
- 1 cup corn kernels, cut off of the cob, or use thawed frozen corn
- 1 cup cubed strong/old cheddar cheese
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups), halved
- 4 packed cups baby kale or spinach
- 2 roasted red peppers, sliced
- 1/2 cup cilantro or basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos
Chili Lime Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 large garlic clove, minced or grated
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Transfer onto a plate lined with paper towel. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the skillet. Warm the fat over medium heat and add the corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Once the bacon has cooled, chop it into small pieces.
- Place the cooled pasta in a large bowl. Add the cheddar, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, kale, cilantro or basil, pickled jalapenos, and corn.
- Make the dressing: Place the oil, lime juice, balsamic, spices, garlic, salt, pepper, and honey in a jar, secure the lid, and shake vigorously to combine.
- Right before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Leftover pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To revive the flavours, add a spritz of lime juice to each serving of leftover salad.
This pasta salad makes a large amount, so it is perfect for potlucks or larger get-togethers. It makes 6 medium-large servings or 8 smaller servings.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Side Dish, Main Course, Lunch
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: healthy corn bacon jalapeno pasta salad recipe