Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad with Cilantro and Lime

updated Oct 13, 2021
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Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad with Cilantro and Lime

Every forkful of this colorful pasta salad is packed with fresh corn, creamy avocado, and plenty of cilantro and lime.

Serves8 to 12

Prep15 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 12 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

With the bounty of fresh produce available right now, there’s no reason why every pasta salad you make shouldn’t be bursting to the brim with veggies. This unconventional pasta salad does just that, combining all your summer favorites into a bright and tangy side. It’s fresh and flavorful yet creamy, too, thanks to buttery ripe avocado in every single bite.

A Game-Changing Pasta Salad That Bursts with Fresh Flavor

The best part about summer cooking is that when you start with fresh ingredients at their peak, it takes very little effort to turn them into a delicious meal. As the pasta cooks, you’ll simply cut corn from the cob (or grab a bag of frozen corn, which is frozen at peak freshness), dice the avocado (it’s ready when it gives slightly at the poles, not the equator), and chop some cilantro. A simple lime vinaigrette brings everything together.

An Ingenious Trick for Taming Raw Onion

One final ingredient really makes this recipe pop: diced red onion. When added raw, it’s all you’ll taste, but when tamed, it adds a pretty pink color and appealing flavor. While you can pickle or soak red onion to dull its sharp edges, but this pasta salad calls for an even easier method. Dice a small red onion, then transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over the sink. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it through the strainer over the onion. The boiling water rushing over the chopped onion tempers its sharp bite without adding an extra step.

Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad with Cilantro and Lime

Every forkful of this colorful pasta salad is packed with fresh corn, creamy avocado, and plenty of cilantro and lime.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Serves 8 to 12

Nutritional Info


  • 1 to 2

    medium limes

  • 5 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1 pound

    dried, short pasta

  • 1

    small red onion

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh cilantro

  • 2

    medium avocados

  • 2 cups

    fresh or frozen corn kernels


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest of 1 to 2 medium limes until you have 1 tablespoon zest and refrigerate for garnish. Juice the limes until you have 2 tablespoons and place the juice in a large bowl. Add 5 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; whisk until emulsified.

  2. Add 1 pound pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, dice 1 small red onion and place in a large fine-mesh strainer. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh cilantro. Dice 2 avocados.

  3. When the pasta is ready, drain over the onion. Rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well. Transfer the pasta and onions to the bowl with the dressing. Add the cilantro, avocado, and 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with the reserved lime zest.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: To make the salad in advance, dress with 1/4 cup dressing during assembly and do not add the avocados. Toss with the remaining dressing and avocados just before serving.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.