This summer I can’t seem to get enough pasta salad. I serve it as a side or the main course depending on the mood I’m in. This Chili Pasta Salad is a meal in itself though, that we never seem to get sick of!
I was inspired to make this easy recipe after whipping up a batch of my Pantry Chili a few weeks ago. I wondered what a Chili Pasta Salad would taste like. The answer? Delicious!
Think tender noodles mixed with a spicy chili and tangy garlic dressing. I like eating mine warm, but it also tastes good chilled too. I’ll be making this one again this summer I’m sure!
Why You’ll Love This Chili Pasta Salad
- It tastes incredible both warm and cold
- A nice change of pace compared to the normal pasta salads out there
- Dual-purpose as it can be a side dish or main meal
- Something the kids will love, and adults too!
- Only need 10 ingredients that you probably already have
- Super simple to toss together, great for when you’re out of creativity in the kitchen
- Bowtie pasta
- Lean ground beef
- Yellow onion
- Green pepper
- Stewed tomatoes
- Kidney beans
- Minced garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lime juice
- Package of chili seasoning
How to Make Chili Pasta Salad
- Step 1: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and put in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Step 2: Add in ground beef, onions, and green pepper. Cook until beef is browned and vegetables are softened.
- Step 3: Stir in a package of chili seasoning mix. Add in stewed tomatoes and kidney beans and stir together. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Step 4: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and garlic. Add the mixture to the bowtie pasta and stir to combine. Add the chili into the pasta mixture and stir together. Serve warm or chilled.
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- Saucepan: For cooking pasta in
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Wooden spoon: For stirring ingredients together
What to Serve with Chili Pasta Salad
This flavored Pasta Salad is a perfect dish all by itself, but if you’re looking for some other yummy ideas, here you go:
- Pizza Hot Dogs
- Burger Hobo Packs
- Chicken Fajita Burgers
- Easy Stuffed Burgers
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Burgers
If you’re looking for some more pasta salad dishes to serve for potlucks or picnics, I have the best 25 picnic-perfect pasta salads for you to check out!
We have a ton of other pasta salad recipes for you to check out, all you have to do is head to the search bar and type in pasta salad and you’ll be amazed at how many other options are out there for you to try! Bored by the same ol’ pasta salad, no more!!
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Try not to overcook your pasta. You don’t want floppy, flimsy bowtie pasta as it will start to disintegrate over time faster than more al dente pasta will.
- If you don’t have the chili seasoning mix, use 2 tbsp chili powder, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp oregano instead to create your own homemade chili seasoning mix.
Variations and Substitutions
- Swap the bowtie pasta out for other pasta shapes, like the classic elbow macaroni, or try cavatappi or rotini for something different!
- Add other ingredients. Some other additions would be bacon bits, other colored bell peppers, corn kernels, or shredded cheese.
- Add some garnishes that you can mix in, like a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt, a handful of shredded lettuce or some shredded cheese like a Mexican blend, cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese.
- Trade out the lean ground beef for another protein source. Ground venison, ground turkey, and even ground chicken would be great options to try out.
Any leftovers of this delish Chili Pasta Salad should be transferred to an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Can I Freeze?
You can freeze this dish, simply transfer everything over to a freezer safe container or freezer safe zip top bag, label it and freeze for 2-3 months.
To thaw this Chili Pasta Salad recipe, just remove the container or bag from the freezer the night before you need it and place it in the fridge to thaw overnight.
You can serve cold, or warm if desired. If you wish to serve it warm, depending on how much is left over, you can reheat it in batches or all together in the microwave, using burst intervals and stirring the pasta salad in between bursts so it heats all the way through.
Can You Make This in Advance?
Absolutely! In fact, this Chili Pasta Bowtie Salad is one of those recipes that it gains more flavor the longer it sits and the seasonings can meld into the other ingredients and pasta even more.
When possible, I like to make this dish a few hours to a day in advance and let it sit stored properly in the refrigerator so the flavors can really infuse together. Make sure to give it a good stir before you serve or warm it though!
Should I Rinse the Pasta for Pasta Salad?
There are varying opinions on this process. Some people say you should rinse your freshly cooked pasta with cold water because it stops the cooking process and also lowers the temperature of the pasta which is especially helpful if you’re wanting to serve this Chili Pasta Salad cold.
However, I don’t see it as a necessary step as I enjoy this pasta salad warm as well.
Rinsing your pasta also rinses off what’s left of the pasta starch that helps the pasta stick together and stick to other things. I find that using warm pasta helps all the “dressing” and other ingredients stick to the Bowtie pasta easier, creating an even more flavorful overall pasta salad.
You decide what feels right to you and try it out.
More Pasta Salads
If you make the recipe, rate it on the recipe card below and tag me on Instagram and use #simplystacie. I like sharing the photos on my Instagram stories!
- 4 cups bowtie pasta, uncooked
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 (14.5oz/540ml) can stewed tomatoes
- 1 (15.5oz/540 ml) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup lime juice
- 1 (1.25oz/35g)package chili seasoning
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and put in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Add in ground beef, onions and green pepper. Cook until beef is browned and vegetables are softened.
- Stir in package of chili seasoning mix. Add in stewed tomatoes and kidney beans and stir together. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and garlic. Add the mixture to the bowtie pasta and stir to combine. Add the chili into the pasta mixture and stir together. Serve warm or chilled.
If you don’t have the chili seasoning mix, use 2 tbsp chili powder, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp oregano instead.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 558Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 656mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 37g