Cilantro & Green Chile Pasta Salad

I know I vowed to be better about pictures and really I am trying but it seems that I just can't get the two going together. Especially when a recipe is from one of those middle of the day panic situations when you need a dish for a potluck in an hour and have no idea what to make. Am I the only one who does that? It would make sense and be understandable if it was a matter of forgetting that you need a dish. But that is never the case with me. What happens is that I start thinking days in advance of what I'm going to bring but I never quite decide. Now, this is embarrassing but I'll share it anyway. I have this psychotic competitive streak when it comes to three make that two things:

1. Potlucks
2. Catch Phrase
3. Anything in which a score is being kept whether officially or just in my head. Since Catch Phrase falls in this category, we'll cross that out and make it 2 things.

Charming I know.

Now because I have this constant Pillsbury Bake Off going in my head that I must win at all costs, I put a lot of pressure on myself. And because I don't ever want it to LOOK like I'm trying to be all psycho competitive, it has to be a regular dish - not some strange concoction with exotic ingredients that people aren't sure if it's a centerpiece or food.

To recap, it has to be the best dish there, not look like the best dish there, blend perfectly with whatever the host is preparing AND I have to arrive on time, dish in hand, calm, cool and collected, clean children and smiling husband in tow. You know that dish that I spent the last hour combing my kitchen for ingredients and then praying that they would cook/cool/set-up in one-fourth the time required by physics and the children I nearly tied to a chair so I could concentrate and the husband that I begged to go to the store for just one little thing I needed and then called him in the check-out line and needed 8 more things.... All of these things must come together and look happy and be delicious. It's exhausting just writing about it! Anyway, enough about all of that. Here's the recipe.

Cilantro & Green Chile Pasta Salad
Recipe by Michelle's Dinner Bell

Ranch dressing mix
1 cup sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbs chopped green chiles (I use about one-half of the 4 oz can by Ortega - substitute jalapenos for a spicier dressing)
juice of one lime

1 lb spiral pasta, cooked in boiling salted water for 7-8 minutes, drained and rinsed
1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and then into half-circles
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
14 oz can olives, drained
14 oz can black beans, drained
1 cup cheddar and/or jack cheese, small diced
1 cup tortilla chips, crumbled

Combine salad dressing ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Combine salad ingredients and toss with dressing. Sprinkle with crumbled tortilla chips to serve.


  1. Yum!! I actually think that 50-75% of my family will eat this!! I think it sounds DELICIOUS and will DEFINITELY be making this before the week is out!! I LOVE cilantro....

    And thanks for the laughs!!!

  2. 75% of your family! Unheard of in this house unless it is pepperoni pizza, Anonymous! I say give it a try and let me know what they think. Throw on some chicken and it's a meal!


  3. I also love Catch Phrase. And I didn't know I was competitive until a COLLEGE PROFESSOR told me!! But, boy, am I.

    (Visiting from BBC. And I like your simple pictures.)

  4. Thanks Annette! It is the best game ever, until someone gets hurt.

    Thanks for the visit and the compliment.

  5. I'm going to make this today but me and my 2 year old will be the only ones eating it so I was wondering how it is left over or if I should try to half the recipe?? Looks delicious and I've been looking for a good way to use up my cilantro!

  6. Hello Anonymous! It is delicious leftover. It keeps very well because there is nothing in the salad that wilts. Just don't mix in the tortilla strips if you're using them - put them on each individual serving.

    Let me know how you like it!