Friday, 14 May 2010

Jalapeños, coriander and avocado pasta salad

I was drooling over fellow bloggers Mexican inspired vegetarian dishes, such as Barbaras tempeh stuffed rellenos, Morgan's Black bean Tacos and Dee's Mexican feast, it wasn't all vegetarian, but gosh I'd love to have been sitting at her table. These dishes were all created in recognition of the Mexican holiday known as Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de mayo is celebrated on the 5th of May. It commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1867. It is primarily a Mexican holiday, but is celebrated in some U.S cities that hosts large Mexican communities. I too suddenly felt the urge of wanting to participate and was greedily looking for an invitation, albeit through food. Then as if by magic the invitation came in the form of a monthly blog event. This months No Croutons Required challenge is to create a Mexican inspired soup or salad. I was originally going to make a soup, but with both the weather changing and me getting into the holiday spirit literally. I decided on a light salad.

For inspiration I flicked through my small collection of Mexican cookbooks. One of which was Café Pasqual’s cookbook: Spirited Recipes from Santa Fe. I picked up this Mexican cookbook a few years ago from the charity bookshop Oxfam. I have to admit I was completely enticed by the colourful images, ironically not of the dishes. Some of the pictures would surely make my young nephews heart race. The women are certainly sultry and exquisite just like a 1950s movie star.

Anyway, back to food. I don’t know about you, but in my culinary naivety, I was of the impression that staple Mexican ingredients were limited to masa harina, beans and rice. I was quite surprised to learn that pasta was a popular ingredient in the Mexican kitchen too. Pastas and rice are often classed together as sopas secas, or ‘dry soups’ and can be served as a separate course after a brothy soup.
I came across a recipe that intrigued me, not from any of the cookbooks I own, but on the internet called Codios con salsa: Pasta salad with jalapeno vinaigrette. It appealed to me for two reasons. Firstly, the flavours: jalapeno, coriander, spring onions, lime and avocados. Secondly, I had most of the ingredients already, including the key Mexican ingredient of jalapeños en escabeche. Jalapeños en escabeche: marinated jalapeño chiilies are so popular that jars can be found in kitchens, just like mine.
This is such a straightforward recipe and one I would encourage you to make, especially if you like food bursting with flavour. The soft buttery texture of the avocado, the twang of the lime, the warm heat of the Jalapeños and the scent and flavour of coriander. It is so, So good - Have I raved enough about it!?. You even can make it a day or two in advance, in which case don't add the avocado until you are ready to serve the dish. This months No Croutons Required is being hosted by Lisa of Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen. So please do go by and check out the other entries on the 21st - 31st May. You get a chance to vote for the winning dish. Even better why don't you enter a Mexican inspired soup or salad of your own, you still have time.
Jalapeños, Coriander and Avocado pasta saladServes 4-6 as a side dish
Ingredients:250g elbow macaroni, cooked, drained and cooled
100ml olive oil
2-3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 firm, ripe avocado, sliced or cut into cubes
4- 6 spring onions, green part included, coarsely chopped
4- 6 tablespoons of marinated jalapeños, chopped, with liquid to taste
10 - 15g finely chopped coriander leaves
Juice of one medium lime
Salt and pepper to taste
In a wide pan, sauté the garlic briefly in the olive oil; do not let it turn brown. Combine the avocado, onion, chillies, coriander and lime in a serving bowl. Add the sauteéd garlic and olive oil from the pan, and gently combine dressing ingredients. Add the pasta and toss to combine it with the dressing. Inspired and adapted from Karen Hursh Graber. The original recipe can be found here.
I served it with a corn and red pepper salsa that included coriander, white wine vinegar, spring onions and an incy wincy bit of dried red chilli. If you like the look of these, please do check out my other Mexican Inspired food.


  1. That's true, we don't often associate pasta with Mexican cuisine, but this sounds like such a fantastic and fresh flavor combination; perfect for this time of year. I think I'll be making this soon. The corn salsa is also beautiful. It's so fun to read your blog; you come up with the coolest ideas.

  2. I really like the sound of your dish Mangocheeks. I didn't realise that pasta was popular in mexican dishes either, but I am loving avocado just now, so this is perfect :)

  3. Ooooooooooh YUM!!!! I wanted to right something long and witty, but I think that about sums it up!

  4. Well...
    I DO love food bursting with flavor, so I guess I must make this!

  5. That is one beautiful meal, Mango. Viva, Cinco de Mayo! I'm coming over for dinner with a six-pack of Dos Equis. :)

  6. wow I didn't know that pasta was part of mexican cuisine - this salad sounds amazing

  7. I am totally craving Mexican food now after seeing all these posts on Mexican dishes including your fantastic salad. It looks so simple and delicious, and since I LOVE food bursting with flavor, I am sure I would love this salad. Beautiful plating too!

  8. I love these recipes! And the book author's name is cool too (My name in French class was Pascal so I have a special connection there). Great recipes and pics!

  9. Your pasta salad looks really good. It is a nice change from the typical pasta salad. I really don't think that you can go wrong when it comes to avocados and jalapenos. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  10. Oh Rose,
    Your so kind to me. I find inspiration from other fellow bloggers, as well as cookbooks and just put my own little tweak to them.
    I do hope you enjoy this when you make it. It so much tastier a day later.

    Thank you so much Mama. Your comment means a lot.

    Thanks Jacqueline. I too am looking forward to enjoying the avocado, rich as it is.

    Morgan - You must!!!

  11. Barbara.
    A six pack of Dos Equis. Oh I am curious. Come on over right away.

    Thank you Johanna.
    It really is flavourful.

  12. Thank you msmeanie.

    Thank you for coming by Pasca -sorry I mean Marly. I am glad you like.

    Thank you Kristin. the avocado in the pasta was new to me, a good introduction.

  13. Oh! yum those dishes do look very tasty and golly I love me some Mexican food, time to challenge myself and try to cook more Mexican dishes.

  14. Thanks so much for your submission. I wish I had this right now for dinner.

  15. Oh freaky...I just came back from Santa Fe and blogged about Cafe Pasquale's and their cookbook. We ate there twice - it was divine! I completely fell in love with New Mexican food.

    Can't wait to see more pics of Greece!

  16. That pasta salad looks wonderful!! I'm actually looking for a summer pasta salad recipe that's not all mayonaise-y, and this is a perfect solution. Definitely going to make it for a Central Park picnic. Great blog, btw!!


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