Red lentil noodles give extra color to this festive pasta salad, which borrows its zesty flavors from fajitas, a Tex-Mex dish of grilled veggies, savory spices, and fresh herbs served on warm tortillas. Sweet corn, bell peppers, poblano chiles, and onions are grilled to tender perfection and sliced into fajita-style strips before joining the pasta. A spicy lime vinaigrette is drizzled over the eye-catching jumble to pack each forkful with powerful flavors, while pinto beans and juicy tomatoes are added for extra substance. After divvying up the pasta salad into bowls, top each portion with slices of creamy avocado and crunchy pepitas to get the full Southwestern experience.

For more unique pasta salad recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Ellen Boeke,


  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium fajita seasoning, such as Simply Organic brand
  • 1 8.8-oz. package dry red lentil penne pasta
  • 4 ears fresh sweet corn, husks and silks removed
  • 2 orange bell peppers
  • 2 fresh poblano chiles
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas
  • Lime wedges


  • For Lime Vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together lime juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, fajita seasoning, and 3 tablespoons water. Set aside.
  • Cook penne according to package directions; drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Grill the next four ingredients (through onion), covered, over medium 8 to 10 minutes or until corn is tender and browned in places, turning occasionally. Cool vegetables 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Cut corn off cobs in planks. Remove stems and seeds from bell peppers and poblano chiles, peeling poblanos if desired. Cut peppers and chiles into strips. Quarter onion slices.
  • Meanwhile, add beans, tomatoes, and cilantro to bowl with penne. Add grilled vegetables and Lime Vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. When ready to serve, let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Top salad with avocado and pepitas. Serve with lime wedges.

Comments (3)

(5 from 1 vote)

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Want to try this as I love red lentil pasta and fajitas! Because I dont want to run to the store, I will try a super easy, super google-able fajita seasoning recipe from to use in this. Thanks! Love these healthy meals.


Fajita seasoning??? no links, no recipe, no suggestions, no description?? This is CORE OF RECIPE! Exceedingly disappointed in recipe. Anyone can write a recipe using a pre made unidentified seasoning...

Megan Edwards

Hi Cynthia, Low-sodium fajita seasoning can be found amongst the packet spices in most large grocery stores, it's similar to the pre-mixed packets of taco seasoning. We recommend the Simply Organic brand and have changed the listing in the ingredient list to make it easier for future readers to find. Hope this helps and you can give the recipe a try!

About the Author

Ellen Boeke headshot

About the Author

Ellen Boeke

Ellen Boeke has more than 25 years of experience as a recipe developer and food editor. She holds Bachelor's of Science degrees in consumer food science and journalism from Iowa State University and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. Find her on LinkedIn.
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