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Smokey Southwestern Pasta Salad

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“Something I whipped up the first time I needed to feed a big crew of people. It's simple, and a slight departure from the other southwestern pasta salads in the use of smoked mozzarella and fire-roasted tomatoes (a blessing that you can now get them diced in cans - saves me firing up the grill). I like to use shell or orecchiette pasta for this as each piece tends to capture some other ingredient inside its curve. As people expect to eat something aside from pasta salad at a meal (why I can't fathom), I try not to blow away anyone's tastebuds with heat. If after tasting you want to accentuate the smokiness and heat, I would use a hint of ground chipotle. To just kick up the heat with some depth but without more smokiness, some ground ancho is the way to go.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain & shock to stop the cooking process.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, zest the lime & reserve zest to one side.
  3. Roll the lime on your counter, placing enough pressure to soften the pulp inside without breaking the lime's skin, then squeeze the juice into a large-sized bowl (something big enough to eventually hold all the ingredients).
  4. Add the olive oil to the lime juice, whisk briefly, then add the cumin, oregano, cilantro & half the lime zest. Whisk thoroughly.
  5. Put all ingredients except the pasta into the bowl & toss to coat. Taste at this point, adding salt, pepper and/or chiles as needed.
  6. Return the cool pasta to its pot. Pour the contents of the bowl over the pasta and stir together to combine.
  7. Pour the pasta mix back into the bowl, sprinkle the remaining lime zest over the top to garnish, then cover & chill until ready to serve.

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