This post was sponsored by Sweet Earth Natural Foods. I only work with brands whose products and missions I truly believe in. Thanks for supporting my blog!
Mexican food. We all love it, right? If not, we can’t be friends.Obviously kidding. But seriously – who doesn’t love good ole beans, rice, salsa, guac, and spice? And margaritas, if you’re up for a little party. 💃
Good news – you don’t have to go to your favorite Mexican restaurant for a real good dinner. This creamy Mexican pasta salad is like a fiesta in a bowl. Arriba!
I’m a big fan of pasta salad. First off, I’m a big fan of pasta in general. Carb-y goodness drowning in any kind of sauce you can imagine – tomato sauce, avocado pesto, cashew chipotle👇, whatever your heart desires. Plus, it’s a “throw-it-in-one-bowl-and-call-it-dinner” type thing. Those are my favorite kinds of meals! I know you love them too.
I remember when I hated pasta sauce. YES, I said it. I liked my spaghetti plain – plain as in no tomato sauce, but smothered in butter and Parmesan cheese. Let’s just said we had some rather unhealthy options at my grandmother’s house (love you, MawMaw – and all the donuts you gave us).
Then I remember a time when I wouldn’t let myself eat pasta at all. Heck, there were multiple times I gave up pasta. No pasta, no bread, no rice, scared of fruit. Ugh. ‘Twas a sad life. We’re really the only culture that restricts carbs like that. Think about it – the Chinese eat lots of rice, the Italians slurp on pasta all day, and we even named a bread after the French – French bread. Yet, we’re probably the unhealthiest.
Why is a culture so fixated on nutrition, what to eat, and what NOT to eat so unhealthy? Why are the Italians not getting unhealthy from all of the carbs they eat? Where did we go wrong?
I think the reason for this is mindfulness. Now, I’m no expert on mindful eating – I am working on enjoying meals without a technological distraction – but I definitely recognize that we as Americans have lost the art of eating. When other cultures come to the eat, it’s not just about the food; rather, it’s about the people around the table. They’re savoring each bite of food mindfully, but they get most of the pleasure from being with people that they love. Meal time is something to be experienced rather than rushed through
We’re a little bit different. We are running from A to B to Z in 30 minutes and picking up the kids from school and working 9-5 and trying to work out and looking for the quickest thing to eat. We shovel it down in 0.4 second because we have to move on to the next thing. We’re not sitting down and paying attention to the food – we’re mindlessly consuming. That could be said about a lot of other areas besides food, but that’s a different conversation.
People wouldn’t feel the need to give up pasta or bread or even French fries if we actually sat down with our plate of pasta, without distraction, and savored every bite. We wouldn’t be sitting in front of the T.V. mindlessly grabbing bowl after bowl of pasta or whatever it may be without even paying attention to how we feel.
I know most of us don’t have 30 minutes per meal to sit down without distractions. Sometimes I don’t. But try to set aside just a couple minutes to try enjoy your food, every bite, and recognize how it makes you feel. And find your pleasure not in the food, but in the people you’re sharing it with.
All that said, please enjoy pasta. It’s freaking delicious. But like everything else, enjoy it mindfully. You can appreciate the taste more!
Okay, I’ve rambled too much. Onto Mexican pasta salad, because it’s been making me dance around the kitchen for the last week every time I make a bowl. Normal? Maybe.
This bowl has got some stellar ingredients, like pasta (I used chickpea pasta), beans, corn, bell peppers (from my mom’s garden! heyyy!), and a creamy cashew chipotle sauce that you’ll want to bathe in. Oh, and because I needed some crunchy goodness, I cooked up some of Sweet Earth Foods’ Benevolent Bacon and HOLY ISH this stuff is the real deal. No lie! It’s super easy to make – just cook it for a couple minutes on each side in a lightly oiled skillet, and bam! Crispy vegan bacon that’s the perfect complement to this pasta salad. I can’t wait to make some breakfast recipes with this stuff!
I found my Benevolent Bacon at Whole Foods, but you can use their store locator to find some bacon close to you! I also love their savory grounds (remember this butternut squash pizza?). Plus, you can get a coupon on their website! Ya girl LOVES coupons. #cheapAF
The best thing about this Mexican pasta salad is that it’s done in 30 minutes (!!!), and I know you guys love easy, healthy recipes that you can make quickly. This one fits the bill! It’s the perfect healthy meal to add to your 2017 Healthy Meals list – you know, if you have one of those…
So this is a reminder that yes, you can cook your pasta and eat it, too. Be mindful. Eat healthy. Be happy. Share the love. Mottos for 2017!
Creamy Vegan Mexican Pasta Salad
This Creamy Vegan Mexican Pasta Salad is packed with spicy flavor, vegetables and healthy fats to satisfy you at meal time. Only 30 minutes of prep time!
- 10 ounces whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta
- 5 slices Sweet Earth Natural Foods Benevolent Bacon
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight or at least 4 hours*
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 garlic cloves (1 teaspoon minced)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup corn (defrosted if frozen)
- 1 large bell pepper, diced
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
- In a skillet or cast iron pan, lightly grease with oil. Over medium heat, add 5 slices of Benevolent Bacon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip. Remove from heat. When cool, break into small pieces. Set aside.
- To a blender or food processor, add cashews, salsa, milk, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper, if needed.
- In a large bowl, add pasta, black beans, corn, bell pepper, and bacon pieces. Pour the cashew dressing on top; stir to combine until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
*If you didn’t soak your cashews, add them to a small pot, cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes.
**If making ahead of time, keep the bacon pieces on the side until serving so they don’t get soggy.
Thanks to Sweet Earth Natural Foods for sponsoring this post! I love working with brands whose products I really love and would honestly recommend. Thank you for supporting this blog that I love oh-so-much so I can bring you delicious recipes!