Mexican Macaroni Salad

It's always a little alarming, coming back home from a trip in a completely different month and season than you left it. Ever since being back from California, it has been full of summer vibes here in NYC. Summer clothing, weddings, sunglasses galore, and plans made for rooftop parties, beach days, and summer getaways.

I loved being in California so much and can't wait to share more details about the trip beyond the photo sneak peek I posted yesterday! One thing that I keep mentioning to my friends when telling them about this trip is how much I looooved the food in California. Everywhere from San Francisco to LA, the food was just so incredibly fresh, simple, and full of flavor.

Much of this is completely attributed to the ridiculous amount of wonderful produce they have access to for affordable prices. On the drive down the coast, I spotted multiple signs for 10 AVOCADOS FOR $1. I write this in all caps because I was in such disbelief, jealousy, and experiencing an urgent need to immediately move to California.

Ever since I came home, I've been craving the fresh crunch of produce and the flavor of summer. I made this Mexican Macaroni Salad with Banza awhile back, but I realized I never shared it with you guys-- so, I'm using this post for this week's Wellness Wednesday stand-in because it's so light, fresh, and healthy. Reminder, this Banza pasta has 14g of protein per serving and is gluten-free, so it ain't your ordinary carb-bust pasta!

I recreated this last week to satisfy my craving, and it was oh so perfect. The fresh zingy crunch of the red onion and spiciness of the jalapeño go so perfectly with the creaminess of the avocado and hearty black beans. It's all tossed in an easy light olive oil and lemon juice combination to keep things light and summery.

This simple and quick recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner, or I personally love making a big batch of it because this keeps so well in the fridge to take in a container for lunch the next day or two. Aaaand I just got the idea to bring this to a summer picnic in Central Park, so I'll be doing that one of these sunny weekends for sure. 

Mexican Macaroni Salad

Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free
*Serves 5-6

Ingredients

1 box Banza Elbows
1 cup Corn
1 cup Black Beans
3-4 Vine Tomatoes (or whatever tomatoes you want!), diced
½ Medium Red Onion, diced
1 small Jalapeño, diced/seeds removed
1 Avocado, cubed
~4-5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
Salt, to taste
*black pepper, to taste, optional

Recipe

1. As per pasta packaging instructions, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add Banza macaroni in and reduce heat a bit until it reaches a low boil. Cook for 4-6 minutes, then drain and rinse macaroni immediately with lukewarm water. Drain completely and pour pasta in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add all veggies except for Avocado to the mixing bowl with pasta. Using a spatula, mix to combine.

3. In a separate small bowl, whisk lemon juice while slowly drizzling in olive oil to emulsify. Add garlic powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper if you wish.

4. Pour dressing over pasta salad and mix to combine. Lastly, add cubed avocado in and incorporate.