Fiesta Pasta with Avocado, Cojita, Salsa & Pepitas

by Marla on April 29, 2010 · 32 comments

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whole wheat pasta dish, healthy and light meal Family Fresh CookingWhat’s not to love about  a quick and easy pasta salad? I had so much fun creating a pasta dish with a Mexican twist. Salsa, avocado, hot sauce and Cojita cheese give this a fun flair beyond classic picnic pasta salads.

bright spring colors for Cinco de Mayo party

I was curious about the meaning of Cinco de Mayo. Here is a definition “The history and significance of Cinco De Mayo (5th of May), which commemorates the victory of the Mexican Militia over the French Army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862.”

Healthy, Delicious Party Food. Share with friends

If you are celebrating and entertaining a crowd for Cinco de Mayo or anytime, you will love this recipe. It is simple to prepare, very healthy and full of flavor. You can make as much or as little as you need.  The measurements do not have to be precise.  You add what you want and can easily make adaptations. It can be served at room temperature so it is great for outdoor BBQ’s, picnics, etc.

Fiesta Pasta with Avocado, Cojita, Salsa & Pepitas recipe

My goal with this recipe was to celebrate the Avocado, tying back to the event I attended at Ciudad-LA last weekend. My whole family loved this pasta and I hope you will too.

Fiesta Pasta with Avocado, Cojita, Salsa & Pepitas recipe

If you are celebrating with adults may I recommend a fruity margarita? What do you like to cook up for this fun holiday?

Fiesta Pasta with Avocado, Cojita, Salsa & Pepitas

Serves 4 (simple to adapt for smaller or larger crowds)


  • 1/2 pound cooked Whole Wheat Pasta or gluten free pasta
  • a few large peeled & cubed California Avocados
  • good fruity Olive Oil (I like Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, Cilantro Oil would be great too.)
  • a handful crumbled Cojita Cheese (I like Feta too)
  • a handful of roasted Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
  • a handful of chopped fresh Cilantro
  • juice from 1 lime
  • sliced Cherry Tomatoes (I used mini Heirloom Tomatoes)
  • a handful of chopped Green Onions
  • Salsa
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Garlic Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Optional: kick up the heat with your favorite Hot Sauce


Cook your pasta. Drain and toss with some olive oil. Lightly spray or coat a small skillet with olive oil. Heat on medium heat. Add pepitas, season with some garlic salt and smoked paprika. Toast pepitas in a skillet for a few minutes until fragrant. Stir frequently and watch carefully so they do not burn. Remove pepitas from heat and allow to cool a bit. In a medium bowl, gently toss pasta with 1/2 of your cheese, pepitas, chopped avocados, cilantro and tomatoes. Also add a dash of black pepper, lime juice, smoked paprika and salt if needed.

When serving top pasta with salsa, more feta, the remainder of the avocado, pepitas & tomatoes.  Sprinkle some cilantro and additional seasonings if desired. Best served at room temperature or slightly chilled.

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Add your favorite lean protein for a full & well balanced meal.  Anything from tofu to chicken breast to sirloin.  Each choice would be yummy either placed on top or tossed into this pasta.



{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria April 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Avocados are on sale this week, yahoo! I will stock up so I can make your salad. It looks wonderful!


2 Nicole, RD April 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm

YUM! That’s just about all my favorite foods in one dish, and combined in a way I would’ve never thought it. As always, beautiful and brilliant, Marla!


3 Rosa April 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Very party-like! That pasta dish makes my mouth water!




4 Jessica @ Healthy Exposures April 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm

I think if anything’s going to make me like avocado – this will be it!! Looks delicious, as always, Marla :) And thanks for the background tidbits on cinco de mayo, too!


5 LilSis April 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm

This festive pasta is full of some of my most favorite ingredients! I can’t wait to try it!! I could eat an entire bowl of just feta cheese, avocados, and heirloom tomatoes, even without the pasta! Nice recipe and gorgeous photos!


6 FoodFitnessFreshair April 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

This sounds great, and looks beautiful! I forgot about Cinco De Mayo…this is a good reminder that I should celebrate and cook for my friends. I’ll definitely be adding the hot sauce to this hot dish!


7 Fuji Mama April 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Looks fabulous Marla! Sounds like you a good time last week–I was bummed I had to miss it!!


8 Faith April 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Your pictures are so pretty, Marla! Those tomatoes look like little jewels…and that cup is gorgeous! A pasta party really sounds perfect for Cinco de Mayo!


9 Esi April 29, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I was so bummed to be out of town and miss this event! The salad looks gorgeous.


10 sweetlife April 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Any salad with avocados is superb to me, then adding my pepitas..cute bowls



11 Cherine April 30, 2010 at 12:10 am

This sounds delicious! Love the combination and the flavors!


12 grace April 30, 2010 at 3:18 am

it seems to me that there are very few foods more pretty than heirloom tomatoes. not only is this dish beautiful, but it must taste amazing! great recipe, marla. :)


13 Blond Duck April 30, 2010 at 3:40 am

This is my kind of pasta!


14 Carrie @ Deliciously Organic April 30, 2010 at 6:16 am

This looks amazing! Glad you had such a fantastic time last weekend! Beautiful pics!


15 Cara April 30, 2010 at 7:02 am

Sounds delicious, I love the flavors and I have to confess I go ga-ga over pretty multicolored tomatoes like those :)


16 Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather April 30, 2010 at 9:21 am

Marla this sounds absolutely delicious! Definately one I am going to try for Jacob and I. I made a batch of your PB Maple cookies last night (modified a bit) and they were a hit!


17 Liesl Hypki April 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Loved your post here! And the recipe looks fabulous, I will have to try it sometime.
My husband and I actually live in Mexico, about 4 hours south of Juarez. We love it here! There is so much fresh produce, including avocados that is SO cheap.
Love you blog!


18 A Canadian Foodie April 30, 2010 at 3:17 pm

This would be delicious. It is incredibly different than the “usual” spaghetti flavour profiles. Love avocado… pumpkin seed oil would be great with this, too. I find myself consistently attracted to strong fresh bold flavours – and they are all right here in this bowl. The seeds would be a great texture taste addition. Love it.
PS – avocados in Edmonton AB are expensive :) (just a reference to Liesl’s comment)


19 marla May 1, 2010 at 4:41 am

Ohhhh, pumpkin seed oil. Great idea Valerie. I have never seen that, but now I will look for it. xo


20 angie April 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Avocados are fruits of the Gods and you are a goddess. If that tastes as good as those photos are , I will be in heaven. With your recipes, that is a guarantee!


21 Christine @ Fresh Local and Best May 1, 2010 at 1:20 pm

The pasta looks so festive and refreshing. I love avocados and the best ones grow in Southern California.


22 Gaby May 1, 2010 at 6:04 pm

this looks like it has my name all over it…. I could eat this for breakfast lunch and dinner on a daily basis! I am an avocado fanatic… lets plan an avocado pot luck with all the girls asap!


23 tasteofbeirut May 2, 2010 at 7:35 am

Looks so good! That’s the kind of pasta I would go for, with that southwestern twist!


24 Cooking with Coley May 2, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Love a recommendation other than the typical nachos and fajitas so many will be feasting on this Wednesday. Not only healthy, but it’s creative and looks delicious!


25 Chef Dennis May 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm

those are beautiful heirloom tomatoes….what a great pasta dish
thanks for sharing!


26 Daniel@ The Food Addicts May 6, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Those are some great looking tomatoes. Cheers!


27 sippitysup May 5, 2011 at 9:42 am

This is the Hass’ “sweet” time of the year! GREG


28 HeatherChristo May 5, 2011 at 11:42 am

this looks so good to me! love all of the ingredients in this!


29 Shaina May 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I’m in love with this mix of pasta and all my favorite Mexican flavors and ingredients. What a fun meal for Cinco de Mayo!


30 Megan May 9, 2011 at 6:40 am

That bowl of tomatoes is teasing me. I cant wait to get some vine ripened tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market. And this salad looks like a perfect way to use them. Very nice!. .


31 Aggie May 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

What a beautiful plate of food!!


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