This flavorful pasta salad is full of hearty pasta, fresh vegetables and herbs, and tossed in a homemade dressing. It's an easy recipe that takes just 20 minutes to make!
Whether you're looking for something to bring along to your next cookout or planning your weekly meals, this pasta salad is perfect for so many occasions.
Here's why I love this vegan pasta salad recipe
- Not only is this pasta salad vegan, with one easy swap, it can also be gluten-free!
- This pasta salad is packed with tons of fresh veggies, making it easy to hit your daily vegetable quota.
- This recipe is perfect for meal prepping and great to make ahead of time as it stores well and the flavors meld and increase as time goes on.
Pasta: I prefer to use a smaller pasta like elbows in this recipe.
Olives: You can use black olives or Kalamata olives in this pasta salad.
Basil: I strongly recommend using fresh basil in this recipe for the freshest and best flavors.
Tomatoes: I used cherry tomatoes in this recipe but you can use any type of sweet tomato you love best. If it's a really juicy tomato, I recommend seeding it before adding it to your pasta salad.
Onion: This recipe calls for red onion because of the distinct flavor and beautiful pop of color.
Dressing: The homemade vinaigrette is what brings so much delicious, unique flavor to this recipe and makes this the best vegan pasta salad. If you're running behind on time, you can use a pre-made Italian vinaigrette instead.
See recipe card below for the full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Additions
Make it gluten-free: This vegan pasta salad recipe can also be made gluten-free! All you'll need to do is swap out the pasta for a gluten-free option.
Swapping out vegetables: If you're not a fan of red onion, olives, etc, no worries! The dish might have a slightly different taste but you can swap out any of the vegetables from the original recipe.
If you do take one of the veggies out be sure to add another one in it's place. Or you can add double the amount of a prior ingredient. This will help keep this dish packed with nourishing ingredients and will be equally as fun and exciting to eat as the original.
Use a pre-made dressing. This recipe includes a homemade dressing for your pasta salad. If you're running short on time you can use a pre-made dressing instead.
Make Vegan Tortellini Salad: Simply swap the original pasta with a plant based tortellini instead.
Top Tip: Make this recipe at least 2 hours prior to serving it (or even better, make it the night before). The flavors in this creamy vegan pasta salad meld and get better and better after several hours. Just make sure you're storing it in a covered container in the fridge!
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Start by boiling a large pot of water and cooking the pasta according to package instructions. Gather all of your ingredients and prep them according to the ingredient list.
Step 2: Mix together all of the ingredients for the homemade dressing and set it to the side.
Step 3: Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
Step 4: Toss the pasta salad until it is well mixed and fully coated in the dressing. Serve right away or store it in the fridge for later.
- Make extra dressing: If you're making this recipe in advance I strongly encourage you to make extra dressing and storing it in a separate container. The pasta can soak up more dressing that we would like. It's easy to drizzle a little extra dressing on top before serving.
- Use fresh ingredients: The different fresh vegetables and herbs really make this recipe "pop" and come to life. Make sure you're using extra fresh ingredients in this recipe especially if you're planning to prep it ahead of time.
- Make it ahead of time: When you make this recipe in advance you'll allow the flavors to meld which will make it more flavorful than ever. I recommend at least 2-3 hours in advance.
Some of my favorite occasions to enjoy this recipe:
- Meal prepped lunch or dinner
- Entree or side dish
- Bring along to your next potluck
- Serve at a BBQ or cookout
- Pack it up and bring it along to a picnic
Frequently Asked Questions
Surprisingly, most pastas are already vegan. Many pastas on the grocery store shelves don't contain egg, dairy, or any other animal-based products. Always check the ingredient label to make sure.
Yes, you'll want the pasta to cool off before you make your pasta salad. To expedite the cooling process you can rinse the strained pasta under cool water. Be sure to shake off any excess water.
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Vegan Pasta Salad
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon agave nectar vegan substitute for honey
- 1 tablespoon tahini optional
- ½ pound pasta
- ½ cup cucumbers diced
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup sun dried tomatoes chopped
- ½ cup red onion diced
- ½ cup olives
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- ½ cup dressing
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Once it is fully cooked carefully drain, rinse with cool water to cool, and set it aside.
- While the pasta cooks combine all ingredients for the homemade vinaigrette, mix well and set aside.
- Wash then prep all remaining ingredients according to the ingredient list.
- Combine all ingredients in a large serving bowl, drizzle the dressing on top, then gently toss until well combined and coated in the dressing.