Pasta salad has always been one of my favorite picnic meals because it’s delicious, portable, and easy to serve. Plus the bow-tie noodles are totally cute. It also happens to be one of my favorite ways to use fresh dill and oregano straight from the garden. The robust punch of these herbs blended with a creamy base really carries the dressing all the way to flavor town, while the par-cooked vegetables provide the perfect amount of crunch. Throw in super-ripe cherry tomatoes to give the salad a juicy sweetness and beautiful pop of color. It’s the perfect crowd-pleaser to bring to any party or picnic. You’ll love this Fresh Picnic Pasta Salad!
Creamy Oregano Dill Dressing
- 1½ cups of vegan mayo
- ½ cup of finely chopped fresh oregano
- ½ cup of finely chopped fresh dill
- 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove minced (use a garlic press or microplane)
- ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper (or to taste)
- a dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 pound of bow-tie or squiggly pasta
- 3 cups of bite-size pieces Broccolini (about 1 bunch)
- 2 cups of bite-size pieces peeled carrots
- ½ cup of frozen peas
- 1 small red bell pepper chopped
- 1 large cucumber peeled and chopped
- ½ cup of diced red onion
- 2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- ½ cup of high-quality pitted green olives sliced
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Chopped fresh oregano and dill (for garnish)
- Make the vegan dressing: In a bowl, whisk together the mayo, oregano, dill, lemon juice, vinegar, nutritional yeast, garlic, sugar, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
- Make the pasta salad: Fill a large bowl with ice and a little water to make an ice bath. This is to shock the vegetables, locking in their color and retaining their crunch, while also cooling down the pasta for the dressing.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 7 minutes. Try a piece. When it feels close to being done, needing about 1 more minute, toss in the Broccolini, carrots, and peas. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, until the pasta, is done. Drain and transfer to the ice bath.
- Once cooled, transfer the pasta/vegetables back to the colander and drain thoroughly. Excess water will dilute the dressing, which is a no-go, people.
- In a large bowl, toss together the dressing, drained pasta/ vegetable mixture, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, and olives. Mix well. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with the fresh dill and oregano. Serve.
You can make this pasta salad the day before (or even two days before), as it keeps well in the fridge. Some might say it’s even better the next day. For serving at a picnic, try using Chinese-food takeout containers and chopsticks.
Keywords: pasta salad, picnic food, vegan salad, vegan pasta