Vegan Pasta Salad

This vegan pasta salad recipe is going to be your new go-to for parties, potlucks, and picnics! The flavors are out of this world delicious!
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Vegan pasta salad on a serving plate.
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Pasta salad is an amazing meal when you’re making food for a lot of people. Whether it’s for a party, potluck, picnic, an everyday family dinner, or you just want to meal prep for the week, this versatile vegan pasta salad is sure to become one of your new go-to recipes.

The dressing for this pasta is a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette with fresh herbs and spices to give a bold flavor. This dish is screaming with flavors of spring and summer and it’s guaranteed to be a hit at your next picnic.

This would also be a really fun recipe for camping because it stores really well and can easily be made ahead of time. Warm summer nights by the lake with some delicious vegan pasta salad? Yes, please!

Vegan pasta salad with noodles, cherry tomatoes, olives, cucumber, and bell peppers tossed in dressing.

Why You Should Make This Vegan Pasta Salad Recipe

  • Quick & Easy: This recipe is a breeze to whip up, making it perfect for busy weeknights or last-minute gatherings. Boil the pasta while preparing the other ingredients (or try this adorable bunny pasta from Pastabilities that’s perfect for celebrating a vegan Easter), toss everything together, and it’s ready to serve in no time.
  • Enhanced Flavor: While you can serve it immediately, allowing the pasta salad to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours intensifies the flavors, making it even more delicious. However, if you simply can’t wait, we won’t blame you for diving right in!
  • Versatile Pairings: This pasta salad pairs beautifully with a variety of spring and summer dishes, such as corn on the cob, veggie burgers, roasted veggie skewers, or jackfruit tostadas. For a Mediterranean-inspired meal, serve alongside crispy baked falafels, pita bread, oil-free hummus, and tabbouleh.
  • Perfect for Vegan Meal Prep: Ideal for meal prepping, this pasta salad can be made ahead of time and portioned into glass meal prep containers for convenient lunches throughout the week. It travels well and stays fresh in the fridge, making it a go-to option for on-the-go meals.
  • Ideal for Hot Weather: If you’re making this meal in the spring or summertime, you’ll love that you don’t need to turn on the oven for it. We love recipes like this that allow you to keep your home nice and cool when it’s just too hot to cook. Raw veggies for the win! 

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Gathered ingredients for vegan pasta salad organized into individual bowls with labels.
  • Pasta: Use your favorite short variety of vegan pasta, such as macaroni, penne, fusilli, or rotini. Feel free to use a gluten-free pasta option as needed.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Opt for ripe cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes and halve or quarter them, depending on their size, to ensure they distribute evenly throughout the salad.
  • Cucumber: Choose a fresh cucumber and dice it into small, bite-sized chunks. English cucumbers work well for this recipe since they have fewer seeds.
  • Kalamata olives: Look for pitted kalamata olives, as they add a briny and savory flavor to the salad. Slice them into rounds or halves, depending on your preference.
  • Green bell pepper: Dice the green bell pepper into small chunks to add a crunchy texture and mild flavor to the salad.
  • Red onion: Finely chop or thinly slice the red onion for a subtle bite of flavor. You can soak the sliced onion in cold water for a few minutes to mellow out its sharpness, if desired.
  • Fresh parsley and basil: Finely chop fresh parsley and basil to add a burst of flavor that complements the other ingredients beautifully.
  • Dressing: Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder to create a tangy and flavorful dressing.

For exact measurements, check out the recipe card below.

Vegetable Variations

You’ll find some seriously delicious fresh veggies in this vegan pasta salad recipe—but don’t hesitate to go off-book and mix it up based on what you’ve got on hand.

We’ve included sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, tangy red onion, crispy bell pepper, and kalamata olives. You can completely omit the olives if they’re not your thing, but we highly recommend them because it makes the salad extra special. Feel free to add any other veggies you love!

Other great pasta salad add-ins:

  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Fresh dill

How To Make Vegan Pasta Salad

It’s so quick to make vegan pasta salad—you can have this ready in just 8 minutes!

Step 1: Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Once it’s fully cooked, drain and rinse the pasta with cold water. Toss it with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

Step 2: While your pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Vegan pasta salad dressing mixed in a small bowl.

Step 3: Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, along with the pasta, and toss to combine.

Ingredients for this vegan pasta salad recipe added to a large bowl.
The vegan pasta salad ingredients all mixed together in a large mixing bowl.

Step 4: You can definitely serve it right away, but we highly suggest leaving it in the fridge for a couple of hours if you can, both to chill and also allow the flavors to intensify. But we certainly won’t blame you if you just can’t wait! 

Once the vegan pasta salad is assembled, chill it in the fridge until serving. Make sure to cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let it chill for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor.

Storing Vegan Pasta Salad

Store leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This is a great meal prep lunch since it can last all week long! Add more dressing or oil as needed and give it a good stir before serving.

Vegan cold pasta salad on a serving platter with a serving spoon and fork.

FAQ’s

Can this vegan pasta salad be made gluten-free?

Absolutely! Use any of your favorite vegan gluten-free pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Should you rinse pasta for cold pasta salad?

Typically, you don’t rinse pasta since the starch helps the sauce adhere to the pasta. However, when it comes to cold pasta salads, you want to rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent the noodles from clumping together. Adding a little oil also helps prevent the clumping.

Vegan pasta salad in a serving dish.

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Super-Easy Vegan Pasta Salad

5 from 6 votes
A delicious vegan pasta salad with amazing Mediterranean flavors! You’ll love this recipe that is ready in 20 minutes or less. Perfect for gatherings, picnics, and potlucks!
Vegan pasta salad on a serving plate.
Prep Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

Pasta Salad

  • 16 ounces pasta
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ¾ cup cucumber, diced into small chunks
  • ¾ cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, diced into small chunks
  • ½ cup red onion, finely chopped or thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

Dressing

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons +1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Begin by boiling the pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and rinse it with cold water. Mix in a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking. If you’re using the Pastabilties bunny pasta, keep the boil low, be sure not to overcook, and be gentle while mixing ingredients together. This will help maintain the adorable bunny shape!
  • In the meantime, add all of the dressing ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. 
  • Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the bowl along with the pasta and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste as needed. 
  • Chill the pasta salad in the fridge until serving. Feel free to let it sit in the fridge for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to intensify. 

Notes

You’re welcome to double this recipe if you’re serving it at a big gathering. This recipe serves around 6 people or more. But trust us, your friends and family are going to gobble it up and want seconds, so make plenty! 

Nutrition

Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 760mg | Potassium: 307mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 487IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
Course — Salad
Cuisine — Mediterranean
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Vegan pasta salad recipe by Kathy Chrzaszcz for WorldofVegan.com.

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Recipe Rating




7 comments
  1. 5 stars
    Made this for a family party and everyone loved it!! Most people weren’t vegan and didn’t even question it 🙂

  2. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    Another childhood favorite! There’s something about this dish that screams family and being together with loved ones. That’s one fo the main reasons I love pasta salad and the yumminess and simplicity of it. For the Mama’s out there, this is a great way to sneak some veggies in 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I make this pasta salad all the time! So, so good. Sometime I mix it up depending on what fresh ingredients I have on hand, especially in these pandemic times. Last time I used the dinosaur pasta from Pastabilities which was really fun too!

  4. 5 stars
    The BEST pasta salad recipe! The dressing itself is just *amazing* – I might make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge at all times. The pasta is adorable (I almost hated eating them! But, it was kinda fun, too…like eating the heads off of Sour Patch Kids – am I crazy?) and the texture is terrific for this chilled salad. My favorite additions so far have been chopped cherry tomatoes, red onion, green onions, thinly sliced sugar snap peas, corn, cucumber and red kidney beans (or chickpeas). I think I enjoyed it even more the day after super cold. I can’t wait to bring this to my family’s summer brunch 😀

  5. Joan Taylor Cehn says:

    We love this pasta salad… I get creative and chop up all kinds of fresh veggies into the pasta. This makes a light and summery lunch or dinner. It’s become a regular menu item at our house!

    • 5 stars
      Looks amazing! I can’t wait to try this one. Also, love your photos!

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