Salad is the perfect dish for summers. As the sun dazzles down and the temperature rises, you crave for something that is not only fulfilling but refreshing as well. In such a situation, the best option you can get is having a bowl of cold and delicious salad waiting for you to dig in. You might have tried various types of salads, but this pasta salad recipe is the best one out there.
Vegan Italian Pasta Salad
This vegan pasta salad recipe with Italian dressing is super delicious. It is a vegan and dairy-free pasta salad that is the perfect choice for you if you are vegan. And even if you are not, it is still full of nutritional benefits and utterly delicious.
Jam-packed with flavor, this pasta salad is vibrant, tasteful, and a perfect treat for your lunch and parties. Give yourself a healthy treat with this refreshing and flavorsome salad.
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It’s coming to the end of summer and time to get ready for your Labor Day weekend cookout. This Vegan Italian Pasta Salad is easy to prepare and it’s the kind of side dish that can pretty much go with most dishes.
It tastes delicious as is but you can add your favorite protein to take it to another level. I have added baked tofu, vegan mozzarella, and vegan sausage to it and it is usually gone in no time. For a creamier dressing try my Vegan Macaroni Salad.
Tips For the Perfect Vegan Pasta Salad
If you are looking for a top-notch vegan Italian pasta salad that will make your mouth water, here are a few tips and tricks you need to keep in mind when preparing it.
- Tip 1: For the perfect pasta in your salad, you should cook the pasta 2 minutes more than the package suggests. As the pasta firms up when you rinse it with cold water so, make sure you take care of the cooking time. The perfectly cooked pasta will give your salad a perfect texture.
- Tip 2: once the pasta is done, don’t leave it under the cold water tap for rinsing; instead, give it a quick rinse by passing it through the cold water once. If you rinse it for a longer time, you will get rid of all the starch, and the dressing won’t stick to it. This way, you won’t get flavors in every bite, and the pasta will stay bland.
- Tip 3: once you add dressing over pasta, make sure you toss it well. Next, don’t serve it immediately. Instead, please place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours so that the flavors get into the dish.
- Tip 4: if you think the red onions will overpower the whole salad by its strong flavor, don’t skip it altogether. Instead, soak the onion in salted water for 10-15 minutes before chopping it. The salted water will tame the strong flavor of onion, and you won’t have to worry about it overpowering the whole pasta salad.
Storing the Italian Pasta Salad
The best thing about this Dairy-free pasta salad is that you can make it on the weekend, and it will pretty much last the whole week. So, if you are a busy person or an employed person, this vegetarian Italian pasta salad is a perfect option for a lunch box.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This was it is good to go for almost 5 days. Furthermore, you can also make the pasta salad dressing and refrigerate it separately. This way, you can enjoy it on any of your favorite salads.
Ideas For Customization
The thing about salads is that you can customize them according to your likings. The same is the case with this vegan pasta salad. You can add different vegetables like bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos, and much more. It’s entirely up to you how you want to try new textures and flavors in the salad. As soon as the dressing is on point, it is going to taste awesome. That’s for sure!
Vegan Italian Pasta Salad Ingredients
Here is a quick look at the different ingredients and how they add flavors and textures into the salad:
- Pasta: Pasta sets the base for the salad. It adds texture and body to the salad. Its chewiness goes perfectly well with the crunchiness of the vegetables. Furthermore, pasta holds the dressing by soaking it up.
- Onion: Red onions not only taste great but add a great crunch to the dish. They also make the dish look colorful with their purplish color. Red onion is also very beneficial for health.
- Cucumber: Cucumber adds freshness to the whole dish. It is crunchy and gives a refreshing feel to the whole dish making it a perfect salad for summer.
- Tomatoes: for this salad, I use grape tomatoes. These are small oval-shaped tomatoes that taste almost like cherry tomatoes. Again these add flavor as well as color to the salad. If you can’t find grape tomatoes, you can also use cherry tomatoes for the purpose.
- Olives: olives taste delicious. They have a distant tangy and a bit bitter yet a very strong flavor. You can add either green or black olives by chopping them or keeping them whole after removing the pit.
- Vegan mozzarella: Pasta salad tastes super delicious with mozzarella. Even if you are vegan doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy cheese. You can find a vegan version of mozzarella known as the vegan mozzarella. Add mini balls to your salad, and give it an awesome texture.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is the base for the dressing. It gives the dressing a creamy texture.
- Lemon juice: lemon juice gives the dressing a tangy flavor. You can also use vinegar instead of lemon juice.
- Maple syrup: Maple syrup adds sweetness to the dressing or, in other words, to the whole salad. It gives the salad an interesting dimension in terms of flavor.
- Nutritional yeast: For the vegan Italian pasta salad, nutritional yeast is an awesome ingredient. It is an inactive or dead yeast that has many benefits. It adds nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to the salad.
- Basil leaves: Basil leaves have a vibrant color and an amazing aroma. They have a distant herbaceous flavor that adds freshness to the salad.
- Italian seasoning: Now, no vegan Italian pasta salad is complete without Italian seasonings. These seasonings add Italian flavors to the salad and give it the kick it needs.
Vegan Italian Pasta Salad Dressing
The dressing is what sets the flavor for the salad. This dressing is made from a couple of ingredients that contribute to the flavors. As you taste the dressing, you will get a tangy, garlicky, and sweet flavor along with herbs. You can either prepare this dressing by placing the ingredients in the Mason jar or by pulsing it in the blender. Either way, you will get a delicious and refreshing flavor for your pasta salad. Lastly, the addition of nutritional yeast makes it a perfect vegan recipe. With the nutritional yeast, you get the healthy benefits of the ingredients as it adds in protein, vitamins, or minerals to the main dish.
How To Make Vegan Pasta Salad?
This Vegan Italian Pasta Salad is very easy to prepare. I used Heartland Gluten Free Fusilli, which is made from non-GMO corn and rice. It cooked al dente and really held its shape well. I made a homemade Italian dressing using ingredients that are easy to find.
I added maple syrup as the sweetener in the dressing and used extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, fresh garlic, and Italian seasoning. The dressing tasted fresh, zesty, and alive. I added fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.
Making veggie pasta salad with Italian dressing is super easy. You can do the preparation in 3 simple steps. In the first step, you can boil the pasta. In the second step, you can chop all the vegetables. Whereas in the third step, you can prepare the salad dressing. Lastly, you will combine everything and mix well, until all the ingredients are drenched in the dressing.
This vegan Italian pasta salad recipe is super simple to make. It can’t get any easier than this!
Vegan Labor Day Recipes:
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- Energy: 227 kcal / 949 kJ
- Fat: 9 g
- Protein: 6 g
- Carbs: 32 g
- Preparation: 18 min
- Cooking: 12 min
- Ready in: 30 min
- For: 12 servings
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup black olive slices
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped, extra for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cubes, optional
- Bring a large pot of water with about 1 teaspoon salt to boil on medium high heat. Add fusilli pasta and stir, cook pasta according to package direction. While pasta is cooking prepare Italian dressing and other ingredients.
- Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar and shake well. Set aside.
- Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and place into a large bowl.
- Add onion, olive, cucumber, tomato, and salad dressing, mozzarella and toss to coat.
- Keep refrigerated and allow flavors to mingle for a couple hours before serving.