Giving the classic pasta salad a makeover with this Vegan Italian pasta salad recipe! High protein pasta spirals are tossed with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onion & fresh herbs and drenched in a zesty Italian salad dressing.
This simple vegan cold pasta salad is naturally dairy-free, vegetarian, oil-free, gluten-free and super quick & easy to throw together!
Serve it up hot, cold or room temperature as the perfect Summer pasta salad for picnics, barbecues, potlucks or an easy weeknight dinner everyone is bound to love!
What does this Italian pasta salad taste like?
Pasta Salad Tips & FAQ’s
Authentic Italian salad dressing is usually vegan-friendly with common ingredients being olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper and herbs. However, it can sometimes contain parmesan, honey or milk products and red/white wine vinegar. These vinegars are not always cruelty free due to animal derivatives sometimes used during wine production.
Yes, you can prepare this salad ahead of time with the dressing mixed in or add it just before serving. The vinegar content in the dressing will actually help keep the salad stay fresh for longer.
This salad should stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge when stored correctly in an airtight container.
Rinsing cooked pasta in cold water helps remove some of the starchy coating and stops it from continuing to cook as it cools down quicker. Therefore, yes it is best to rinse your pasta for pasta salad.
This vegan pasta salad recipe is nutritionally dense, high in protein (depending on the pasta you use), fibre and relatively low calorie for a light Summer meal. It contains loads of vitamin C from the tomatoes, onion and lemon juice. As well as tasting delicious, olives provide a great source of vitamin E, iron, copper, calcium and healthy fats to this dish.
If you find the Italian salad dressing tastes too vinegary, you can balance it out by adding a dash of maple syrup (or natural liquid sweetener of choice.)
Vegan Pasta Salad Ingredients
Here are some other veggies you can add to this vegetarian side dish (especially if you love Mediterranean/antipasto pasta salad!)
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Spinach, rocket or leafy greens of choice
- Jarred roasted capsicum/peppers (or fresh)
- Cubed tofu
- Vegan feta or mozzarella
- Beans (Cannellini beans, black beans, mixed beans etc.)
- Broccoli florets
- Vegan ‘meat’ crumbles
How do you make Italian pasta salad from scratch?
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Here’s a quick run down on how to make this tasty 10 minute Italian pasta salad for your next gathering, lunch or dinner.
- Cook pasta
Cook pasta until al dente then drain and rinse with cold water.
- Prepare salad ingredients
Chop your veggies, herbs and prepare any additional ingredients to mix into your pasta
- Make Italian Salad Dressing
Whisk together the simple salad dressing ingredients
- Toss salad
Add all your pasta salad ingredients together with the dressing into a big serving bowl and toss until everything is well coated and combined.
The Best Italian Salad Dressing Recipe (Oil free!)
How do you make zesty Italian dressing from scratch? The answer is a quick whisk of a few simple, basic ingredients and you’ll have yourself a healthy, oil free, homemade salad dressing!
What Goes With Cold Pasta Salad?
Pasta salad goes well with just about anything! Think Homemade veggie burgers or meat-free sausages, Vegan meatloaf, BBQ jackfruit, toasted sandwiches/paninis or any of your favourite picnic & grilled BBQ foods.
What to do with leftover pasta salad
I highly doubt there will be any leftovers when it comes to this delicious pasta salad, but if that’s the case you could bulk it up into a main course with extra vegetables and add-ins like the ingredients listed above. You could serve it as a side dish with your next meal or even mix in a creamy cheesy sauce (like this Dairy free Queso!) and bake it into a delicious vegan pasta bake!
If you’re looking for more salad inspiration then you should also try this Creamy Vegan Coleslaw Salad recipe!
There are more side dish and appetiser recipes where that came from…
- Best Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes (Gluten free, easy)
- One Pot Baked Mexican Rice Casserole (Gluten free, Vegan)
- High Protein Lentil Vegan Pizza Crust (Gluten free, Oil free)
- Vegan Italian Pasta Salad (Gluten free, Easy, Healthy)
Easy Vegan Italian Pasta Salad (Gluten free, Oil free)
- 200 g uncooked pasta (use a legume/pulse pasta for higher protein) GF if necessary (spirals or penne work great)
- 200 g Cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup (180g) Olives
- 1/4 cup (10g) Chopped fresh basil or fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- Nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan optional, See notes for recipe*
Italian Salad Dressing
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Vinegar see notes
- 1-2 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 tsp Italian mixed herbs see notes for homemade mix
- 1/8 tsp salt optional
- Cook pasta until al dente then drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a small bowl or jug, mix the salad dressing ingredients together.
- Add the cooled cooked pasta and remaining salad ingredients into a large serving bowl. Pour over the salad dressing and gently toss until everything is well coated and combined.
- Top with nutritional yeast/parmesan (if desired) and serve cold or room temperature.
DIY Italian Herb Mix
- dried rosemary
- dried basil
- dried oregano
VinegarI use regular white vinegar in the salad dressing but you could also use red wine or white wine vinegar in this recipe. Tomatoes: Any variety of tomatoes will work in this recipe, but mini or cherry tomatoes provide a delicious extra burst of flavour and texture compared to chopped up large tomatoes.
Want more delicious, healthy vegan meals & recipes that are quick & easy to make?
OIL FREE SOY FREE REFINED SUGAR FREE GLUTEN FREE