Vegan Pasta Salad (Italian-Style)

This Italian vegan pasta salad is filled with delicious vegetables and homemade Italian dressing that’ll leave you craving for more! This vegan pasta salad recipe comes together quickly and is perfect for a party dish or to enjoy during the week for lunch.

Italian Vegan Pasta Salad

Italian Vegan Pasta Salad

When I was younger, one of the foods my mom made ahead of time was pasta salad – all kinds of pasta salads. She’d make a HUGE bowl and then stick it in the refrigerator for us to eat all week.

Look, my mom was a busy lady, and with 4 kids, I’m guessing that was her idea of meal prep. No fancy meal prep containers here – just a big Tupperware bowl we dug into for 5 – 7 days.

And let me tell you, we loved it!

This summer, I’ve been making variations of my mom’s pasta salad and it’s been lots of fun. To be honest, I probably should’ve shared it months ago but it’s one of those recipes that’s really like a non-recipe where I’ve been making it forever and just use what I have on hand.

Anyway, I made a vegan version a few weeks ago. One of my daughter’s friends is vegan so I wanted to give more food options besides a boring salad. So I whipped together this Italian vegan pasta salad and it was sooo delicious that I didn’t even miss the cheese or pepperoni.

Can you believe it?

Even though I’m not vegan, I do enjoy eating plant-based recipes and feel better when I keep dairy to a minimum. Not to mention, I do get a lot of requests for more vegetarian and vegan recipes so I decided to be more intentional when creating recipes for my blog.

Why This Vegan Pasta Salad Is The Best

So, let’s talk about this Italian vegan pasta salad.

  • It’s beyond easy to throw together. Once the pasta is made, salad dressing is made, and veggies are chopped, this recipe can be thrown together in less than 10 minutes.
  • It uses fresh vegetables. And, on top of all that, it also has some convenience veggies like jarred roasted peppers, canned artichokes, and canned beans.
  • You can use ANY vegetables you want. I’ve used bell peppers, mushrooms, red onions, white onions, tomatoes, and I’ve even thrown arugula in this salad. Everything works great!
  • Tastes better the next day. You can make this salad the same day you’re going to eat it but it also tastes great the next day and even a couple of days after that. I’ve made this salad for parties but also made it on Sunday for everyone to eat during the week for lunches or even dinners.
  • Great on its own or as a side dish. This salad is a meal on its own with all the pasta, hearty vegetables, and beans. However, you can definitely serve this as a side dish with some grilled portobello mushrooms or grilled cauliflower steaks. Or, if you have meat lovers, then they’ll love this with some chicken or steak.

Trust me, even though this is a vegan recipe, it’s a crowd-pleaser and everyone will love it!

Frequently Asked Questions About Pasta Salad

I’m so excited to share this vegan recipe with you but first, let’s go over some questions about this salad recipe.

What pasta shapes work the best?

When it comes to using an oil-based dressing for pasta salads, I prefer to use spiral-shaped (fusilli) pasta. In my opinion, this pasta works best to grab onto the dressing and the other ingredients.

If you want to use short pasta, then bow-tie works well too!

Can I use whole wheat pasta?

Yes, of course. When I’m making this pasta salad for myself or my family to eat, I’ll use whole wheat pasta. We are used to the heartiness of whole wheat pasta. If I’m making this for a party, I’ll use organic white pasta.

Can you use gluten-free pasta?

Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta. The only concern with gluten-free pasta is that it might get mushy over time. I like gluten-free pasta but I find that it doesn’t stay as al dente as regular pasta.

So, something to keep in mind.

My advice is don’t overcook the gluten-free pasta and rinse it really well prior to adding with the other ingredients.

Can I use a bottled dressing for this pasta salad?

For this recipe, I’m sharing my simple homemade Italian dressing. It’s so good and goes great with this salad! Plus, when I make my own dressing, I can control the ingredients. So, if I want a simple clean salad dressing with minimal ingredients, I’m better off making it myself.

But, I’ve used bottled dressing many times when making this salad. I like Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar or use your favorite Italian dressing!

Can I use non-vegan ingredients?

Yes, of course!

This salad is delicious with chopped pieces of mozzarella (fresh or regular), pepperoni, Italian meats, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

This pasta salad recipe is super flexible.

Other Vegan Ingredients You Can Use In This Salad Recipe

In my non-vegan pasta salad recipes, I’ll add cheese and pepperoni. At first, I was going to add the vegan alternatives but then I decided to just leave them out. Like I said, the pasta salad is so good, I didn’t even miss it.

However, if you want to add more bulk or flavor, then you can include:

Vegan plant-based cheese

You can find block vegan cheese or shredded. I recommend getting a mozzarella flavored cheese for this recipe.

When I make this with regular cheese, then I usually purchase a block and dice into small pieces. So, you can also do that with vegan cheese.

I recommend throwing in 1 -2 cups of shredded vegan mozzarella.

My favorite vegan plant-based cheese brand is Daiya. I have used the Whole Foods 365 brand which is fine but I think Daiya has a better taste and it also melts better (if you’re looking to use it for pita pizzas or eggplant parm or recipes like that).

Vegan pepperoni

If you want the flavor of pepperoni in this salad, then grab a package of vegan pepperoni. Again, Daiya is a good brand that offers a tasty vegan pepperoni. When I use vegan pepperoni (or any pepperoni), I will cut it into fours so it evenly distributes throughout the salad.

Olives

I love adding olives to this salad! When I made this recipe for my blog, I forgot to pick up a jar but trust me- olives always make their way into this salad. It adds a great flavor.

I like green olives but will also throw in some chopped Kalamata olives.

Sun-dried tomatoes

There’s nothing like a tangy bite of a sun-dried tomato! Yum!

If I add sun-dried tomatoes, then I’ll leave out the fresh tomatoes. I like using the sun-dried in the packages but you can use the ones stored in olive oil.

I’ll add around ¼ – ⅓ cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Basil and other herbs

Fresh herbs add a delicious fresh bite to pasta salad. For this Italian vegan pasta salad, I’ll add a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh basil but, parsley or other fresh herbs will work well too.

Vegan Pasta Salad {Italian-Style}

Okay, let’s make this recipe!

This is the list of ingredients you will need to make this pasta salad:

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Pepperoncini rings
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red onion

ingredients to make vegan pasta salad

ingredients to make vegan pasta salad

How To Make Homemade Vegan Pasta Salad Dressing

In a 16-ounce container (or whatever container you have), mix together:

  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Grated garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • Melted honey or pure maple syrup

Whisk all of those ingredients together or if you’re using a mason jar, then put the top on and vigorously shake it.

I recommend making this while the pasta is cooking #momhack 😉

homemade vegan pasta salad dressing

homemade vegan pasta salad dressing

How To Make An Italian Pasta Salad Vegan

Start by cooking 1lb of fusilli pasta. Remember, don’t overcook it!

After the pasta is cooked and cooled, you’re going to put it into a large bowl with all the other ingredients.

italian pasta salad

italian pasta salad

Then, pour all of the dressing over the ingredients and stir it up until all of the ingredients are all coated with the dressing.

If you can, cover and let it sit for an hour or so. Give it a couple of stirs before serving.

Italian pasta salad with veggies

Italian pasta salad with veggies

You can even make this the day before! Just make sure to give it a few stirs before you serve it.

This recipe makes a lot so plan to make this for a crowd or eat for days. You’ll get about 10 (1 – ¼ cup) servings.

Cooking Tips:

  • Cook pasta al dente. Nothing ruins any pasta dish more than overcooking pasta. Remember this pasta is going to be coated in dressing and other ingredients so you don’t want to overcook it.
  • Chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces. When I take a bite of this salad, I like to get a bite of everything. So, I make sure all of the vegetables (canned and fresh) are chopped into bite-sized pieces.
  • Use a BIG bowl to mix all the ingredients. This pasta salad makes a lot and you’re going to need a big bowl to mix the ingredients and serve it in. If I’m making this for me to eat throughout the week, then after I mix the ingredients then I’ll transfer into smaller meal prep containers to store in the refrigerator.

More Veggie-Filled Recipes

If you enjoyed this vegan pasta salad recipe, check out some of these other veggie-filled recipes:

Share a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you decide to try this vegan pasta salad recipe! 

Italian Vegan Pasta Salad

Prep time

20 mins

Cook time

15 mins

Total time

35 mins

Looking for an easy, plant-based recipe to meal prep? Look no further than this vegan pasta salad!

Author: Organize Yourself Skinny

Recipe type: Salad

Cuisine: Italian

Serves: 10

Ingredients

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 grated garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons melted honey or maple syrup
  • 1 lb fusilli pasta, cooked
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained chopped
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar of roasted red peppers, drained sliced or chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) jar of pepperoncini rings, drained
  • 1 (15.5) ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and melted honey. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad ingredients and stir it until everything is coated.
  4. Cover and let it sit for an hour or so or overnight if you can.
  5. Give it a few more stirs and serve.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1¼ cup Calories: 348 Fat: 12 Saturated fat: 1 Carbohydrates: 56 WW Points +: 5 Fiber: 5 Protein: 9

3.5.3251

 

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