The Best Vegan Pasta Salad

Some dishes are so simple that it’s hard to believe they can be as delicious as a more difficult and time-consuming meal. But you are going to have to believe us on this one, this pasta salad is so easy yet so damn tasty. This vegan pasta salad is a 100% a foolproof recipe and will deliver on taste every single time while also being incredibly healthy. As you can probably tell by now, there’s no good reason NOT to make this vegan pasta salad. So, what are you still waiting for? ūüėČ

Vegan pasta salad with cauliflower, zucchini and red onion in a white bowl on a wooden table.

Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t really feel like cooking but you still want to be able to make a meal that ticks all the boxes. A simple, healthy and delicious meal that doesn’t require a lot of cooking and/or ingredients. Well, you guessed it, this recipe has got you covered. You can even choose to save some extra time and effort by buying pre-packaged cauliflower. This isn’t something we would recommend because we prefer to minimize packaging and waste, but it’s a viable option if you are really short on time or are just to lazy to put those knife skills to work. The sauce is the real hero in this one and it gives the vegan pasta salad that beautiful luxurious creamy mouthfeel and the lovely green color. The crispy breadcrumbs are optional but they do give this dish just that little bit extra and they are so easy and quick to make that there’s really no good reason NOT to make them.

All of the Ingredients

It does not require any uncommon ingredients in order to make this vegan pasta salad. You should be able to find all of the ingredients for this recipe at your local supermarket. If you wish, you can use fresh peas instead of the frozen peas but they are usually a lot more expensive and you honestly can’t really tell the difference once blended into a sauce.

The ingredients for the recipe on a wooden table.
  • Lentils – we use brown lentils in this recipe because they are nice and small which goes perfectly in this vegan pasta salad but they still add some nice texture and bite.
  • Nutritional yeast – if you are a vegan or if you cook plantbased dishes regularly, you should be familiar with this one. It adds an almost cheesy flavor and in short it’s simply an amazing and delicious ingredient.
  • Garlic powder and italian herbs – we are keeping it simple in this recipe and other than nutritional yeast we are only adding italian herbs and garlic powder. You can use different herbs if you wish or make your own mix.
  • Whole wheat pasta – most of the time we use whole wheat products instead of their white counterparts. In our opinion, in a lot of meals it is just as delicious to use whole weat products, and it’s a whole lot healthier. So if we don’t feel that a particular recipe really requires white carbohydrates, we will go with whole wheat.
  • Frozen peas – these are just so convenient to have and can be used in loads of different ways. For this vegan pasta salad, they are the base of our delicious sauce. They are naturally sweet and always smell so good, we really love using them.
  • Tahini – this adds a creamy texture to our sauce and also adds a whole lot of flavor. If you haven’t tried it or don’t use it very often, we encourage you to do so. It’s healthy and very versatile and it’s one of those ingredients we ALWAYS have in our pantry.
  • Cauliflower – you can either roughly chop the cauliflower or rip the florets apart by hand. We prefer the latter method because it doesn’t make such a mess. Is it just me, or whenever you cut or chop cauliflower it always feels like half of it ends up on the floor? You can also add large florets to a (large) food processor and pulse for a couple of times until you have small chunks of cauliflower.

Nutritional Information

This recipe makes for another protein and dietary fiber packed dish, which is the case with most of our recipes. You also do not have to worry one bit about your vegetable intake with this one. Plus, that little squeeze of lemon juice adds some vitamin C to the dish which helps your body absorb iron from your diet. Additionally, vitamin C helps to give your immune system a boost. Peas are full of various B-vitamins as well as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Vegan pasta salad in a white bowl on a wooden table with fresh parsley and breadcrumbs on the side.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Zucchini can sub with broccoli or green asparagus
  • Tahini can swap with cashew butter, hazelnut butter or almond butter
  • Whole wheat pasta – can sub with white pasta or glutenfree pasta. You can also make this recipe with couscous, gnocchi, orzo or bulgur wheat.
  • Parsley – can sub with fresh mint or basil.
  • Panko can sub with regular breadcrumbs.
A hand holds a with bowl with breadcrumbs.

FAQ

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Vegan pasta salad with cauliflower, zucchini and red onion in a white bowl on a wooden table.

The Best Vegan Pasta Salad


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  • Author: Sjors
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 people 1x

Description

A great dish when you are in the mood for something easy, comforting and healthy.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 small head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs mix
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) whole wheat pasta
  • 14 OZ (400 grams) canned lentils, rinsed and drained¬†

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) frozen peas
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper,¬†cracked
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/12 cup (5 grams) fresh parsley + extra for serving, optional

For the breadcrumbs (optional): 

  • 1/6 cups (20 grams) panko
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Italian herbs
  • 2 tbpsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp neutral flavored oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
  2. Toss the vegetables on a non-stick (or lined with parchment paper) baking dish together with the olive oil and the Italian herbs. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the packaging instructions. For a more firm (al dente) pasta, cook the pasta 1 to 2 minutes shorter.
  4. Drain and rinse the lentils (you can use a colander to do this if you wish)

For the breadcrumbs: 

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Add to the bottom of the pre-heated oven and bake for 5-8 minutes. Check and stir regulary to make sure it doesn’t burn.¬†

For the sauce:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the frozen peas. Cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the cooked peas to a blender together with all of the remaining sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add some of the cooking water from the pasta if the sauce is too thick.
  3. When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and add to a large bowl. Add the creamy sauce to the bowl and add the lentils, give everything a stir. Add the vegetables and mix again.
  4. You can finish the dish with some extra fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Notes

If you are meal prepping this recipe and/or are planning on eating it at a later moment, make sure you do not add the crispy breadcrumbs beforehand as they will have gone soft by the time you are going to eat.

Nutritional facts are estimates. If you want to be sure about the nutritional facts, be sure to check your product labels.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dinner, Lunch
  • Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 859kcal
  • Sodium: 0,84g
  • Fat: 26,7g
  • Saturated Fat: 3,8g
  • Carbohydrates: 102,9g
  • Fiber: 27,1g
  • Protein: 38g

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