A healthy summer lunch or dinner option loaded with fresh veggies and plant-based protein – vegan pesto pasta salad. This dish is perfect to meal prep and bring to a summer picnic or party!
If you have read my “about me” page, you already know I have a serious ADDICTION to pasta. No joke, I could eat pasta every day, for every single meal if I let myself. It is so darn good!
When summer rolls around, I start to crave pasta salad. It is refreshing, easy to meal prep, and pairs perfectly with the summer heat (did someone say summer picnic). I recently posted a homemade vegan pesto recipe that is completely nut-free, so I thought what would be better than a vegan pesto pasta salad recipe?!
Ingredients Needed for This Recipe
- Pesto sauce
- Short-cut pasta
- Cherry tomatoes
- Canned chickpeas
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Green onions (white part only)
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: walnuts (I highly recommend adding these because it gives the salad a nice crunch and adds some omega-3 fats)
How to Make Pesto Pasta Sala
This vegan pesto pasta salad comes together quickly, you just need 30-minutes and 8 ingredients (9 if you opt to add the walnuts). If you plan on bringing this on a picnic or to a summer party, you can prepare it the night before so it is ready to go! Follow these five steps to pasta heaven:
- Prepare a batch of my homemade nut-free vegan pesto sauce.
- Cook pasta according to box instructions. Then, drain and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool down the pasta.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta and pesto sauce. Mix until the pesto covers all of the pasta.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust any seasonings to your liking.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
What is the best pasta to use for pasta salads?
You can’t really go wrong with your pasta selection, but I have a couple of tips. First, for pasta salads, I prefer short pasta like fusilli, farfalle, penne, shells, or orecchiette. Most likely, you are enjoying your pasta salad on the go, at a picnic, or a summer BBQ. Shorter pasta is much easier to eat in these situations with no twirling required! Second, you also want a pasta shape that has ridges that will trap delicious pesto sauce. This way you get the yummy sauce in every bite!
Is this recipe gluten-free?
This recipe can easily be made gluten-free. Select your favorite gluten-free pasta and voilà this recipe just became gluten-free! I have been loving the Banza chickpea pasta lately because it tastes yummy and has a good amount of protein.
Pro-tip for the pasta
Make sure once you drain the pasta, to rinse it in cold water. This will stop the cooking process and also cool down the noodles.
How to serve this pasta salad?
To get the ultimate, refreshing pasta salad, chill this recipe in your refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving!
How to store pasta salad?
If you know you won’t finish all of the pasta salad in one go (even though that might be a little difficult since it is totally addicting…), it is best to store the pasta salad separately from the pesto sauce. This will ensure that the pasta doesn’t soak up all of the pesto sauce oils and avoids any of the veggies getting soft. It will keep well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.
This pasta salad is going to become your go-to summer meal because it’s:
- Loaded with veggies
- Great for meal prepping
Let me know if you try out this vegan pesto pasta salad, and if you do, I would love it if you left a rating and review below! Make sure you are also following along on Instagram and Pinterest for more food inspiration.
More vegan recipes you might like:
- Nut-Free Vegan Pesto
- Vegan Garlic Aioli
- Grilled Tofu Burgers
- Mediterranean Buddha Bowl
- Shepherd’s Pie with Beyond Beef
- Greek Lemon Soup (Avgolemono)
- Beyond Sausage Vegan Paella
- Pumpkin Soup without Stock
- Spicy Noodle Stir Fry
- Broccoli Leek Soup
- Stuffed Fried Olives
- Vegan Pigs in a Blanket
- Vegan Mushroom Ceviche