This easy vegan Italian pasta salad is packed with veggies. Think juicy cherry tomatoes, salty black olives and sun-dried tomatoes, silky roasted red peppers, tangy marinated artichokes, fine threads of crisp red onion, and just a touch of fresh herbs for a pop of green goodness. A hearty, gluten-free fusilli serves as the perfect base, mingling with the veggies and a zesty Italian vinaigrette in the best of ways. The finishing touch? Plentiful sprinkles of salty vegan parmesan. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or a meat-lover through and through, this easy vegan Italian pasta salad is bound to find a special place in your heart as well as your lineup of long weekend must-haves.
This post is sponsored by truRoots. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
It probably comes as no surprise that I love pasta. From hot and creamy pasta dishes to raw, energizing, and zoodle-y plays on pasta, if it resembles a noodle, chances are I'll enjoy it. And in warm-weather months when backyard barbecues and sunshiny rays abound, there's nothing that satisfies quite like chilled, veggie-laden pasta salad.
Pasta salad conjures up a slew of childhood memories for me. Summer weekends with my mom and stepdad were characterized by picnics in Grant Park and my mom's amazing balsamic-kissed Italian tortellini salad; summer weekends with my dad and stepmom were spent boating the Chain O'Lakes with heaps of chilled deli pasta salad aboard and in-hand at all times.
So perhaps my enduring affinity for all things pasta stems from the simple fact that I've grown to associate so many fond memories with the stuff. Or maybe it's just because it's pasta, and pasta is delicious.
Either way, now that we're teetering on the brink of summer events and warm weather, we best arm our homes with the essential food of good memories made: pasta salad.
Easy vegan Italian pasta salad, that is.
This pasta salad comes together in a snappy 30 minutes flat (give or take a few depending on the breadth of your chopping skillz).
To make it, you'll start by bringing a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
As you wait for the water to boil, prep your veggies and herb/s. Gather, chop, slice, dice, mince, etc. the following:
Cherry or grape tomatoes.
Roasted red peppers.
Marinated artichoke hearts.
Fresh parsley or basil.
Once you have your mise en place, add 8 ounces of truRoots Ancient Grain Fusilli to the boiling water and cook until al dente.
truRoots Ancient Grain Pastas are Certified USDA Organic and gluten-free. Plus, they're made with a blend of unique, quality ingredients. For instance, the fusilli is made with quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, and corn.
I have to say, I'm always a bit wary when it comes to gluten-free pasta—all too often it turns to mush or clumps together. I had my doubts that truRoots would be any different, but I'm thrilled to say that its texture is unparalleled when it comes to gluten-free pasta or any pasta for that matter.
It cooks up to a true al dente—no mushiness, sogginess, or stickiness—and is the ideal pasta to use in this salad for that very reason. In fact, I was so pleasantly surprised by its texture and flavor that I actually double-checked to see if it was gluten-free. It is. As are all truRoots products.
While the pasta cooks, you'll whip up a quick and easy Italian vinaigrette (or feel free to opt for store-bought instead) as well as a super simple vegan parmesan cheese.
Once the ingredients are prepped and ready to go, add everything to a serving bowl, toss to coat, and serve.
This easy vegan Italian pasta salad is everything that a pasta salad should be.
It's flavorful, zesty, hearty, chilled, veggie-packed, salty, tangy, and satisfying.
This is the perfect side dish to share with a crowd on a warm summer's day and makes for a tasty light lunch on those extra-steamy days once the summer haze has officially taken hold.
Easy Vegan Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup jarred roasted red peppers, julienned
- ½ cup jarred marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
- ¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- ¼ cup sliced black olives
- ¼ cup quartered and thinly sliced red onion
- Handful flat-leaf parsley and/or basil leaves, minced
- 8 ounces truRoots Organic Ancient Grain Fusilli
- ⅓ cup raw almonds or cashews
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for seasoning
- Homemade Italian Dressing (see below) or your favorite store-bought Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. (As they say, your pasta water should be as salty as the sea.)
- Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables and herbs (i.e., tomatoes through parsley) and add to a large serving bowl.
- Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Strain.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegan parmesan. To the bowl of a small food processor, add the nuts, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic clove, and sea salt. Process for 15 seconds, or until ground into a texture that resembles finely grated parmesan cheese.
- Prepare the dressing (recipe below).
- Add the pasta to the serving bowl with the veggies and herb/s.
- Top with as much of the dressing and vegan parmesan cheese as desired (any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 1 week). (I usually add a little more than half of the homemade dressing recipe and about half of the vegan parmesan.)
- Toss to coat and combine.
- Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper, if desired.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Serve chilled.
Homemade Italian Dressing
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar, to taste
- 1 tablespoon filtered water
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender, and blend on high until emulsified. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until emulsified. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.