This quick and easy vegan pasta salad comes together in just 20 minutes and is loaded with tons of veggies and al dente pasta tossed in a simple lemon balsamic vinaigrette.
You Will Love This
- This vegan pasta salad comes together in a snap, AND it will still be everyone’s favorite side. We’re keeping the ingredient list short but strategic to get a great blend of flavors in a simple recipe.
- If you love this vegan pasta salad recipe, be sure to check out my Mediterranean Garbanzo Bean Salad, 25 Minute Taco Pasta Salad, and this BBQ Chickpea Pizza for more delicious meatless meals!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Rotini - Rotini is probably my favorite option for pasta salads, because there are so many nooks and crannies for dressing to get stuck in, but any short noodle will work.
- Garbanzo Beans - Garbanzo beans are my favorite way to add plant based protein to pasta salad. You can replace them with another white bean if you prefer.
- Artichoke Hearts - You can use marinated artichoke hearts in a jar or a can of artichoke hearts - either way just be sure to drain the liquid from them. Marinated artichoke hearts will add another layer of flavor so I like to use those if possible.
- Banana Pepper Rings - Banana peppers are fairly mild and slightly tangy. If you can’t find them, pepperoncini are a good substitute.
- Grape Tomatoes - Grape tomatoes are meatier than cherry tomatoes, so they hold up well in a salad. If you don’t have any, large cubes of another fleshy tomato—like a beefsteak or brandywine—is a good sub.
- Green Bell Pepper - Green bell peppers are a little bitter and vegetal, which balances the sweet tomatoes and tangy banana peppers. You can use yellow, orange, or red if you prefer, but a good poblano pepper would be a great substitute.
- Red Onion - Raw red onion adds a pop of color to this vegan pasta salad, as well as a mild flavor. If you need a substitute, you could use yellow onion, although the onion flavor will be stronger.
- Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette - We’re going to shake up some olive oil, balsamic, parsley, lemon juice and zest, mustard, and garlic for a complex, sweet dressing that you might want to put on everything.
In a large measuring cup or mason jar combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley, lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. Mix until dressing is well combined and emulsified.
Pour dressing over the pasta salad.
Toss to coat evenly, garnish with parsley if desired and enjoy!
- Don’t forget to rinse your garbanzo beans in cold water. Doing so can cut the sodium content in half. This also allows you to adjust the salt flavor yourself so you don't end up with a salad that's too salty.
- Because this pasta salad is vegan, it’s easy to store leftovers. If it sits out for a bit during a meal, there’s no dairy to sour, so you can cover and cool it in the fridge for a few days before the noodles start to get too soggy.
Most pasta salads are not vegan-friendly, because they're coated in dairy-based dressings and/or tossed with cheese, eggs, meat, etc. This vegan pasta salad, however, is one of the best for simplicity and flavor!
Timing a pasta salad can be a little tricky. Letting a good salad marinate for a bit can help deepen and mingle the flavors. If you let it sit too long though, your noodles will start to get soggy. Some people make pasta salads the day before, but I prefer to make them the morning of - so they get a few hours in the fridge, but the noodles are still fresh.
No need to rinse pasta for cold pasta salads. This is often done to make sure the noodles stop cooking immediately, because they need some firmness to hold up in the pasta salad. This vegan pasta salad recipe, however, accomplishes the task by tossing the pasta in olive oil and cooling in the fridge.
More Pasta Salads
Vegan Pasta Salad
This quick and easy vegan pasta salad comes together in just 20 minutes and is loaded with tons of veggies and al dente pasta tossed in a simple lemon balsamic vinaigrette. Whether you’re vegan or looking for something lighter in the hottest part of summer, this vegan pasta salad is all the goodness of summer without the dairy.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Pasta Salad
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 16 oz. rotini pasta
- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
- 12 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 6 oz. jar pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 cup banana pepper rings
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- ½ small red onion, diced
- Cook pasta just until al dente according to package directions. Toss in olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pop it in the fridge to cool for a few minutes.
- Add cooled pasta, garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, olives, banana pepper rings, tomatoes, bell pepper, and red onion to a large bowl.
- In a large measuring cup or mason jar combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley, lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. Mix until dressing is well combined and emulsified.
- Pour dressing over the pasta salad and toss to coat evenly.
- Garnish with parsley if desired and enjoy!
Doing so can cut the sodium content in half. This also allows you to adjust the salt flavor yourself so you don't end up with a salad that's too salty.
If it sits out for a bit during a meal, there’s no dairy to sour, so you can cover and cool it in the fridge for a few days before the noodles start to get too soggy.