This vegan pasta salad is loaded with fresh vegetables and a light and creamy dressing! Perfect as a side dish or a meal on its own, it can easily be customized in a plethora of ways!
They say you can’t make friends with salad, but I dare you to try it with this pasta salad.
Pasta salads are easily the MVP of salads out there. They are much more satisfying and delicious than most salads out there, especially if you use a good dressing.
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Since going vegan, I’ve switched from the mayo laden salads to one that uses a homemade dressing. Now, don’t go assuming that this dressing is simply using vegan mayo because that is NOT the case- It uses cashews and seasonings and is so darn good, you’d drink it!
Not only is this pasta salad completely vegan, but use gluten free pasta to make it gluten free!
What goes into a vegan pasta salad?
The beauty of this pasta salad is just how customizable it is! These are the ingredients I used in mine, but change up the vegetables and pasta shapes for some fun variety!
- Pasta– Use a sturdy kind of pasta, like elbow, macaroni, or penne.
- Fresh vegetables– We used corn, peas, and carrots.
- Dressing– A light and creamy dressing made with cashews!
How to make a creamy pasta salad dressing
As heavy cream and mayonnaise aren’t vegan, we’ll be making a dressing using the most versatile substitute- Cashews!
- Cashews– Raw and unsalted cashews.
- Coconut sugar– You can also use brown sugar or maple syrup.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Nutritional yeast– Gives an umami kick and a subtle cheesy flavor.
- Orange juice– Freshly squeezed
- Parsley– Fold into the dressing, NOT blended.
Blend everything together, except for the parsley, until smooth. Fold the parsley through at the end.
Tips to make the best pasta salad
- Don’t overcook the pasta, or else it will break apart. Cook the pasta until tender or al dente.
- Drain the pasta thoroughly so that the dressing remains thick and sticks to the noodles easily.
- Feel free to add other salad vegetables, like mushrooms, bell peppers, and broccoli.
Vegan pasta salad serving suggestions
This salad is perfect for picnics, potlucks, and barbecues. If you’d like to make this salad ahead of time, keep the dressing and the pasta/vegetables separate until you are ready to serve it. The pasta and the dressing can be made up to 3 hours in advance.
How do you store pasta salad?
Pasta salad can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
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Tools to make this recipe
- Mixing bowl– A large mixing bowl to toss everything together.
- Blender– A good quality blender to ensure the dressing is perfectly smooth and incorporated.
- Salad bowl– To serve the gorgeous salad with!
Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad
- 7 ounces pasta dry, I used Mini Macaroni
- 1 cup Corn kernels
- 1 cup Peas
- 1 cup Carrots Diced
For The Dressing:
- 1 1/4 cups Cashews Raw
- 1 cup Water
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Coconut Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1 large orange juiced
- 1/4 cup Parsley chopped, and extra for garnishing
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a liberal amount of salt to your water and then add your Dry Pasta into the pot. After 4 minutes, add your Frozen Corn, Frozen Peas and Carrots to the pot and boil together with the Pasta.
- After another 4 minutes or so, pasta should be al dente and your veggies should be tender.
- Drain Pasta and Veggies and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for dressing except for the Parsley in a blender. Blend till smooth. Once smooth, add Parsley in and pulse to distribute Parsley into the sauce. Do not blend as this will turn your sauce green.
- Add dressing to your drained Pasta and toss to combine.