This easy Vegan Italian-style Pasta Salad combines curly pasta, crunchy vegetables, and fresh herbs. Then it's tossed in a zesty oil-free Italian-inspired dressing. A great make-ahead dish for lunches, picnics, potlucks, etc.
This vegan Italian-style Pasta Salad is so easy to make! It's a tasty, satisfying dish filled with flavor.
We combine tender curly pasta with crunchy vegetables and fresh herbs. Then toss it in a zesty oil-free Italian-inspired dressing.
Plus it only takes 30 minutes to prepare!
It's a great light lunch, and also works well as a side dish for gatherings, BBQs, potlucks, etc.
Ingredients for Vegan Pasta Salad
For this recipe you will toss together in a large bowl:
- Fusilli pasta: This is also known as rotini pasta. Or you can substitute another shape of choice like penne, farfalle, etc. (I use a gluten-free brown rice and quinoa blend.)
- Grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes: I like these best for this salad because they have such rich, sweet flavor. But feel free to substitute with ripe roma tomatoes or other tomato if desired.
- Cucumber: I use English/hothouse cucumbers because I find them to be more flavorful. However seedless garden cucumbers work great too.
- Red onion
- Olives: I use Kalamata olives but black olives would be tasty too.
- Fresh parsley
- Red wine vinegar
- Fresh lemon juice: You will need about a half lemon for this recipe.
- Nutritional yeast: This adds a slightly cheesy, savory flavor to the dressing.
- Garlic cloves
- Dijon mustard
- Italian seasoning: Or substitute other herbs of choice.
This is a great recipe to customize based on the flavors and tastes you enjoy. A few suggestions include:
Vegetables: Add other veggies such as artichokes, green bell pepper, broccoli, roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, etc.
Herbs: Change up the taste with dried oregano, basil, etc.
Vegan cheese: Add more flavor with Miyoko's mozzarella cheese or vegan parmesan cheese.
Want more? Try this easy Arugula Pasta Salad as well!
Serving & Storing
I've found there's a bit of a "sweet spot" in the serving time. We enjoy it best a few hours after chilling but within a day.
Otherwise the gluten-free pasta starts to dry out as the dressing absorbs.
However, you could simply store the dressing and salad separately in the fridge. Then toss together as needed right before serving.
For more inspiration, also browse all vegan lunch recipes.
Vegan Italian Pasta Salad
- 8 oz. fusilli pasta (gluten-free if desired)
- 8 oz. grape/cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1/3 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1/3 cup olives (I use kalamata)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (more as desired)
- Artichoke hearts, green bell pepper, roasted red pepper, capers, pepperoncini, sun-dried tomato, vegan parmesan, vegan mozzarella cubes
For the Italian-style dressing:
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, leaving al dente (slightly firm, not mushy). Drain and rinse with cold water when finished.
- Meanwhile, prepare veggies: Quarter/halve tomatoes, dice cucumber, and thinly slice red onion. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Slice olives and roughly chop parsley (large stems removed). Place in bowl.
- Make the dressing: In a separate small bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk well to combine.
- Add cooked pasta to bowl with veggies. Then add dressing and toss well to combine.
- Can serve immediately, but best served chilled after 1-2 hours. (Be sure to gently stir again before serving as some dressing may settle at the bottom.)
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
If you are enjoying this oil-free vegan pasta salad recipe, also check out:
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Thank you for posting this delicious pasta salad. I made it last week using chickpea pasta. I am making it again for a Fourth of July picnic. I know it will be a big hit. I thought about adding beans to it. Have you tried that.
Hello, Lolli! Glad you enjoyed it with the chickpea pasta - that sounds fantastic. I haven't tried adding beans before, but garbanzo beans or white beans could be a nice addition. Hope you all enjoy it for your picnic!
I was so happy to find a recipe not using any oil. It has wonderful flavor and what I would consider to be very healthy. Simple, fresh, and light. We are an SOS free family (salt, oil, and sugar-free). I did omit the salt. I figure the olives have enough salt for the salad. I also used a chickpea pasta, as we are also gluten-free. Thank you for the recipe.
That's so great! Chickpea pasta is fantastic addition. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such kind and helpful feedback!
Made this for my family. My husband is new to my vegan world and approved of this recipe, as did my 3-year-old, who asked for seconds, then thirds! Great recipe. I did add green bell pepper only because we had one. Thank you for sharing!
Wonderful to hear you all enjoyed. (And great call with the added green bell pepper!) Thanks for sharing!