This vegan pesto pasta salad makes the perfect summer side dish or lunch entrée. Made with gluten-free pasta and vegan almond pesto sauce, this fresh, hearty, and flavor-packed salad has a spicy kick. It's also gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free.
What you need to make this vegan pesto pasta salad
- Whole grain pasta (fusilli, penne, or shells)—use brown rice gluten-free pasta if gluten sensitive
- Vegan almond pesto sauce
- Cherry or grape tomatoes
- Red onion
- Sweet bell pepper (red, green, orange, or yellow)
- Pitted kalamata olives
- Pickled jalapenos (omit if you don't like a little kick!)
- Arugula or spinach (or both!)
- Fresh parsley
- Chickpeas, canned or cooked (optional)
- Easy vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
If you are not gluten-sensitive, this whole wheat pasta works wonderfully in this salad.
This pasta salad recipe does not use olive oil. Instead, we use the actual olives combined with lemon juice and water. Omitting oil helps to reduce the calorie density of this yummy side dish or lunch entree. If you're wondering about whether olive oil is right for you, check out this article Is Olive Oil Healthy?
How to make this pasta salad
Prepare pasta according to package directions. I used gluten-free brown rice spiral (fusilli) pasta, but whole wheat pasta works well if you don't have gluten sensitivity. When the pasta is done cooking, drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.
If cherry or grape tomatoes are bigger than bite size, cut them in half.
Take cooked, drained, rinsed, and cooled pasta and put it into a large mixing bowl. Add vegan almond pesto sauce, and lemon juice to the pasta and stir carefully to combine. If you need to thin out the pesto sauce, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
Add cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped red onion, chopped sweet bell pepper, pitted kalamata olives, pickled jalapenos, lemon juice, and optional chickpeas (if using). Carefully stir so the pesto sauce coats the veggies.
To serve, add pasta to a bed of arugula or spinach and top with fresh chopped parsley. If you like a cheesy flavor, sprinkle some easy vegan parmesan cheese on top. Salt and pepper to taste.
Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Freezing is not recommended.
We hope you love this vegan pesto pasta salad as much as we do. Please rate and leave a comment below. Be sure to share a picture on Instagram and tag us @danielsplaterecipes so we can see your creation!Print
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