Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad

This vegan pasta salad recipe is perfect for picnics! A creamy, no-mayo tahini dressing coats curly noodles, summer veggies & briny artichokes.

Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad in a bowl with serving utensils

One day last week, I woke up earlier than normal with the sun shining brightly into my eyes. I never used to consider myself a morning person, but when you don’t have window coverings on the windows of your still-new-ish house – guess what? You wake up with the sun… and as the sun rises earlier and earlier, you do too. I laid there for awhile trying to keep my eyes shut, and I drifted into a half-sleep where I dreamed about a sunny, breezy picnic on the beach. Most importantly, I envisioned exactly what I wanted to be eating on that beach picnic – and this bright, creamy pasta salad floated into my mind.

My Vegan Pasta Salad Recipe

This vegan pasta salad is basically a big bowl of sunshine where curly noodles intermingle with sunny spirals of yellow squash. It’s full of colorful produce, like tomatoes and green beans, with a few briny bites from the artichokes and olives. It’s all tossed in a tangy, no-mayo creamy tahini dressing that travels extremely well, making this a perfect dish to bring to a cookout or a dreamy beach picnic.

Vegan pasta salad recipe ingredients

Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad Dressing

I like to make pasta salad dressings without mayo so that the final dish can sit well at room temp for picnics and parties. This dressing gets its creaminess from tahini and Almond Milk. Its tangy flavor comes from a combination of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard. It’s so easy and delicious!

Vegan pasta salad dressing ingredients

Play with this Pasta Salad Recipe!

I love this pasta salad as is, but it’s totally customizable!

  • For an Italian pasta salad, use roasted red bell peppers instead of green beans.
  • For an easier pasta salad, skip the spiralized squash and increase the pasta.
  • For a classic pasta salad, use 3/4 cup halved mini mozzarella balls instead of the navy beans.

Or toss in your favorite summer veggies & herbs to make a salad you love!

Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad with components in bowls

While my family loves this recipe as a summer side dish, it’s also a complete meal on its own. There’s substantial protein from the navy beans, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds adds a wonderful crunch.

Serve this recipe immediately after tossing it together, or make it ahead and store it for up to 2 days in the fridge. I love it as a meal prepped lunch!

Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad

Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad Vegan Pasta Salad Serving Suggestions

Looking for a vegan main dish for your next cookout? Try any of these recipes:

5.0 from 2 reviews
Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad
 
Prep time
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A picnic-perfect summer pasta salad recipe! This creamy pasta salad is full of colorful veggies and tossed in a tangy, no-mayo creamy tahini dressing.
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 6 to 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup haricots verts, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces short curly pasta
  • 2 medium yellow squash, spiralized or very thinly sliced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced into quarters
  • ¾ cup cooked navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 heaping cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • scant ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
dressing
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup almond milk or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water nearby. Blanch the haricots verts for 1 minute, then transfer to the ice water. Drain and pat dry.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking just past al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Make the dressing: In a small-medium bowl, whisk together the milk, tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
  4. In a very large bowl, combine the pasta, haricots verts, yellow squash, artichoke hearts, navy beans, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and olives. Toss with the dressing. Mix in the parsley, basil, and sunflower seeds. Season to taste with more salt (I add ½ teaspoon).
  5. Serve at room temperature or store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Season to taste before serving.

 

14 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Becky
    06.28.2018

    Where did you get that beautiful squiggly pasta?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.28.2018

      Hi Becky, I’m so embarassed, but I’ll have to go back to whole foods and see what it was called and let you know. It was a long curly pasta that I broke up – but any short fusilli-like shape will work here 🙂

  2. This salad has my name all over it! Tahini, artichoke hearts and haricot verts are some of my favorite things right now! Pair them together, and #swoon.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.28.2018

      I hope you love it! We’re obsessed with this combo!

  3. Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite
    06.28.2018

    Can’t wait to make that tahini dressing!!! 🙂

  4. Gaby Dalkin
    06.30.2018

    This dish is literally a ray of sunshine!

  5. Michele Herman
    07.05.2018

    Holy fabulous! This was a huge hit at my 4th of July BBQ and I already have a request from a friend (a fellow IIN health coach like myself) to make this for a pool party at the end of the month. Do you have any thoughts about using a bean pasta, e.g. lentil, in place of the regular pasta?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.05.2018

      Haha, yay, I’m so glad it was such a hit! I think it would be fine with one of the bean pastas – in my opinion, they never taste as good as regular pasta (of course!), but with all of the veggies going on here, it should blend in just fine. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!

    • Sarah from NA
      08.29.2018

      Of course, it’s well past July, but I just made mine with a red lentil penne pasta (from Trader Joes because of course, I work there and all my food comes from there ;)) and it was fantastic! I thought it paired well with the tahini dressing!

  6. Incredibly delicious recipe, Jeanine! I was curious as to what kind of pasta you used for your recipe; their appearance kind of reminds me of the noodles from those instant noodle packets or cups. Would it be OK to use honey instead of maple syrup and almonds or pumpkin seeds if there are no sunflower seeds available? We are excited to try this! Kudos!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.15.2018

      Thanks Elizabeth! It was actually a long curly kind of pasta that I broke into smaller pieces (I can’t remember the name of the shape). Fusilli works too!

      Yep, it’s ok to use honey instead of maple and almonds or pumpkin seeds – all would be delicious here! I hope you enjoy!

  7. PJ
    07.30.2018

    This was really very good!
    I used water, as I don’t keep milk alternatives at home, and chick peas instead of navy beans.
    Using tahini as dressing was a new, but very tasty, experience for us!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Lewis Johnson
    03.18.2019

    I’m obsessed with this recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.22.2019

      so happy to hear that!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.