Vegan Pasta Salad

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

vegan pasta salad

This vegan pasta salad is basically a big bowl of sunshine! It’s full of colorful produce, like cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, and green beans, and artichokes and olives add delicious briny flavor. To tie it all together, I make a tangy, creamy tahini dressing. Because this dressing is totally mayo-free, it travels extremely well. As a result, this vegan pasta salad is a perfect dish to bring to a cookout or picnic. It’s so fresh, vibrant, and fun that I’m planning to make it all summer long. Once you try it, you will be, too!

Vegan pasta salad recipe ingredients

Vegan Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients

To make this vegan pasta salad recipe, you’ll need these simple ingredients:

  • Pasta, of course! Use any short, curly pasta shape you like. Of course, use gluten-free pasta if you need this recipe to be gluten-free.
  • Spiralized summer squash – To lighten this salad up, I mix spiralized yellow squash with the regular pasta noodles. You feel like you’re eating a big pile of pasta, but actually, it’s mostly veggies!
  • Haricots verts – They add vibrant color and crunch to this vegan pasta salad.
  • Cherry tomatoes – What’s a summer salad without them? I love how their juicy texture contrasts with the crisp haricots verts and al dente pasta.
  • Navy beans – For plant-based protein and hearty, creamy texture.
  • Red onion – For sharp depth of flavor.
  • Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts – I love their briny taste with the fresh veggies and tangy dressing.
  • Sunflower seeds – For crunch!
  • And fresh herbs – Tender, aromatic herbs like parsley and basil take this salad over the top.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Vegan pasta salad dressing ingredients

Last but not least, you need the dressing! It’s lightly creamy, sweet, and tangy, made with tahini, almond milk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard.

Whisk together the dressing, and add the cooked pasta, veggies, beans, olives, and artichokes to a large bowl. Toss them with the dressing, and fold in the sunflower seeds and fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Pasta, veggies, and herbs in bowls

Vegan Pasta Salad Recipe Variations

This vegan pasta salad recipe is delicious as written, but it’s totally customizable! Change it up based on what you’re craving or what you have on hand. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Make an Italian version with roasted red bell peppers instead of green beans.
  • Simplify it by skipping the spiralized squash and increasing the pasta.
  • Doesn’t matter if it’s vegan? Use 3/4 cup halved mini mozzarella balls instead of the navy beans.

Feel free to toss in your favorite summer veggies and herbs. Let me know what variations you try!

Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad ingredients in a bowl

Vegan Pasta Salad Serving Suggestions

This recipe is perfect for picnics, as it holds up well if you make it ahead of time. Toss it together and enjoy it right away, or prep it up to 2 days in advance. Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Serve this vegan pasta salad with Caprese sandwiches, chickpea salad sandwiches, or Grilled Veggie Skewers drizzled in Greek Salad Dressing. It’s also an excellent side dish for these classic cookout recipes:

Round out the meal with a fresh fruit salad.

When I’m not planning a picnic, I love to meal prep this salad for lunch. Thanks to the protein-packed navy beans, hearty pasta, and colorful veggies, it’s a fresh, satisfying meal on its own.

creamy vegan pasta salad

More Favorite Picnic Salads

If you love this easy vegan pasta salad, try one of these picnic salads next:

Want more summer salad ideas? Check out this post for 37 fresh salad recipes. Then, find 85+ delicious vegan recipes here!

Vegan Pasta Salad Recipe

Vegan Pasta Salad

rate this recipe:
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Serves 6 to 8
A picnic-perfect vegan pasta salad recipe! It's full of colorful veggies and tossed in a tangy, no-mayo creamy tahini dressing.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Make the dressing: In a small-medium bowl, whisk together the milk, tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
  • 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).
  • Serve at room temperature or store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Season to taste before serving.

 

21 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 🙂

      • Chrissie M
        06.08.2019

        Found the pasta! Fusilli col buco. (long cut fusilli)

  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

    5 stars
    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!

    • 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!

      • Kerry Higgins
        07.12.2020

        I couldn’t find sunflower seeds or tahini at my store, so had to sub in pine nuts and plain Greek yogurt instead for the dressing, but it lent a very Mediterranean flavor and is pretty delicious! Also subbed out the navy beans for garbanzo as well like some others did. Overall a super solid recipe though I definitely made waaaaay too much for one person-whoops! Will definitely be making again though!

  7. PJ
    07.30.2018

    5 stars
    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!

  9. Esha from Too%20many%20subs,%20I%20suck%20at%20cookingn
    07.06.2020

    5 stars
    I’ve never made pasta salad, decided to try this after a quick web search of vegan pasta salad. I kinda added my own veggies, used chickpea pasta. I’ve also never had tahini before so I made it homemade (biggest mistake) real quick using the first recipe I found online. I also did not have Dijon mustard, so I just used this yellow mustard that ended up being very expired. Then I used balsamic and white vinegar as a sub for apple cider vinegar. It was not good, too many subs and the strong tahini with my vinegar tasted like vomit. If I were to follow this recipe a lot better this would have definitely been 5 stars. But I’ll have to deal with my monstrosity of a salad for now.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2020

      Ha, let me know how it goes next time when you have more of the ingredients 🙂

  10. Christine Tyrell
    08.01.2020

    5 stars
    Wow! This is a flavor explosion!! I had this on a small bed of mixed greens and topped with avocado and mixed in brown rice noodles. I then squeezed fresh lemon over the top. This was a magnificent recipe I added to my bookmarks!

  11. Shan Bush
    05.23.2021

    5 stars
    You had me at ‘briny’. I made this today as a trial run for a summer party and holy moly it was fantastic! A definite go to summer salad😁. Hoping I don’t hog it all during my party.

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.