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The Best Vegan Pasta Salad

The Best Vegan Pasta Salad | Well and Full | #vegan #recipeThe Best Vegan Pasta Salad | Well and Full | #vegan #recipe

Growing up, I was a super picky eater. I was one of those kids whose food couldn’t touch any other food on the plate. (I know, I know, I was awful. Mom, if you’re reading this – thank you for putting up with me as a kid!! I love you!!). In fact, when I became a vegetarian at the age of 14, my mom all but gave up trying to cook for me… but it was this culinary independence that spurred my love for cooking. And now, at the age of 22, I’ll pile ten different foods into a dinner bowl (touching!!) with the best of them. But even after so many years, I haven’t entirely shaken my food idiosyncrasies. For example, I don’t like to eat cold food that’s meant to be hot. Cold pizza? No way. Lukewarm soup? Get outta here. But for some reason, the one hot thing I can tolerate cold is pasta salad.

The tricky thing about most pasta salads, though, is that they can get unsafe to eat if left unrefrigerated for extended periods of time.This is because most traditional pasta salad recipes call for mayo, which is egg-based. Mayo + heat = bad for you. Not ideal if you’re trying to bring a dish to a cookout. Fortunately, this pasta salad is 100% dairy-free, with a tangy, mouthwatering dressing that may be the most delicious thing I’ve ever made. It’s just perfect – a heavenly combination of grainy mustard, nutty almond milk, tangy spring onions, and tart lemon juice. Just writing about it right now is making my mouth water!!

The Best Vegan Pasta Salad | Well and Full | #vegan #recipeThe Best Vegan Pasta Salad | Well and Full | #vegan #recipe

I come from a family that is decidedly not vegan, so I was a bit nervous bringing this pasta salad to our Memorial Day Weekend cookout. To give you a better idea – my dad doesn’t consider a meal to be a meal unless there’s half a cow on the table. And as I gingerly placed my bowl full of orecchiette, tomatoes, green beans, chopped kale, and mustard vinaigrette on the picnic table, I couldn’t help but feel that my little pasta salad was terribly out of place amidst plates and plates of grilled meat. But I shouldn’t have been worried – it was a huge hit, even with my dad! In fact, my mom even texted me days later to tell me how much she loved it!

Moms LOVE this delicious pasta salad! | Well and Full | #vegan #recipe

Maybe I shouldn’t have been so worried about my pasta salad (it sounds silly even just writing that), but when I went vegan my mom was pretty skeptical about it. I didn’t even bother telling my dad. Of course, my mom had the usual fears – that I wouldn’t be getting enough protein, that I would be a bother to my friends when going out to eat, etc. etc. Even though plant-based eating is becoming more and more popular, the Standard American Diet has certainly been ingrained into my parents’ generation, and even my own to some extent. In their minds, things like almond milk and kale are far-out, fringe ingredients that could just as well be replaced by dairy milk and iceberg lettuce. However, I think the long-term results of the S.A.D. are manifesting themselves in America’s population – 68.5% of adults are overweight or obese, which is associated higher risk for a myriad of health issues, such as cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes. In fact, the collective state of Americans’ health is comparably lower than that of other “wealthy” countries. But as we see the deleterious effects of our diet manifest as time goes on, we learn more and more about how diet affects overall health; especially how the foods we put in our body can be used to prevent diseases and health issues before they even arise. In fact, it was Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC) who is credited with first positing the concept of food as medicine.

The Best Vegan Pasta Salad | Well and Full | #vegan #recipe

But for all of my fact-checking and scholarly citations, I’m not a doctor, or a medical researcher. I don’t mean to proselytize or condemn others via my musings on health. All I can speak to, with absolutely certainty, is my own experience… and I have experienced that my health is exponentially better when I eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Which brings me back to this beautiful pasta salad. It’s a perfect example that plant-based food is delicious – if not more so – than its S.A.D. counterparts. Flavors the way nature intended. This is a dish that you can feel good about sharing with family and friends, not only because it tastes good, but because it’s good food.

I hope you enjoy this pasta salad as much as I have – it was crafted with love!

The Best Vegan Pasta Salad | Well and Full | #vegan #recipe

5 from 1 vote
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The Best Vegan Pasta Salad

Get ready to wow some taste buds - this pasta salad will be a hit at any cookout or summer party! Made with a tangy, creamy mustard vinaigrette, this dish will be a sure favorite among friends and family. Inspired by this recipe by Laura Wright. UPDATE: I updated this recipe to specify unsweetened almond milk.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb pasta I used whole-wheat orecchiette
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes halved
  • 1 1/2 Cups Haricots Verts chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Kale

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 6-8 Spring Onions using the white + light green parts
  • Juice from 1/2 Lemon or more to taste
  • 4 Tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk or any plant milk
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Water
  • 4 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt + Pepper

Instructions

Mustard Vinaigrette

  1. From the spring onions, take the white bulb + 1/2 inch above bulb, where it starts to turn light green. Roughly chop, and combine with all other ingredients in a high-speed blender. Mix until the vinaigrette has a smooth, creamy consistency.

Pasta Salad

  1. Cook pasta according to directions. When finished cooking, drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Chop tomatoes and haricots verts, mixing 1 1/2 cups each with pasta once it has cooled.
  3. Finely chop kale, and combine 1 cup with pasta salad.
  4. When pasta and veggies are mixed, drizzle generously with vinaigrette.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

The Best Vegan Pasta Salad | Well and Full | #vegan #recipe

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    dorota @ plants on the plate
    June 12, 2015 at 6:05 am

    hello! this is such a beautiful salad – and your photos are great! it looks like an amazing meal to have on a hot summer day. I can’t get hold of kale anymore – but there are other greens. I know that wonderful feeling of feeding your family and them being content! also, i love that spoon/utensil. Have a good day Sarah! :)

    • Reply
      WellAndFull
      June 12, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Thank you Dorota! :) The kale can be substituted for any hardy green!

  • Reply
    Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    July 2, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I Love this!! It sounds totally amazing. I used to think pasta salads were kinda weird … and I think it was the cold factor for me. Also, I don’t love mayo-based dressings. The thought of this pasta salad with a mustard vinaigrette seems so refreshing. And my aunt just gave me a box of that same shape of pasta, so it just seems meant to be!!! Lovely photos, too.

    • Reply
      WellAndFull
      July 2, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you so much, Sara! :)

  • Reply
    Have a Vegan Fourth of July - Fruity Living
    July 3, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    […] The Best Vegan Past Salad from WellandFull […]

  • Reply
    Megan
    February 24, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    This looks wonderful! Do you think it would keep for 5 days in the fridge? Thinking of making this for work next week. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 24, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Absolutely! I’ve kept this salad for up to a week in my fridge, so you should be fine for five days! :D

  • Reply
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    […] you try this Dairy Free Pasta Salad Recipe, please head over to Well and Full and let Sarah know what you think in the comments section. […]

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    May 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    What pasta did you use? Many of them have eggs so in curious what brands are vegan.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 6, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      This is a great gluten-free, vegan option! I don’t know of any pasta brands that are exclusively vegan though so you should always check the label! :)

  • Reply
    Barbara A
    May 29, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Do I cook the green beans and kale before adding them to the salad? I’ve had kale uncooked but not green beans. Thanks. I can’t wait to eat this salad :)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 30, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      I added the green beans and kale raw to this salad – it adds such a nice crunch! And the kale is chopped up small enough so that it’s easy to chew :) But you can definitely cook the green beans if you like!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Chelsey
    June 21, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Gorgeous food photography! Pasta salad is one of my faves and this one looks delicious. Glad your family loved it :)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      June 22, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Thanks Chelsey!! :D

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  • Reply
    Jassy
    December 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    This was worst tasting dressing I ever had. Thankfully I tried it before adding it to the pasta. I even made my son try to just to be sure it wasnt just me, and his response was, OMG mum what did I do to deserve that! Why would you give me something so awful !

    • Reply
      Sarah
      December 17, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      I’m really sorry that you didn’t like the dressing, Jassy :( If you could describe what exactly you didn’t like about it, maybe I can help you pinpoint the issue?

      • Reply
        Sarah
        December 20, 2017 at 3:05 pm

        To my readers – I have made multiple attempts to reach this commenter, to find out what went wrong – via email and comments here – with no response. However, after receiving this comment I made the dressing again, in my new kitchen. I am proud to say that I stand by my recipe 100%.

        However, I do want to add that when there is wiggle room in a recipe, I will specify it. So, for example, in this recipe you can use as much salt and pepper as you like. But I can only guarantee the recipe if you use the exact ingredients listed – i.e. you must use DIJON mustard, etc. I cannot guarantee results if you deviate. It should also go without saying that if you dislike Dijon mustard, lemons, or green onions, then you will probably not like this dressing.

        In any case, I wholeheartedly stand by this recipe.

        Thank you for reading and supporting Well and Full. If any of you try this recipe and have specific complaints, the comments are always open. I am always eager to hear what you think, and to continue improving my recipes for you.

        Much love and gratitude,

        Sarah

  • Reply
    Liliana
    December 26, 2017 at 10:17 am

    This recipe is AMAZING! I was very skeptical at first because I’m not really a fan of mustard, but the sauce complimented the dish perfectly!

    This salad is tasty and very easy to eat too, not to mention easy to make. Simple enough to get all the flavors in one bite but brings bold new flavors to the table in comparison to other pasta salads. Five Stars!!!!! :)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      December 26, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Thank you so much for your review, Liliana! I’m so glad to hear you liked the recipe :)

  • Reply
    Daniel
    March 19, 2018 at 11:54 am

    HOW MANY DOES THIS RECIPE SERVE? i DO NOT SEE IT IN THE INSTRUCTIONS — OR, PERHAPS I AM MISSING IT. TRYINH TO PLAN FOR A POTLUCK.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      March 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Daniel, it’s hard to say – it depends on how big the portion sizes are going to be. I’d say this would be fine for a small potluck with 10-12 people, with everyone having a small scoopful as a side. I hope this helps!

      • Reply
        Daniel Theisen
        March 19, 2018 at 8:10 pm

        Thanks for the quik reply. Can’t wait to try this pasta salad.

        • Reply
          Sarah
          March 20, 2018 at 11:48 am

          You’re welcome! I hope you like the recipe :)

  • Reply
    Pam
    April 3, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Hi Sarah! I love your site! I just discovered it and I have been going through all of the recipes checking everything out :) I love the creative ideas you have for different dressings, as that always is my challenge to keep things interesting. Just a question, as I have seen this mentioned on other sites as well- why only the white and light green parts of the green onion? I have never noticed that they taste different than the darker green part, but I guess I usually just chop it all up together for a salad! Haha! Would love to hear your opinion :)

    Oh, also, I think it’s so funny that you’re a ‘temperature-specific’ food person, when I’m the EXACT opposite! Haha! It doesn’t matter to me if my food is cold or warm… my family always laughs at me ;)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 3, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Pam, thanks so much for writing! In this recipe, I call for the white and light green parts because those have the most concentrated onion flavor. Plus, it prevents the dressing from turning green ;) I hope this helps! Please feel free to reach out if you ever have any other questions or comments :)

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