During the warmer months, you can’t go wrong with a satisfying bowl of cold summer pasta salad. It’s the perfect partner for a wide range of meals, from plant-based hot dogs with carrots to lettuce wraps. Plus, you don’t need to turn on the oven to make this simple dish—which is always a win during the summer.
This is one of our favorite vegan pasta salads and it’s so very easy to make. This particular recipe features a homemade vinaigrette, allowing you to control the ingredients and flavors. It’s the best way to ensure your pasta salad is vegan, healthy, and delicious!
Red Wine Vinaigrette
Start by preparing the homemade vinaigrette. It’s a light, simple dressing that works well with a variety of dishes. But if you don’t have time for a homemade dressing, you can also substitute a ready-made Italian dressing.
To make the red wine vinaigrette, you’ll need:
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- maple syrup
- minced garlic
- black pepper
- dried oregano
Don’t have red wine veingar on hand? Use baslamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar instead.
Combine all the ingredients and whisk well. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop.
Meanwhile, prepare the pasta salad. You will need:
- pasta (gluten-free, if necessary)
- red onion
- cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes)
- fresh parsley
For this recipe, we used a gluten-free quinoa fusilli by Nature’s Earthly Choice.
Feel free to customize your pasta salad depending on what you have on hand. Crunchy, fresh veggies (like carrots, radishes, and bell-peppers) are excellent options. You can also toss in some fresh greens.
Dice (or slice) the vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces.
Cook the pasta according to the package’s directions. Drain, then let cool completely.
Roughly chop the fresh parsley.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.
Mix until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust the vinaigrette as necessary. Drizzle over the pasta and toss.
Another option is to serve the dressing in a separate container so guests can add as much (or as little) as they’d like.
If you aren’t serving the pasta salad quite yet, hold off on adding the vinaigrette. Cover the bowl with an air-tight bowl cover (or store it in a covered container) and place in the refrigerator. Pasta salad is best when served chilled, anyway, so this is usually the best approach.
When you’re ready to serve the pasta salad, garnish with fresh parsley and dig in.
We hope you enjoy this simple, easy vegan summer pasta salad recipe!
Vegan Summer Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces fusilli pasta gluten-free, if needed
- 1 cucumber small, diced
- ¼ red onion diced
- 2.25 ounces black olives canned, sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup fresh parsley plus extra, for garnish
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic, white, or apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano dried
- Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Cook the pasta according to the package's directions. Let cool. Roughly chop the fresh parsley. Toss the pasta, parsley, and diced vegetables together.
- Before serving, drizzle vinaigrette onto the pasta and toss. Garnish with fresh parsley.