This vegan pasta salad with homemade zesty Italian dressing is about to be your summer go to! Quick lunches or dinners, BBQs, and more! This simple 20 minute dish will blow you and guests away. Can be made Top 8 Allergen Free (including gluten free).
Some people love the summer. There’s so much fun to be had– pools, beaches, get togethers, vacations, and so much more. Many people, though, dread cooking in the summer. They want easy, quick meals that are going to be filling and please a crowd if needed. This Italian vegan pasta salad does just that.
In fact, this pasta salad makes roughly 4 1/2 pounds of food! There’s plenty to feed a crowd. Sound like too much? Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to make a smaller amount if needed below.
This vegan pasta salad recipe contains 11 total ingredients and is ready in just about 20 minutes. It can be a completely gluten free pasta salad if needed and we’ll even discuss how it can be Top 8 Allergen friendly too!
Watch how to make vegan pasta salad:
What ingredients do you need for vegan pasta salad?
For this vegan Italian pasta salad recipe, we combine a variety of fresh vegetables with pasta and delicious homemade zesty Italian dressing. The combination is married perfectly together for a delicious meal. The ingredients that you need are:
- tri-color rotini
- cherry tomatoes
- red, green, orange, and yellow bell pepper
- Block Vegan “Cheddar” and “Mozzarella”
- Homemade vegan Parmesan
- and our homemade zesty Italian dressing
For the zesty homemade Italian dressing you will need:
- olive oil
- apple cider vinegar
- red onion
- ground black pepper
- Italian seasoning
How do you make vegan pasta salad?
This Italian vegan pasta salad is so easy to make. If you are running short on time, it’s the perfect meal to make. Sports games, working lunches, or your next summer holiday get together, it’s perfectly simple.
Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. We use a tri-colored rotini because it’s more colorful, but feel free to use your favorite. Drain and cool.
While waiting for it to cool, chop up all your vegetables and vegan cheese. Make the homemade vegan pasta salad dressing. When the pasta salad is cool, add in all the chopped vegetables and remaining ingredients. Stir until very well combined.
You can serve this immediately, but we like to let sit in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight to let the flavors merry together and make sure everything is the same temperature. It is supposed to be a vegan cold pasta salad.
How do you make the vegan pasta salad dressing?
For this recipe, we are using a vegan homemade zesty Italian pasta salad dressing. It’s super easy to make. Chop up the garlic and onions. After that, add all the ingredients into a bowl, and stir to combine.
We usually make this first and let sit in the refrigerator until everything else is ready.
This vegan pasta salad dressing is also the perfect on roasted vegetables, salads, and more!
Can I make this Top 8 Allergen Free Pasta Salad?
The great thing about living in this time is that you have so many gluten free pasta options. You can easily make this gluten free by just switching out the pasta for your favorite gluten free brand. You can even try a mixture of chickpea and red lentil varieties to give you the same color type of pattern as we did in ours.
For the vegan parmesan cheese, use our sunflower version in the recipe card to make it nut free.
Lastly, the hardest part, about making this a top 8 free recipe, is the vegan cheese. The best thing to do is omit the cheese altogether if you have multiple allergies. You can usually find ones that are soy free or nut free but not often together, especially not in a block form at this time.
Another alternative would be to use shreds, like Go Veggie’s Vegan Mozzarella shreds that are allergen free.
Can I prep this vegan pasta salad ahead of time?
This deliciously easy vegan pasta salad, is actually best prepped the day ahead of time. Pasta salad is always better the next day in case you hadn’t heard that one!
All the flavors really have time to merry together and enhance the flavor of the dish.
If you need to prep it more than that, I would recommend that earlier in the week, you can make the vegan pasta salad dressing, as well as prep cutting up all the cheese and vegetables, but wait until 24 hours before head to actually cook the pasta and put everything together.
Can you heat up dairy free pasta salad?
This vegan pasta salad is best served cold; however, with that being said, there’s no reason that if someone wanted to warm it up for a few seconds because they don’t like cold pasta, they could.
You don’t want to cook it in a pot or anything, but 30-60 seconds in a microwave just to heat through, would be fine.
How long will vegan pasta salad last?
This dairy free pasta salad recipe will last in the refrigerator for 7 days. Beyond that, the cucumbers will begin to break down and be soggy and the dish is just no long as good. Feel free to make a smaller amount of this vegan dish if you don’t think that you can finish in within a few days.
Does pasta salad need to be refrigerated?
Yes. This vegan pasta salad does need to be refrigerated. It contains vegan cheese and other fresh vegetables that are best stored once put together with the vegan pasta salad dressing inside the fridge.
Can I make a smaller amount than the entire potluck style vegan dish?
If you read above, you’ve seen that the dish actually makes around 4.5lbs of food. If you are going to a potluck, summer holiday party or more, this is a great dish to take as it will feed a crowd. However, if you are just trying to make this dish for yourself and your family for a few days or the week, then you likely don’t need 4.5lbs of pasta.
Unless, however you are like a few friends of mine that have 4, 5 and more children. In that case, you probably do.
In any event, you can absolutely make a smaller amount. The easiest way is just to cut everything in half. You can do that using the slider bar in the recipe card below.
Can I freeze this pasta salad?
This vegan pasta salad dish is not suitable to freeze and unthaw. The best way to use this dish is to make a smaller portion that you can eat within 7 days.
Can I sub bottled Zesty Italian dressing for the homemade?
Yes! If you are trying to save even more time, you can just pick up a bottle of premade Zesty Italian Dressing. We do love the taste of our homemade one and believe that it tastes more fresh. However, we also understand the need for doing this in a hurry also.
Just pour in 1 1/2 cups bottled dressing in place of the homemade dressing and continue with the recipe as normal.
As always, please ensure the ingredients on the label are safe for your family. Please note: this is note the same as normal Italian dressing, you want Zesty Italian.
What goes with vegan Italian pasta salad?
A great thing about this vegan pasta salad is that it’s a complete meal on it’s own. However, you may be going somewhere or having people over and want to have other things with it. Some great options are:
- Vegan Chicken Salad (Pictured above 0 sandwiches and more ideas!)
- The Best Vegan Black Bean Burger
- Vegan Italian Meatballs
- Dairy Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
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Italian Vegan Pasta Salad
Vegan Zesty Italian Pasta Salad Dressing
For the Vegan Pasta Salad
- 1 lb tri-color rotini, cooked according to box instructions (sub for GF pasta)
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red pepper, diced into small cubes
- 1/2 orange pepper, diced into small cubes
- 1/2 yellow pepper, diced into small cubes
- 1/2 green pepper, diced into small cubes
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced and halved (skin left on)
- 4 oz vegan mozzarella, cubed (sub for shreds or omit)
- 4 oz vegan cheddar, cubed (sub for shreds or omit)
- 1/8 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups homemade Zesty Italian Dressing (recipe above or sub for bottled Zesty Italian Dressing)
- Combine all the ingredients for the pasta salad dressing into a bowl and place in refrigerator until ready.
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and cool.** We use a tri-colored rotini because it’s more colorful, but feel free to use your favorite.
- While waiting for it to cool, chop up all vegetables and vegan cheese.
- When the pasta is cool, add in all the chopped vegetables and remaining ingredients.
- Stir until very well combined.
- Serve immediately,or let sit in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight to let the flavors merry together (preferred method). Serve remaining zesty Italian dressing on the side.
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This post was originally published on 5/13/19 and updated on 5/21/2020