Fun fusilli pasta, creamy vegan pesto, earthy chickpeas, and bright roasted vegetables, combine for a quick, easy, and colorful vegan pesto pasta salad. This recipe is oil-free but full of flavor. Serve cold as a perfect side dish for a summer cookout or warm as your main course.
When you're cooking for a big group and not everyone follows a vegan diet, you need a dish that's tasty and flavorful enough to please the whole crowd. This pesto pasta salad fits the bill perfectly! Not only is it healthy and satisfying, but it's also bright, colorful, and fun. Perfect for serving at a cookout, BBQ, or potluck.
Not only is this the ultimate summer side dish, but it also makes a great main course. Just serve the pasta and veggies warm and you're in business! If you're looking for a versatile dish that pleases any palate, this pasta salad has you covered.
How to Serve Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad
Whether you're serving this as a side dish or main course, this vegan pesto pasta salad is a great addition to any meal. Serve cold or warm, right away or the next day. You can even meal prep a big batch for quick and easy lunches throughout the week.
Pro tip: this is a great dish to bring to a potluck or cookout with nonvegans. Since this dish is substantive enough to stand alone as a meal, you won't have to go hungry if there are no other plant-based dishes. (Trust me, I was once invited to a cookout where the only vegan food was watermelon!)
You'll Love this Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad because it's:
- Quick & Easy
- A Definite Crowd Pleaser
- Oil-Free & Dairy-Free
- Perfect for a Side Dish or Main
- Make-Ahead/Meal Prep Friendly
- Full of Healthy Veggies
- Absolutely Delicious Cold or Warm!
How to Make Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad
Start by gathering your veggies. Preheat the oven and separate the chickpeas from the aquafaba (chickpea liquid--you'll use that for the pesto later). Then prep your veggies and pop them on a sheet pan in the oven. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta, and while you're waiting, you can make the pesto. Drop your pasta and you've got a few minutes to clean up while everything is cooking.
After the veggies are done roasting, let them cool for a few minutes (unless you want to serve the pasta warm). Then add with the chickpeas and pasta to a big bowl. Stir to combine, add the pesto, combine again, and your pasta salad is ready to eat right away or store for later. Voilà! An easy vegan pesto pasta salad that's delicious, oil-free, and the perfect summer dish. (But don't let that stop you from making this dish all year long!)
If this recipe for Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad speaks your language, you might also love:
- Southwestern Salad with Chili-Lime Tofu Nuggets
- No-Bake Carrot Cake Bites
- Cilantro-Lime Avocado Dressing (Oil-Free!)
- Creamy Vegan Coleslaw (Oil-Free!)
- Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu (Oil-Free!)
Vegan Pesto Pasta with Roasted Veggies (Oil-Free!)
- 16 oz or 500 g dry pasta fusilli, penne, or bow tie work great here
- 1 cup oil-free vegan pesto
- 15 oz or 400 g can of chickpeas
- 1 zucchini (courgette)
- 1 summer squash
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 cups cherry or date tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F or 220°C
- Open the can of chickpeas part way and pour the aquafaba (liquid) into a separate bowl. Save this for making the pesto.
- Wash and prep the vegetables: Chop the zucchini and squash into half moons or quarters. Slice the red onion and garlic into slivers.
- Place the vegetables on a lined sheet tray, season with garlic powder, pepper, and salt (optional) and place in the oven. Roast on high heat for 25 minutes or until nicely browned. (You can turn on the broiler for the last 5 to 10 minutes for even better roasting).
- While the vegetables are roasting, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- While the water is starting to boil, make the pesto following the instructions linked below.
- After the water begins to boil, add your pasta and cook for about 9 minutes (follow the package instructions for best results).
- When the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse under cool water. Set aside to cool.
- After the vegetables are done roasting, remove from the oven, and set aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- When the pasta and vegetables are cooled, toss the pasta, veggies, and chickpeas together in a big bowl. Add the pesto and mix until combined. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for later.
- Store up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
- Feel free to use your favorite pasta or whatever you have in the pantry. Varieties like fusilli, penne, and bow tie are ideal for this recipe.
- You can also mix up the roasted veggies, but be aware that cooking times may vary. Denser veggies like cauliflower, carrots, and potatoes will take longer and should be placed on a separate tray to account for this.
- Optional: Sprinkle with vegan parmesan before serving.