This vegan pasta salad recipe is perfect for picnics! A creamy, no-mayo tahini dressing coats curly noodles, summer veggies & briny artichokes.
One day last week, I woke up earlier than normal with the sun shining brightly into my eyes. I never used to consider myself a morning person, but when you don’t have window coverings on the windows of your still-new-ish house – guess what? You wake up with the sun… and as the sun rises earlier and earlier, you do too. I laid there for awhile trying to keep my eyes shut, and I drifted into a half-sleep where I dreamed about a sunny, breezy picnic on the beach. Most importantly, I envisioned exactly what I wanted to be eating on that beach picnic – and this bright, creamy pasta salad floated into my mind.
My Vegan Pasta Salad Recipe
This vegan pasta salad is basically a big bowl of sunshine where curly noodles intermingle with sunny spirals of yellow squash. It’s full of colorful produce, like tomatoes and green beans, with a few briny bites from the artichokes and olives. It’s all tossed in a tangy, no-mayo creamy tahini dressing that travels extremely well, making this a perfect dish to bring to a cookout or a dreamy beach picnic.
Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad Dressing
I like to make pasta salad dressings without mayo so that the final dish can sit well at room temp for picnics and parties. This dressing gets its creaminess from tahini and Almond Milk. Its tangy flavor comes from a combination of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard. It’s so easy and delicious!
Play with this Pasta Salad Recipe!
I love this pasta salad as is, but it’s totally customizable!
- For an Italian pasta salad, use roasted red bell peppers instead of green beans.
- For an easier pasta salad, skip the spiralized squash and increase the pasta.
- For a classic pasta salad, use 3/4 cup halved mini mozzarella balls instead of the navy beans.
Or toss in your favorite summer veggies & herbs to make a salad you love!
While my family loves this recipe as a summer side dish, it’s also a complete meal on its own. There’s substantial protein from the navy beans, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds adds a wonderful crunch.
Serve this recipe immediately after tossing it together, or make it ahead and store it for up to 2 days in the fridge. I love it as a meal prepped lunch!
Vegan Pasta Salad Serving Suggestions
Looking for a vegan main dish for your next cookout? Try any of these recipes:
- BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches
- Best Darn Veggie Burgers
- Falafel Burgers
- Portobello Mushroom Dogs
- Heirloom Tomato Bean-LT Sandwiches
- Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches
Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad
- 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
- 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
- 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.