This plant-based pasta salad from the Jewish Food Hero Kitchen is incredibly fresh and filled with crunchy lettuce, olives, and tomatoes. It is made without any oil or mayo and has a perfect balance of noodles and greens making it lighter and more refreshing that most pasta salads. The tahini dressing is creamy and delicious so make a double batch just in case and keep it in the fridge.
Traditional Pasta Salad Recipes
Traditional pasta salads are quite heavy because they usually include mayo as the base for the dressing and very high pasta to veggie ratio. Apart from being a very fatty and unhealthy condiment, mayo hides the flavors of all other ingredients, especially the delicate fresh vegetables. If you need more reasons to exclude mayo from your diet, you can check out this article.
The pasta, although a key ingredient, can be a bit bland if it’s not paired with fresh veggies and a delicious dressing.
About this Plant-based Pasta Salad Recipe
This plant-based pasta salad a fresh and tasty whole-foods meal. There is just enough pasta to be filling and tasty. The olives add a savory salty taste, the lettuce gives a fresh crunch, and the tomatoes give the salad a bit of acidic relief.
This is a simple salad to add to any table. It can be a side salad or be served as a main dish.
A creamy tahini and nutritional yeast dressing is replacing the mayo. It is made from nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and tahini and a few other ingredients.
About the Ingredients in this Plant-based Pasta Salad
Pasta: The best pasta shape to use for this salad is fusilli because the spiral shape holds the dressing nicely. Make sure to cook it al dente for 9 minutes (instead of the usual 11 minutes). Here is a 100% durum wheat semolina fusilli that holds is shape well after cooking. Here is a fusilli shaped gluten-free pasta made from brown rice flour. If you are looking for a higher protein pasta, choose this chickpea pasta.
Olives: Olives add the salty element to this pasta salad. You can use any pitted black olives for this recipe but for the special taste, add kalamata olives that are preserved in wine vinegar and olive oil. They have a purple-black color and a strong flavor that works well with the more delicate flavors of lettuce and tomatoes.
Nutritional Yeast: Nutty, cheesy, and creamy, nutritional yeast is a favorite vegan and vegetarian condiment because it is delicious and is packed with B vitamins. In this salad, nutritional yeast is an ingredient in the salad dressing. If you like the taste, you can sprinkle more of it onto the pasta salad before serving.
Plant-based Pasta Salad Tips
- Add more greens: Add more lettuce or fresh green herbs to the salad before serving
- Add more protein: Add a can of your favorite beans to this salad or make the salad with a higher protein chickpea pasta.
- Add more spice + heat: Add ¼ tsp of organic chili powder to the dressing if you want to add more heat
If you like this recipe, you’ll love the Jewish Food Hero Cookbook: 50 Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Your Holiday MealsPrint
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 4 cups dry pasta (fusilli shapes work best)
- 1 ½ lbs. Lettuce, thinly sliced (romaine or batavia varieties both work well)
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½–1 cup black olives, sliced
Bring a large pot with salted water to a boil and add in the pasta. Cook the pasta to al-dente, then drain and rinse in a colander under some cold water.
In the meantime, make the dressing. Place all ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
To assemble the salad, add the pasta and veggies to a large salad bowl and pour on the dressing. Mix together and add a bit more salt, pepper and/or apple cider vinegar to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!
⅓ cup nutritional yeast
⅓ cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon agar agar