Super light and refreshing quick and easy creamy vegan pasta salad that’s perfect for a healthy summer side dish! With a zesty lemon tahini dressing and minimal gluten free ingredients, this Mediterranean pasta salad is perfect for all eaters and any summer party!

Easy + Healthy Vegan Pasta Salad (Gluten Free!)

Your new favorite healthy pasta salad for any occasion

This incredibly simple yet deliciously creamy vegan pasta salad is about to be your go-to Mediterranean pasta salad for all of your summer parties and occasions.

This easy pasta salad is quick to make and perfect for all eaters, whether or not you’re vegan and/or gluten free! With a creamy lemon tahini dressing that’s both soy free and nut free, and minimal ingredients for the actual pasta salad, this will be your favorite summer side dish.

This secretly healthy vegan pasta salad is perfect for:

  • Summer cookouts
  • Family barbecues
  • Summer picnics
  • Fourth of July
  • Memorial Day
  • Stress-free weeknight dinner side!

Zesty, light, and full of flavor, this is THE Mediterranean inspired pasta salad to make this summer!

Vegetarian friendly vegan pasta salad ingredients + swaps

Here are the super simple ingredients that you need to make the BEST vegan pasta salad you’ve ever had:

  • Your favorite pasta: see below for recommendations on Gluten Free!
  • Compari tomatoes: you can use cherry tomatoes, but I prefer Compari! They taste better in my opinion.
  • Cucumbers: I used Persian cucumbers, but you can use any variety.
  • Sliced Kalamata olives
  • Chickpeas: you can use your favorite bean here if you don’t have chickpeas!
  • Vegan parmesan: or vegan feta!
  • Tahini: if you don’t like the taste of tahini (it’s very mild in the dressing, though!), you can swap in almond butter. However, using tahini keeps this pasta salad also nut free!
  • Lemon
  • Garlic Powder
pasta salad ingredients

How to make a creamy vegan pasta salad for all eaters

For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.

For the lemon garlic tahini dressing:

This lemon garlic tahini dressing is truly what makes this creamy vegan pasta salad so special. In fact, this easy dairy free dressing is also perfect on more traditional salads, as a sandwich dressing, or even as dipping sauce for sweet potato fries!

To make the tahini dressing:

  1. Whisk together the tahini, lemon, garlic powder, and sea salt.
  2. Add in the water 1 tbsp at a time while you whisk. The dressing should become super creamy and lighter in color.
  3. Use on the pasta salad!

No need for a blender or any complicated emulsified dressing!

Assembling the pasta salad:

If you’ve never made pasta salad before, then you’re in for a treat. It’s so easy, yet absolutely delicious. You’d think you worked harder for the outcome of this recipe!

You’ll simply toss the cooked pasta along with the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and chickpeas. Then drizzle the tahini dressing over the pasta salad, and toss again.

Right before serving, top with grated vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!

Easy pasta salad variations

What’s great about this Mediterranean inspired healthy pasta salad is that you can easily customize it to your taste preferences!

  • Make it an Italian Pasta Salad: swap in sun-dried tomatoes and roasted zucchini for a more Sicilian-style pasta salad.
  • Or make it a more Greek inspired pasta salad! Use vegan feta instead of Parmesan, and add in sliced red onions!
  • Switch up the dressing: easily make this a pesto pasta salad by using a homemade or store-bought vegan pesto. The Trader Joe’s Kale cashew pesto is amazing!
  • Add in more of your favorite raw veggies: this could be sliced or shredded carrots, sliced red cabbage, sliced jicama, diced celery, and more!

Pasta Salad Recipe FAQ’s

Here are a few of the top questions that come up when making a pasta salad for the first time! If you have any additional questions, please be sure to leave a comment below at the bottom of this post 🙂

What pasta shape is best for pasta salad?

I recommend using a pasta shape that isn’t long (so not spaghetti!). For this vegan pasta salad, the best shapes are penne, bowties, rotini, fusilli, farfalle, or rotini.

Should you rinse pasta for cold pasta salad?

This is technically the only time you should rinse your pasta: when using it in pasta salad! This will help the pasta cool faster, which means you can toss everything together (and not cook the other raw veggies!).

What’s the best gluten free pasta for pasta salad?

There are a few different options for gluten free pasta that you could use if you need this to be a gluten free pasta salad.

For a protein packed vegan pasta salad: I recommend using a chickpea and bean-based pasta shape.

For grain-free pasta salad: I would recommend using Jovial Foods cassava penne. Then this would also qualify as a Paleo friendly pasta salad!

For regular gluten free pasta salad: you can use a brown rice-based pasta shape.

creamy pasta salad

What’s the best vegan cheese brand for pasta salad?

I recommend Violife Foods for a vegan cheese to use in this pasta salad. For this specific recipe, I used their vegan parmesan, which I grated over the salad (just like regular parm!), but their vegan feta block would also be amazing.

Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time?

You can absolutely make this pasta salad a day ahead of time, but I wouldn’t recommend any more time between the prep and the serving. This is because after the pasta salad has been dressed, a few days later in the fridge it will start to become soggy. Not super soggy, but definitely not the consistency you want when serving to a crowd of people.

If you do need to make this vegan pasta salad ahead of time: simply assemble the pasta salad, but wait to dress it until the day you’re serving the pasta.

simple vegan pasta salad

How to serve pasta salad:

Pasta salad is a wonderful side dish for any summer get together, cookout, or barbecue. Here are a few of my favorite vegan dishes I recommend when serving this pasta salad:

How to store leftover pasta salad:

If you have any leftover pasta salad, simply store the leftovers in an airtight glass container and in the fridge for up to 4 days.

plate of vegan pasta salad

You are just going to absolutely love this Mediterranean inspired easy vegan pasta salad. It’s so simple and quick to make and tastes just amazing. Even your non vegan friends and family are going to LOVE it! If you try this pasta salad recipe, please leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below so that others may find this recipe!

As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there!

Happy cooking!

More vegan pasta recipes you’ll love:

Amazing Paleo Vegan Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Copycat Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

Healthy Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

Easy + Healthy Vegan Pasta Salad (Gluten Free!)
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Easy + Healthy Vegan Pasta Salad (Gluten Free!)

Easy + Healthy Vegan Pasta Salad (Gluten Free)

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Super light and refreshing quick and easy creamy vegan pasta salad that’s perfect for a healthy summer side dish! With a zesty lemon tahini dressing and minimal gluten free ingredients, this Mediterranean pasta salad is perfect for all eaters and any summer party!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Simple Pasta Salad:

  • 1/2 lb (2 cups) uncooked pasta (I like Jovial Foods Penne or Bow Tie pasta!)
  • 6 medium compari tomatoes
  • 3 small Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, save the aquafaba for a vegan dessert recipe! See notes!
  • Fresh basil and vegan parmesan to garnish

Garlic Tahini Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp water, divided

Instructions

  1. First, cook the pasta: add water to a medium pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the water to medium-heat and add in the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the box or until the pasta is just past al dente. Drain the pasta over a colander, and rinse quickly in cold water. Pour the pasta into a large bowl, and set aside so that the pasta can cool to room temperature (toss the pasta in 1 tsp olive oil if using a bean pasta, such as chickpea pasta, to prevent sticking)
  2. Prepare the pasta salad ingredients: slice the compari tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives (if you haven’t purchased them slice), and rinse the chickpeas (save the aquafaba for a vegan dessert recipe, like this vegan chiffon cake!). 
  3. Toss the pasta salad: to the large bowl containing the pasta, add in the tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives, and gently toss all together. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk the tahini together with the lemon, garlic powder, and sea salt to start. Then add in 1 tbsp of water at a time until you reach a creamy and runny consistency, like a traditional dressing. 
  5. Dress the pasta salad: drizzle the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to evenly coat. Top with grated vegan parmesan and fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!
  6. Storing leftovers: store any leftover pasta salad in an airtight large Tupperware or glass container and in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Notes

Gluten Free: use your favorite gluten free pasta for this easy healthy pasta salad.

Protein Packed Option: Use chickpea or bean pasta for extra vegan protein!

Vegan cheese options: I recommend using Forager Project parmesan or for nut free, use Violife’s vegan parmesan or vegan feta here. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving, no vegan cheese
  • Calories: 149
  • Sugar: 1.9 g
  • Sodium: 146.1 mg
  • Fat: 4.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23.1 g
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 5.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: healthy pasta salad, healthy pasta salad recipe, mediterranean pasta salad, easy pasta salad, vegan pasta salad, gluten free pasta salad