This vegan pasta salad with creamy lemon dressing is the perfect addition to your summer barbecue or picnic! It’s easy to make, full of fresh flavor and completely customizable.
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Growing up, my mom made pasta salad allllll the time. Probably because it was easy and we could get many meals out of it. But also because pasta was basically all I ate as a kid! Honestly, that’s still partially true :/
I always picked out the veggies, so times have certainly changed. This vegan pasta salad has a base of pasta (I bet that came as a shock), fresh veggies like peas, tomatoes and bell peppers. Plus a few lightly sauteed ones like asparagus and chopped kale.
Top it all off with a simple lemon garlic dressing made from hemp hearts, which yields a super creamy consistency without the need for nuts or dairy.
Essentially just pasta, beans, veggies and a creamy lemon dressing! There are no “rules” for pasta salad. You can add whatever you like! I generally do some sort of bean and lots of veggies.
However, the exact veggies you decide on are totally up to you. You’ll then want to coat everything in a dressing, and let me just say that this is the BEST dressing for pasta salad.
It’s easy, creamy, but also light and fresh. It’s very nutritious and both vegan and gluten free. That’s a win win win in my book!
Pasta salads are perfect to prep for any sort of get together because they only get better with age. The pasta and veggies soak up all the flavors from the dressing and it becomes even more flavorful than fresh.
If you’re planning to prepare this ahead of time, I recommend adding half of the dressing, mixing everything up, and then saving the second half of the dressing to add right before you’re going to serve.
That way you get the benefit of the marinating flavors and the feel that it’s totally fresh.
Recipe tips & tricks
- I used brown rice pasta to keep this recipe gluten free. However, any pasta will work. I just like brown rice pasta because it holds it shape well and has a similar taste and texture to regular pasta. The only down side to using a gluten free pasta is that they tend to dry out in the fridge within just a few hours. You can fix this by adding a bit of oil and making sure it is well covered before storing.
- You can add virtually any vegetables you want into this dish. Tomatoes, shredded carrots, edamame, radishes-anything goes! I wanted to keep it green, but feel free to play around.
- This vegan pasta salad will last in the fridge for up to 5 days. I often find that pasta salads taste better after a day or so because all of the flavors get to integrate.
- For a more tangy flavor to the dressing, you can add about a tablespoon of dijon mustard.
- This pasta salad recipe is perfect for a crowd, party, or a barbecue! You can make it way in advance, let it sit in the fridge, and take it out when you’re ready to serve.
Looking for some summer recipes? Try these!
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Creamy Avocado Mango Smoothie
- Lemon Coconut Energy Bites
- Fluffy Blueberry Muffins
Vegan Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta
- 1 can white beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch kale
- 1 small bunch of asparagus
- 1 cup peas (defrosted)
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 5 green onion stalks
- 2/3 cup hemp hearts
- 2/3 cup unsweetened (unflavored non-dairy milk)
- Juice from 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup juice)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black or white pepper
- Optional: 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Prepare all your veggies by cutting off the stems of the asparagus (the bottom inch or two), chopping the kale into small bites, and dicing the bell pepper, tomatoes and green onion.
- Add the kale and asparagus to a pan with a splash of olive oil. Let saute for about 5 minutes so they soften.
- Add the peas during the last few minutes or add them to the microwave for 1-2 minutes to defrost.
- Prepare the dressing by adding all ingredients into a blender and process until completely smooth, about 1 full minute. Taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon if desired.
- Drain and rinse the pasta and beans and add to a large bowl.
- Add in the veggies and dressing.
- Mix until everything is well incorporated.
- Top with red pepper flakes and additional chopped scallions.