This vegan pasta salad with creamy lemon dressing is the perfect addition to your summer barbecue or picnic! It’s quick, easy to make, oil free, full of fresh flavor and completely customizable.
Growing up, my mom made pasta salad all 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 gluten free or regular wheat pasta, fresh veggies like peas, tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers.
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, mayo or dairy.
This recipe is 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, gluten free pasta and lots of fresh raw veggies.
There is no one vegetable that goes best in a pasta salad, so the exact vegetables you decide on are totally up to you. I prefer using raw vegetables, but if you want to saute some in oil first, that works too!
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 made with a base of hemp seeds which make this a protein rich recipe, but tastes like a rich and creamy dairy filled dressing!
How to make pasta salad
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Dice/chop all of the veggies.
Defrost your peas in the microwave (takes about a minute) or steam on the stove for a few minutes.
Prepare the dressing by adding all ingredients into a blender and process until completely smooth, about 30 seconds. 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. I usually add half the dressing, toss, then add more as needed. If you’re using gluten free pasta like I did, I find it absorbs the dressing a bit more as it sits, so I’ll wait to add the rest of the dressing until ready to serve!
Mix until everything is well incorporated. Top with red pepper flakes and additional chopped scallions. This recipe is also great with avocado mixed in, I just usually add it at the end so it doesn’t get mushy! Enjoy!
What kind of pasta is best?
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 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! As far as pasta shape goes, whatever you like will work!
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.
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.
Looking for some summer recipes? Try these!
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Vegan Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
by: claire cary
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta I used gluten free
- 1 can white beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped grape tomatoes I used yellow
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup peas defrosted
- 1 yellow bell pepper or any color!
- 4 green onion stalks
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs I like basil, cilantro or parsley
- ⅔ cup hemp hearts
- ⅔ cup unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk I used almond
- Juice from 2 lemons about 1/4 cup juice
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ – ½ tsp black
- Optional: 1 tbsp dijon mustard makes it taste more like caesar!
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Dice/chop all of the veggies.
- Defrost your peas in the microwave (takes about a minute) or steam on the stove for a few minutes.
- Prepare the dressing by adding all ingredients into a blender and process until completely smooth, about 30 seconds. 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. I usually add half the dressing, toss, then add more as needed. If you're using gluten free pasta like I did, I find it absorbs the dressing a bit more as it sits, so I'll wait to add the rest of the dressing until ready to serve!
- Mix until everything is well incorporated, then toss in the fresh herbs.
- Top with red pepper flakes and additional chopped scallions. Enjoy!
Jodi Betz says
I made this wonderful pasta salad tonight and decided to add a tablespoon of capers and wow, it really gave the pasta salad a nice zing! I will definitely keep this in my salad repertoire.
Claire Cary says
Oh love that addition! Can’t wait to try that!
This dressing!!! Wow! I have been getting so tired of peanut or orange sauces on my buddha bowls. Today I tried this lemon dressing and can’t get over how delicious this tastes! I am putting this on everything! Thank you!
Claire Cary says
Yay! It’s always nice to mix it up! So happy you enjoyed it.
Victoria Sol says
Looks Delicious! Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to make it. What non-dairy mild do you recommend?
Claire Cary says
I usually use plain/unsweetened almond milk!
Sarah | Well and Full says
This salad looks so fresh and delicious! Perfect for spring!
Claire Cary says
Thanks Sarah! It’s one of my favorites!