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Creamy Italian pasta salad served in a large, white enamel bowl with a cherry red rim. The pasta salad is topped with fresh cherry tomatoes & some oregano leaves. The bowl sits atop a white marble surface, next to a red & white striped linen & some fresh oregano leaves.

Creamy Vegan Italian Pasta Salad

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8-12 1x
  • Category: Pasta Recipes, Main Dish, Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Your new go-to pasta salad – a Creamy Vegan Italian Pasta Salad, made with tomatoes, bell peppers, kalamata olives, artichokes, the dreamiest creamy roasted red pepper cashew dressing. Naturally dairy-free & vegetarian, oil-free, easily gluten-free, & super quick & easy to make – perfect to make-ahead for summer parties or an easy meatless dinner! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 16 ounces short pasta of choice (see Recipe Notes)
  • 16 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded & diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 12-ounce jar kalamata olives, drained & halved
  • 1 12-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained & halved or quartered
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

for the vegan creamy Italian dressing:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil or dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water. Add in the pasta and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Drain the pasta, rinsing with cold water, and set aside.
  2. Make the creamy Italian dressing: Meanwhile, as the pasta boils, prep the dressing. Add all listed ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  3. Assemble the creamy Italian pasta salad: Add the halved tomatoes to a large mixing bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, tossing to combine. Add in the bell pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and cooked pasta. Pour the creamy Italian dressing over top. Toss to combine, seasoning with additional kosher salt & ground black pepper as needed.
  4. Serve & enjoy! You can serve this pasta salad immediately, though we like it best after it has sat for a few hours (the flavors come together even better!). Serve it at your next potluck-style summer BBQ or alongside your favorite summer dinners, like these grilled black bean burgers. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Pasta: To make this Italian pasta salad vegan, be sure to use your favorite vegan pasta. I love DeLallo’s whole wheat pastas – they are delicious, have great texture & they’re totally vegan-friendly. While I prefer a textured short noodle for this vegan southwest pasta salad recipe (the creamy vegan Italian dressing clings to it really nicely!), you can use whatever shape you like best.
  • Storage: This creamy vegan Italian pasta salad will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. The cashew dressing will thicken as it sits, so feel free to stir in a drizzle of water just before serving to liven it back up!
  • 20-Minute Meal Prep: This Creamy Italian Pasta Salad recipe is easy & quick to make, especially if you’re able to do a little prep in advance. Simply follow the steps below & at dinnertime all you have to do is boil the pasta & toss it all together – easy!
    • Halve the cherry tomatoes & dice the bell pepper & red onion. If you have time, prep the kalamata olives & artichoke hearts while you’re at it! Store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
    • Blend the creamy Italian dressing according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The dressing will thicken quite a bit as it sits – simply stir in a few splashes of water before tossing together the pasta salad.

Keywords: Creamy Vegan Italian Pasta Salad, Vegan Pasta Salad recipe, vegetarian, dairy-free, oil-free, quick, easy, summer, for a crowd, make-ahead