Vegan pasta salad: we’ve been here before! My last vegan pasta salad was an Instagram hit which earned me a good chunk of my current followers. It was everything you love in a pasta salad–creamy dressing, just the right amount of mix-ins, perfect for making ahead–veganized!
So just like with my last post, vegan spaghetti squash pie, I decided to revisit an NCK fan favorite, this time adding a Greek salad spin to an already vegan pasta salad. Summer 2021, I present to you: vegan Greek pasta salad.
Greek Salad Essentials
Before you run off and make this pasta salad for your next vegan-friendly potluck, or add it to next week’s meal plan, I’ll give you the rundown of what I think every good Greek salad should include, no matter the format:
- Red onion
- Green bell pepper (IMO it must be GREEN)
- Kalamata olives
- Tomatoes in some form (we use sun dried here)
- Cucumber: for me, NOT essential, but highly desirable
Let’s talk about feta for a minute. I was telling a neighbor the other day that I really don’t miss non-vegan cheese, but if I HAD to pick one, feta was my favorite. My kids ate it, and it has that acidic bite that I love in pretty much any food. I would definitely have put it on the list as a Greek salad essential one year ago, and a vegan feta was on my grocery list for this pasta salad. But alas, I was out of luck because that particular store didn’t have one, and gone are the days where I’ll visit multiple grocery stores in one outing (especially if an almost-two-year-old is along for the ride).
Suffice it to say, though, Greek pasta salad is 100% complete without feta of any kind. The olives totally do the job of the salty, pungent cheese, and you also get creamy texture from the dressing. If you have a vegan feta that you love then GO FOR IT, but it’s not at all necessary to make this a hit pasta salad.
Doubling Pasta Salads for Batch Cooking
Unless you own one of those GIGANTIC stock pots and a very powerful stove, your average pot is not big enough to boil two pounds of pasta in one go round. I use a 7 quart pot which comfortably boils one pound, but not two. So how do I prep pasta salads, a house favorite, batch cooking style?
- Double the recipe. Click the handy “2x” button below to convert the recipe card to a big batch.
- Prep the dressing. Get out two containers (mason jars work great) and measure out a single batch of dressing into each container. Shake, stir, or whisk.
- Prep salad mix-ins. Combine all ingredients except the pasta and dressing.
- Boil one pound of pasta now. Combine with ingredients as directed in the recipe.
- Make the second batch. At least a couple hours before serving the second batch, boil the other pound of pasta and prepare the salad as directed. Chill until it’s time to eat.
If you’re heading to a potluck or just serving a ton of people at once, you’ll want to boil the pasta batches back-to-back, since you need all the pasta salad ready at once. You’ll need a REALLY big bowl or container to hold a double batch, or use two containers (I like my large mixing bowls with lids).
It’s only fitting that this recipe is coming out right around Memorial Day. Although I’ll be spending it like we do most other weekends–on park and coffee walks, mediating fighting toddlers, working out, and trying to keep the house some semblance of clean–it’s a great time to be kicking off peak pasta salad season!Print
Greek salad, but better: transformed into a cool, satisfying pasta salad with a tangy, creamy (vegan!) dressing. Great for weeknight dinner or weekend picnics!
1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni (or other favorite pasta)
1 C vegan mayo
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/3 C pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 C finely diced red onion
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and diced (about 1 C)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 C)
1/4 C finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (I use oil packed and blot them dry)
1 1/2 C chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 can)
Fresh herbs for topping, if desired
Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water until no longer steaming.
To make the dressing, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, garlic salt, maple syrup, black pepper to taste, and dried oregano.
To a large bowl, add cooked pasta, olives, vegetables, tomatoes, and chickpeas. If serving immediately, gently stir with all the dressing. If preparing in advance, stir in half the dressing. The pasta will absorb some of the dressing, so add the other half when ready to serve.
Feel free to use a gluten free pasta to make the recipe gluten free.