Vegan Pasta Salad

This easy vegan pasta salad recipe is full of healthy ingredients and flavor and comes together in minutes. Cooked pasta is tossed in an Italian vinaigrette with all your favorite veggies!

A bowl of pasta salad featuring black olives and broccoli sits in front of another bowl.

Pasta salad recipes are great all-year side dishes. However, I love serving salad recipes in the summer months when you want to keep recipes quick and easy.

This is such a great vegan pasta salad recipe because it uses gluten-free pasta to make it perfect for just about anyone.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using rotini pasta is the best for pasta salads because it captures the dressing, delivering delicious flavor in every bite
  • Black olives add pops of color and flavor
  • Using bite-sized cauliflower and broccoli florets helps the veggies tenderize under the influence of the vinaigrette.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Pasta — I use gluten-free rotini pasta or you can substitute regular or whole-wheat rotini pasta.
  • Fresh broccoli florets — I cut the broccoli into small, bite-size pieces. You can substitute frozen.
  • Fresh cauliflower florets — This guide for cutting cauliflower is so helpful in creating cauliflower florets. You can substitute frozen cauliflower florets.
  • Onion — Use a yellow onion for a milder flavor.
  • Black olives — This is optional but it adds color and flavor.
  • Italian dressing — You can use storebought or make your own Italian vinaigrette.

How to Make Pasta Salad

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.
  2. Chop the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-size florets. Place them along with chopped onions in a serving dish.
  3. Use a colander over the sink to drain the pasta cooking water. Then pour hot pasta over broccoli/cauliflower florets and chopped onions. Stir the ingredients together and cover to allow the heat from the pasta to steam the veggies for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the black olives and Italian dressing, stirring until well coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
A hand holds a measuring cup pouring dressing over pasta salad.

Storage Tips

Store pasta salad in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

Serving Suggestions

Looking for pasta salad ideas? Consider adding any of these additions:

Marly’s Tips

Use these expert tips to make this vegan pasta salad perfect every time!

  • Do not overcook the pasta. Al dente is perfect for pasta salad.
  • Use gluten-free pasta to make this a gluten-free pasta salad.
  • Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette for added flavor.
  • The best pasta for pasta salad has a surface area and crinkles to trap the dressing. I like using rotini, but other shapes like penne work too.
  • For a creamy vegan pasta salad, mix the Italian dressing with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegan mayo or cashew cream before combining with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add even more flavor with some walnut pesto.

How many calories are in pasta salad?

Assuming six servings of rotini pasta salad per batch, each serving contains an estimate of 117 calories per serving. To transform this into a low-carb pasta salad, use low-carb bean noodles, and use a sugar-free Italian dressing.

Can you heat up cold pasta salad?

You can put vegan pasta salads in the fridge for an hour or so and serve them cold. Or you can add some steamed broccoli with vegan parmesan sprinkled on top and serve it warm. It’s a tasty dish either way.

More Italian Recipes

Be sure and give these delicious vegan Italian dishes a spin:

Looking down on a bowl full of pasta salad, showing rotini noodles, broccoli, cauliflower, and black olives.
Looking down on a bowl full of pasta salad, showing rotini noodles, broccoli, cauliflower, and black olives.

Vegan Pasta Salad

Vegan Pasta Salad makes a perfect side dish. Serve it as a summer salad or any time of the year!
5 from 3 votes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 117kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • 2 cups multi-colored rotini pasta uncooked (see note)
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup fresh cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup sliced black olives
  • ¼ cup Italian vinaigrette (see note)

Instructions

  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add pasta, and boil for 8 minutes.
  • In the meantime prepare the broccoli and cauliflower florets, and chop/slice onions and black olives. Place these in a serving/storing dish.
  • When the pasta is done, pour it into a strainer over the sink to remove water.
  • Rinse the pasta for a second or two. Pour hot pasta over broccoli/cauliflower florets and chopped onions. Stir the ingredients together and cover to allow the heat from the pasta to steam the broccoli, cauliflower, and onions. Let that sit for about 10 minutes or so until the pasta has cooled.
  • Add the black olives and Italian dressing, stir until everything is well coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Notes

*Use gluten-free pasta & dressing to make this a gluten-free pasta dish.
I recommend using fresh broccoli and cauliflower, but you can use frozen.
Rotini pasta is perfect for pasta salad because it traps the dressing in the folds.
Use a low-carb pasta and a no-sugar-added Italian vinaigrette to make this into a low-carb side dish.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 117 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Sodium 196mg8%
Potassium 160mg5%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 115IU2%
Vitamin C 22mg27%
Calcium 18mg2%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

6 Responses to Vegan Pasta Salad

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMiss @ Miss in the Kitchen Reply

    Nothing better than a good pasta salad! Looks like a wonderful wedding, congrats to your nephew and his new bride!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySommer@ASpicyPerspective Reply

    Gorgeous wedding and pasta salad. Love the fresh clean flavors. 🙂

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKiran @ KiranTarun.com Reply

    The mention of Bee Gees brought back great memories. Love their songs 🙂

    And that bowl of delicious pasta looks amazing!!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Ahh, thanks, Kiran! I was surprised after not hearing their music for several years, I could still recite most of the lyrics. Well, except for that one line in Stayin’ Alive…”It’s ok, you may look the other way. We can try to understand or…”

      What the heck are they saying there? I just make stuff up and sing along! I’m sure it sounds really goofy because my family looks at me like I fell of an asteroid captured by the earth’s orbit.

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMiranda @ Working Mom Works Out Reply

    Just found you blog. Love it!

    Very pretty wedding pictures and your pasta salad looks great and easy… Right down my alley!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMaria Reply

    Oh what a lovely wedding so solemnly elegant. Thank you for posting the cute salad pictures. It’s simple yet very elegant in doiley, very luscious, healthy and full of inspiration. Lucky nephew he’s got a wonderful Aunt.

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