Tangy and herby, this quick and easy vegan pasta salad is perfect for BBQs, potlucks, picnics, lunchboxes, and simple summer meatless dinners. It’s got texture and flavor and could easily feed a crowd. Make it in advance and eat all week! Ready in under 30 minutes!
There are so many versions of pasta salad out there, there is truly something for everyone.
This particular vegan pasta salad recipe is fairly classic. Traditional vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and broccoli marry with twisty rotini pasta. Artichokes bring a bit of a briny flavor, which pairs perfectly with the herby lemon dressing. It’s delicious!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Noodles ~ Choose a medium shaped pasta, like rotini (shown here), penne, farfalle, or cavatappi. This is a detailed guide on pasta shapes and the best uses for each one.
Gluten free noodles work great!
Broccoli ~ Chop the broccoli into small bite size pieces. You can add them raw, but I like to quickly steam them by adding them to the colander while draining the hot pasta.
Cucumber ~ Any cucumber will work, but I prefer English cucumbers that don’t require peeling or seeding. Regular garden cucumbers have a waxy skin that needs to be peeled and can be very watery with too many seeds. Using a small spoon, scrape out the seeds if using this type of cucumber.
Artichokes ~ Use canned for convenience. You can buy whole artichoke hearts, quartered or chopped…it doesn’t matter since you’ll be rough chopping them anyway.
Red onion ~ I like red onions for their beautiful color and mild flavor.
Sliced green onions would also be great in this dish.
Extras ~ Other veggies that would be delicious as substitutions or in addition to the ones listed in this vegan pasta salad are chopped raw zucchini, fresh baby spinach, shredded carrots, or chopped bell peppers.
Fresh chopped parsley or dill would be great tossed in just before serving to bring a lovely freshness.
This vegan pasta salad has plenty of crunch from the raw vegetables, but you could also add a handful of sunflower seeds if you want even more.
Take it up a notch with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese just before serving.
Lemon Vinaigrette ~ This simple dressing is made with pantry and fridge staples and is easily whisked by hand.
How to make the recipe
Cook the noodles according to package directions, salting the cooking water well, until tender.
Add the broccoli florets to a large colander and drain the pasta right over the top. This will allow the broccoli to become just a bit more tender. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Place the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, and artichokes to a large bowl. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli.
Whisk all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar.
Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and toss well to combine.
This vegan pasta salad will keep in the fridge for about 4 to 5 days.
Make a big batch and enjoy it all week for quick lunches, no-cook dinners, or easy side dishes.
It’s perfect packed in lunch boxes during the school year, too!
Pro tips for success
~ Salt the pasta water well so you don’t end up with bland pasta.
~ Cook the pasta until tender, not al dente, but not mushy. Once the pasta is rinsed with cold water, it will firm back up a bit.
~ Add the chopped broccoli to the bottom of a colander and drain the hot pasta right over the top. This will allow the broccoli to quickly steam and become slightly tender, but still keep its crunch.
~ Drain the pasta really well before adding it to the other ingredients to ensure the flavors aren’t watered down.
~ Chop all the veggies into small bite size pieces.
~ Use as much or as little of the Lemon Vinaigrette as you like. If you like a really saucy pasta salad, you may want to double the vinaigrette recipe.
~ Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
~ Serve at room temperature, not chilled, for best flavor and texture.
This answer seems to vary widely depending on who you ask. If you are making a hot pasta dish, you never want to rinse your pasta. BUT, for cold pasta salad, I find the texture best if the noodles are rinsed in cold water.
Make sure to drain it very well before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
Yes! You can definitely make this vegan pasta salad in advance.
And you SHOULD!
It tastes even better after the lemon herb vinaigrette has a chance to mingle with the pasta and veggies. Taste and adjust seasonings right before serving.
Here in the Midwest, pasta salad is a staple of backyard BBQs. And BBQ means burgers. Give this lemony salad a try next to my BBQ Kidney Bean and Kale Burger or the super flavorful Falafel Burger.
It would also be great next to my BBQ Chickpea Sandwiches for a fun weeknight dinner.
Going on a picnic? Pack it up with my Curried Tofu Salad Sandwiches or Veggie Wraps.
And don’t forget dessert! My Brown Rice Crispy Treats w/ Strawberries, Cinnamon Chickpea Blondies, or Chocolate Almond Cookies all make the perfect ending to a summer meal.
More vegan picnic salads
- Vegan Potato Salad
- Creamy Vegan Macaroni Salad
- Raw Corn and Radish Salad
- Raw Veggie Chopped Salad
- Vegan Chickpea Salad
- Vegan Quinoa Salad
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Lemon Artichoke Vegan Pasta Salad
For the Pasta Salad
- Cook pasta according to package directions, in well salted water, until tender. Add the broccoli to a large colander and drain the hot pasta right over the top. Rinse with cold water and drain really well.
- Meanwhile, add the cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and red onion to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the drained pasta and broccoli to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.
- Pour on the dressing and mix well to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Storage Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing this dish.