31 Vegan Pasta Salads

by Shelley · May contain affiliate links

Published Updated May 27, 2022

~ These Vegan Pasta Salads will delight both vegans and non-vegans! Try a traditional flavor combo like Italian, Thai, or ranch. Or dive into some truly creative, uniquely delicious recipes (Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, anyone?!?). Perfect for a potluck or picnic side dish, or choose one of the protein-rich versions as a main course. Psssst … and don’t miss our “Top Tips” for making your own fabulous vegan pasta salad recipes, too! ~

Collage of 5 recipe photos with text overlay "30+ Vegan Pasta Salad Recipes Even Non-Vegans Will Love!".

Pasta salads are an easy way to keep both vegans and their meat-a-saurus friends blissfully happy.

In fact, a lot of pasta salads are vegan to begin with – no need to make swaps. And (as we discuss in our “Tips” section below), there are plenty of easy swaps that can actually make your pasta salad MORE delicious, as well as making it vegan!

Whether you’re following a vegan diet, or you’re heading to a picnic where some of the guests are vegan … or you’re just looking for healthy recipes with inventive and delicious new ways of incorporating lots of veggies … you’ll love all these easy Vegan Pasta Salad ideas!

No doubt, pasta salad is a scrumptious blank canvas for endlessly unique ingredient combinations and flavorful salad dressings.

And pasta salads are generally a showcase for gorgeous produce. It’s a cinch to make them pretty, because there are so many colorful add-ins to enjoy.

Plus, there are lots of ways to easily pump up the protein if you want to. (Hello, beans and quinoa and nuts!)

As an added bonus: it’s usually simple to make vegan pasta salads gluten-free, too, often just by choosing gluten-free pasta.

Drool over all the ideas in our collection below, and then scroll down to check out our “Top Tips” for making great vegan pasta salads, and for converting favorite pasta salads to be vegan.

Vegan Pasta Salads

How to Make Vegan Pasta Salads (Top Tips)

Is Pasta Vegan?

Most dry pasta is inherently vegan. One exception to this is dried egg noodles, which (as the name suggests) include eggs.

On the other hand, fresh pasta is typically NOT vegan, because it often includes eggs and sometimes milk.

Of course, if you’re following a vegan diet, you should read the package carefully to be sure the ingredient list is completely vegan. Living My Veg Life has a terrific list of vegan-friendly ingredients typically found in pasta, as well as a list of vegan-friendly pasta brands.

Vegan Pasta Salad Dressing Swaps

“Traditional” creamy pasta salad dressings often rely on mayo, sour cream, Greek yogurt and other non-vegan ingredients to get that creamy texture.

With so many plant-based alternatives on the market today, it’s pretty easy to swap vegan versions of these ingredients.

As you’ll see in our recipe collection above, though, there are lots of other creative solutions to concocting a satisfyingly creamy dressing without dairy. A couple common options are soaked cashews or coconut milk, both of which give that creamy-dreamy vibe, and also add their own yummy layers of flavor to the final salad.

Another option is to ditch the creamy dressing in favor of a vinaigrette. Vinaigrette ingredients such as vinegars, olive oil, and spices are more likely to be inherently vegan.

One caution: if your vinaigrette includes a pinch of sweetness, remember to keep that vegan by reaching for a vegan sweetener like maple syrup instead of honey or sugars filtered with bone char.

Vegan Pasta Salad Mix-Ins

As I mentioned before, lots of pasta salads are “accidentally” vegan, without even trying.

In part, that’s because they often includes loads of veggies, and don’t often focus on meat.

Closeup of cooked penne pasta and peas draining in a colander before being made into a final recipe.

But, what if you’re trying to convert a favorite recipe that does include meat – maybe pepperoni in an Italian Pasta Salad, or ham in a “picnic” salad?

You could, of course, look for a plant-based meat-substitute option.

But honestly, the easiest thing to do might simply be to leave out the meat. You probably won’t even miss it!

If you do feel a little something is missing, try adding a bit more dry herbs and spices, or adding in a tasty veggie. For example, tangy pepperoncini peppers can be a big flavor pop in Italian salads. So can super-flavorful Kalamata olives, and also sun-dried tomatoes.

How to Make Vegan Pasta Salads More Filling

It’s easy to add protein to your pasta salad, without adding meat – especially perfect if you want to enjoy your salad as a satisfying main course.

One option is to add protein-rich ingredients like:

  • Beans (think kidney beans in a Mexican-inspired salad)
  • Chickpeas (especially great in Mediterranean salads)
  • Edamame (mmmmmm … so good in Asian salads, for sure)
  • Quinoa (yup – stir in some of that right along with the pasta!)
  • Nuts (whether as part of the dressing or as a salad ingredient)
  • Tofu (again, either as a component in a creamy dressing, or you can add chunks of firm tofu to the salad)
  • Vegan “meat” and “cheese” substitutes (based on plant proteins like soy)

Another option is to select a protein-rich pasta made from something like chickpea flour (but as we discussed above, always double-check those ingredient lists to be sure the entire product is completely plant-based and vegan-friendly).

Yup … Vegan Salad Recipes Even Meat-Lovers Will Adore!

There’s no doubt that pasta salads beautifully lend themselves to all those parties and potlucks where there’s a mix of dietary needs. They’re kind of like the Switzerland of food – gracefully staying neutral and keeping the peace.

Since pasta salads rarely include meat to begin with, nobody really feels like they’re missing something.

And these recipe ideas and tips will help you be sure you’re selecting plant-based ingredients and swaps.

So, whether you specifically want a vegan recipe … or just a nutritious recipe idea that’ll fit right into any health-minded cooking situation … well, you’ve definitely come to the right place!

Collage of 4 recipe photos with the text overlay, "30+ Vegan Pasta Salad Recipes Non-Vegans Will Love, Too!".

Get More Veg-Focused Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes!

Simply trying to incorporate more veggies into your diet? Or maybe you’re following a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet? Either way, we’ve got lots more ideas for you to explore!

  • We’ve also created a whole collection of main course Vegan Pasta meals you’ll love!
  • And we have a gorgeous collection of the very BEST Vegetarian Meals from bloggers all across the Internet (for ideas that go way beyond pastas to sandwiches, curries, tacos and more … but include a few additional pasta recipes, too).

2 thoughts on “31 Vegan Pasta Salads”

  1. I just tried one of these Vegan Pasta Salads, and it was a hit at my last summer gathering! So refreshing and flavorful. Thanks for sharing such a delicious and healthy dish! 🌱🍝😋

    • You’re so welcome! Pasta salads are always total winners at summer parties, but I feel like more and more people also want them to be healthier and more veg-forward. I’m delighted this list delivered for you! Which one did you try? ~Shelley


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