Homemade vegan pesto, grape tomatoes, peas, and gemelli pasta create this delicious side dish. Bring this vegan pesto pasta salad to a cookout for a healthy chilled pasta salad.
I love pasta salad. I mean who wouldn’t? It’s carbs, veggies, and an irresistible dressing. I love that this recipe is not mayonnaise-base and it full of fresh Summer vegetables.
Here’s a break down of the ingredients:
- Grape tomatoes: Great source of antioxidants. Used a combination of yellow and red for a colorful touch!
- Peas: Contain some serious heart-healthy minerals and add a great texture element
- Gemelli pasta: I love this fun, bite-size shape. Perfect for a chilled pasta salad like this one!
note: can substitute with shells, farfalle (bowtie), rotini, macaroni, or any other bite-sized pasta
- Homemade pesto: Pesto is beyond easy to make and this version is VEGAN!
How to make pesto pasta salad:
- Cook pasta according to package instructions
- Drain and rinse under cool water
- Add cook pasta to mixing bowl
- Add peas and grape tomatoes chopped into quarters
- Make pesto recipe and mix in with the pasta
- Serve chilled
How to make pesto:
Pesto is super easy to make and this recipe is vegan! Pesto typically includes parmesan and romano cheeses, but not this one!
Pesto is the perfect sauce to make in Summer when basil is in season. If you have basil plants in your garden and don’t know what to make, look no further!
- Add basil, parsley, and nuts in food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped
- Add garlic and nutritional yeast and run on low
- Slowly pour in olive oil to emulsify until pesto is well blended
- Stop the food processor and stir in salt and pepper to taste
Ways to customize pesto:
- Substitute walnuts with pine nuts. Traditional pesto calls for pine nuts but walnuts work great and are usually a lot cheaper!
- Substitute some of the basil with parsley for a deeper flavor profile
- Use parmesan or romano cheese instead of nutritional yeast if non-vegan
Variations of pesto pasta salad:
- Add feta cheese
- Substitute gemelli pasta with a whole wheat version
- Use a gluten-free pasta for a GF side dish!
This pesto pasta recipe is perfect for potlucks, cookouts, BBQs, or just a quick and easy Summer side. It’s healthy, filling, and a delicious side dish!
If you tried this vegan pesto pasta salad, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!
Quick + Easy Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 16-ounce box gemelli pasta can substitute with farfalle, fusilli, rotini, shells, or macaroni
- 3/4 cup red grape tomatoes quartered
- 3/4 cup golden grape tomatoes quartered
- 1-1/2 cup peas fresh or frozen
Pesto (makes about 2 cups):
- 1-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves packed
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley packed (can substitute with 1/2 cup basil or baby spinach)
- 1/3 cup walnuts can substitute with pine nuts
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast can substitute with parmesan or romano cheese if not vegan
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil can substitute with grapeseed or avocado oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and reduce heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente.
- Drain pasta and rinse with cool water. Place in large mixing bowl.
- Add quartered grape tomatoes and peas
To Make Pesto:
- Add basil, parsley, and walnuts to a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped (about 8 times)
- Add nutritional yeast and garlic cloves. Blend on low.
- With the food processor running, slowly pour olive oil to emulsify until well blended. Stop the food processor and season with salt and pepper.
- Using a rubber spatula, pour pesto into mixing bowl with pasta and veggies. Mix well.
- Serve chilled. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Pesto recipe was loosely adapted from Simply Recipes
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