{Vegan} Pesto Pasta Salad

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.

vegen pesto pasta salad with serving spoons on a yellow and white napkin

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!

pasta, peas, garlic, tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt and pepper on marble background

How to make pesto pasta salad:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions
  2. Drain and rinse under cool water
  3. Add cook pasta to mixing bowl
  4. Add peas and grape tomatoes chopped into quarters
  5. Make pesto recipe and mix in with the pasta
  6. Serve chilled

steps on how to make pesto

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!

  1. Add basil, parsley, and nuts in food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped
  2. Add garlic and nutritional yeast and run on low
  3. Slowly pour in olive oil to emulsify until pesto is well blended
  4. Stop the food processor and stir in salt and pepper to taste

vegan pesto pasta salad in white bowl with wooden board, grape tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper

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

hand holding fork with vegan pesto pasta salad over bowl on marble background

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!

hand holding fork with vegan pesto pasta salad over bowl on marble background

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!

If you like this pasta salad, you’ll LOVE:
Classic Three Bean Salad

Vegan Macaroni Salad

vegen pesto pasta salad with serving spoons on a yellow and white napkin

Quick + Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

This chilled pasta dish is perfect for cookouts and potlucks! Bite-sized pasta, tomatoes, peas, and a delicious homemade vegan pesto make this tasty dish a must try!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chilled pasta salad, cookout side dish, side dish for potluck, summer side dish, vegan pesto
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 318kcal
Author: Amanda


  • 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
  • 1.5 cup peas fresh or frozen

Pesto (makes about 2 cups):

  • 1.5 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.


If you cannot find golden grape tomatoes, can use regular grape tomatoes


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 40.8g | Protein: 11.4g | Fat: 13.9g | Saturated Fat: 1.7g | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 309mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 3.6mg

Pesto recipe was loosely adapted from Simply Recipes

Please note this post may contain affiliate links which do not impact the cost to you but gives me a small commission. Thank you for your support!


10 thoughts on “{Vegan} Pesto Pasta Salad”

  1. 5 stars
    This sounds really delicious Amanda. I love the idea of trying a pesto with walnuts. I bet that is super tasty! Thanks for the recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    How delicious!! I love a good pasta salad and making it vegan is even better. Such pretty flavors and colors in this. Can’t wait to try.

  3. 5 stars
    I had a salad similar to this a while ago and have been trying to figure out how to recreate it, thank you so much! I love remaking pasta salads for easy weekday lunch options.

  4. 5 stars
    I love a good pasta salad during the Summer, you pesto variation sounds so fresh. Perfect when vegan friends come around.


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