Nothing says spring like a vegan pasta salad. Instead of a typical creamy pasta salad, this spring pasta salad recipe is full of vegetables, vegetable pasta and dressed in an oil-free vinegarette dressing. What I love most about vegan pasta salad is the possibility of making unique versions every time. Today, my focus was spring vegetables from the farmer's market.
In Arizona, we are blessed with farmer's markets everywhere across the valley. That means fresh, farm vegetables all year round. For instance, today, I found the most beautiful asparagus, zucchini, and summer squash. So, I aspired to create a spring pasta salad recipe for my family get-together.
Since I love to cook, I can usually persuade the kids to come over for dinner when I entice them with food. Or, at least that's always the plan. There is nothing better than great vegan food and family to share it with.
When considering a menu, I always think of our plans for the day. Today, for example, I invited the kids for a barbeque and fun in the pool. For that reason, I wanted to prepare food in advance to enjoy the time with the kids. Preparing the vegan pasta salad beforehand allows for the dressing to marinate with vegetables and noodles. As a result, the flavors enhance in the refrigerator.
The raw ingredients for this spring vegan pasta salad
Whenever I make a new salad recipe, I think about texture, taste, and color. It is important to eat a lot of different vegetables, but eating the rainbow allows for maximum nutritional value.
- Summer squash
- Green Onion (scallions)
- Purple cabbage
- Red Bell Peppers
- Grape tomatoes
I used a wavy knife for vegetables to get the fancy cut on my zucchini and summer squash.
- Peas (fresh or frozen)
How to cut and blanch asparagus
First, trim the asparagus by lining up all of the spears in a row and slicing off the ends all at once. It would be best if you cut right where the stalks turn from white into green. Also called the woody end, the difference between these inedible ends and the green asparagus is fairly easy to detect.
Why blanch veegtables?
Although I generally roast my asparagus, today, I decided to blanch it instead. Blanching is a cooking process of scalding the asparagus in boiling water, removing it quickly, and finally plunging it into iced water or placed under cold running water to halt the cooking process.
Blanching stops enzyme actions that otherwise cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. In addition, blanching removes some surface dirt and microorganisms, brightens color, and helps slow vitamin losses.
- Heat water to boiling.
- Cook the cut asparagus in boiling water for 1 to 5 minutes
- Fill a large clean bowl with ice water. ...
- Immediately plunge the asparagus into the ice water.
Because I also wanted to cook frozen peas, and the process is the same, I added the peas in the last two minutes of cooking. As a result, I save myself the step of cooking the peas separately.
Next, transfer the cooked asparagus and peas and place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
For this vegan pasta salad, I chose Trader Joe's Organic Vegetable Pasta, a tri-colored pasta made with spinach, beet, red bell peppers, and paprika. But, any pasta works well with this recipe, including gluten-free pasta.
Assembling the vegan pasta salad
Once the asparagus and peas cool, add cooked and raw vegetables to the cooked and cooled pasta.
How to make a delicious oil-free vinaigrette dressing
The dressing, however simple, brings the salad together with a fresh and tangy flavor.
The dressing Ingredients
- Champagne vinegar
- Maple Syrup or date syrup
- Lemon juice (fresh is best) +zest
- Dijon Mustard
The next time you want to make a fresh entree or side salad, consider a vegan pasta salad. A spring pasta salad, like this one, is perfect for a barbeque, picnic, potluck, or lunch or dinner.
And, add a little tofu or tempeh or some chickpeas for an additional protein source.
If you love spring pasta salads, check out these favorite salad recipes
- Asparagus Salad
- Healthy Greek Pasta Salad
- Spinach Pasta Salad
- Mexican Pasta Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Chickpea Pasta Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Cajun Pasta Salad
- Kale Asian Pasta Salad
- Vegan Macaroni Salad
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂