Healthy Vegetable Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Jul 20, 2023| By JOI team

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Jul 20, 2023| By JOI team

Healthy Vegetable Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Almond-Base | Cashew-Base | Dairy-Free | Dinner | Dressing+Dip | Lunch | Oat-Powder | Recipe | salad | Vegan | Vegetarian | 

Looking for a surprising twist on your typical ("pasta") salad? One that's packed with vegetables and tied together with a delicious, dairy-free, light and creamy dressing? This easy pasta salad is the answer!

vegetable pasta

How is this Pasta Salad Different?

Sure, we've all had pasta salad. Whether it's an Italian pasta salad with Italian dressing and parmesan or goat cheese. Or Greek pasta salad with black onions, bell peppers feta cheese. Or that uber-creamy one (your "classic pasta salad") loaded with mayonnaise that shouldn't stay out in the sun too long (silent scream!).

Which is why we thought it was time for a pasta salad re-fresh. Take the best of what's we're looking for - macaroni! tons of veggies! loads of flavor! But give it a new twist.

Our answer: creamy melon dressing. You've got to try this delicious dressing. The light, refreshing sweetness of the melon pairs perfectly with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and thyme. The JOI oat milk powder adds creamy dreaminess. Blend it all together (don't forget salt and pepper) to make your pasta salad dressing. Presto! You've got a surprisingly perfect complement to your pasta and vegetable salad base.

The other secret to making this summer salad a memorable side dish for any occasion? We're tossing in fresh apricot with the veggies for a delightful surprise in every bite.

Who would have thought adding cantaloupe to the dressing and apricot to the salad would make such a flavorful statement?!

vegetable pasta

What Makes this Pasta Salad Healthy?

This pasta salad recipe is already loaded with fresh veggies:

  • cucumber
  • zucchini
  • cherry tomatoes
  • purple cabbage

And as a bonus, you're getting the healthful benefits of apricots!  If apricots are not in season, or not looking their best, try substituting a different stone fruit.  Peaches, nectarines, or even pitted cherries would taste great and add fresh fruit nutrition.

Feel free to add even more healthfulness i.e., vegetables. Red bell peppers and red onion would be a great addition. Sugar snap peas, shredded carrots or yellow squash work well too.

Want to keep it gluten-free? substitute a gluten-free pasta or a grain, like farro or quinoa, instead of the pasta.

Ditching dairy? No problems here. This recipe is vegan. The creaminess in the dressing comes from the addition of JOI oat milk powder. It's a single-ingredient, oil-free solution to packaged oat milk alternatives! Plus it's shelf stable so you'll never run out of oat milk again ;)

vegetable pasta

How to Serve this Salad?

Traditionally, pasta salad smacks of side dish. It's perfect for pot lucks and barbecues - especially because our recipe is different enough to make a statement.

Why not top it with your favorite protein, though, and let it be the main dish of lunch or dinner? Grilled chicken breast, tofu, nuts (cashews, sliced almonds, pecans...endless possibilities) or seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) would add heartiness.

This salad can be served warm or cold. If you've just cooked pasta and tossed together all the ingredients, room temperature will work. Or, make it ahead and chill it if you'd like to serve it cold. Perhaps add some fresh herbs into that large bowl at the last minute to add a dose of fresh flavor.

What Are Some Variations on this Salad?

Time marches on, and so the seasons change.  Find yourself in October or November wanting to make a pasta salad, the dog days of summer and all its produce a distant memory?  Fear not!  

For the dressing, think seasonally.  Substitute ripe, peeled apples or pears for the cantaloupe.  No oat milk powder?  Substitute JOI almond or cashew base instead for creaminess.

For the vegetables, instead use roasted or shaved

  • beets
  • carrots
  • butternut squash
  • brussels sprouts
  • fennel

And instead of apricots, try fresh or dried

  • peaches
  • apples
  • pears
  • grapes
  • figs
  • dates
  • persimmons
  • cranberries
  • plums

All of these ideas work well through the colder months.  And don't forget to work in oranges or grapefruits or other citrus when they too come into season.

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