This vegan Mediterranean pasta salad is all the rage at my house. I sometimes hope and wish for some leftovers whenever I make it (because I know it's so good the next day) but sadly that hasn't happened yet.
This salad comes together with the best vegan homemade dressing with a base of lemon juice and olive oil and my favorite salad ingredients: sun dried tomatoes, black olives, mint and cucumbers. The best part about it is how light it feels in the summer versus a mayo based dressing which often leaves me feeling heavy. So this is a BBQ salad winner!
How to make vegan pasta salad dressing
No doubt the best part about any salad is a killer dressing. This one does the trick and it's so easy to whip together with ingredients you likely have in the pantry/fridge. With this easy dressing, you get citrus, saltiness, sweetness and spiciness with a nice kick from the mustard. The perfect balance. Here's the breakdown:
- Add olive oil and lemon juice to a small mason jar
- Add all the other ingredients: Dijon mustard, honey (or maple syrup if you don't consume honey), salt, and cayenne pepper
- Give it a good shake to mix it all up and also emulsify the oil so you create one cohesive dressing. If you store it in the fridge it may separate so just give it a little shake.
- You can also do this in a bowl, but add the lemon juice and all ingredients first, mix well, then slowly drizzle in the oil as you whisk to emulsify the oil
Tips and Mediterranean substitutions for this salad
This vegan Mediterranean pasta salad is not fussy. You can definitely throw it together with what you have in the fridge, but here are the ingredients I find work best and some tips:
- This recipe calls for Fusilli pasta but you can use any small sized pasta. The best tip I can give you is to throw in a bouillon cube when boiling the pasta. It will make you want to eat it as is once you taste it - trust me
- I love using sun dried tomato for that delicious saltiness, cucumbers for freshness and crunch, black olives for a depth of flavor and mint to get a bright herb-y note. They all work so well together
- However if you're not a fan of sun dried tomato, you can substitute fresh tomatoes. But in this case, I suggest to throw in some Feta cheese to get the saltiness that will make this salad a dream!
- You can also use sweet peppers for a crunchy element alongside or instead of the cucumbers, and replace the mint with your favorite flavorful herb (basil works great too)
- For best results, refrigerate the salad for a few hours before serving
If you're a fan of pasta salads, definitely try this one out. Let me know what you think in the comment section! Happy cooking!
For more salads and dips, check out:
- The Best Tabouli Salad
- Middle Eastern Fattoush Salad
- Roasted Eggplant Dip
- Watermelon, Feta and Mint Skewers
Vegan Mediterranean pasta Salad
For the Salad:
- 500 g Fusilli pasta or any other kind
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube or chicken
- 3 small cucumbers
- ½ cup sliced black olives
- ½ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup packed fresh mint
For the Dressing:
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1.5 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper more per preference
- Start by boiling the pasta to al dente per package instructions, using the bouillon cube in the pasta water
- Chop the cucumber into small pieces, along with the sun dried tomatoes
- Finely chop the fresh mint leaves
- In a mason jar, add all the dressing ingredients and shake very well to emulsify the oil
- In a bowl, add the pasta, sun dried tomato, black olives, cucumber and mint along with the dressing and mix well
- Refrigerate for a few hours for best results and enjoy!
- If you don't have sun dried tomatoes, substitute for fresh tomatoes but I also suggest adding in some feta cheese to get the saltiness
- You can also use chopped sweet peppers with or instead of the cucumbers
- You can replace the mint with Basil if preferred
- Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to your taste but add a little at a time as it is very spicy