This refreshing vegan pesto pasta salad is easy to make and SO satisfying. It's filled to the brim with good-for-you veg and topped off with crunchy pumpkin seeds. Plus, it's easily customisable so you won't need to worry about any missing ingredients.
What makes this such a good vegan pesto pasta salad?
There’s plenty of reasons!
- You can use either store bought or homemade pesto (recipe HERE).
- It’s the perfect lunch on the go for when there’s no microwave around - ideal for travelling or days out and about.
- It’s PACKED with good-for-you veg!
- You can enjoy it either hot or cold.
- It’s refreshing, satisfying and utterly delicious!
- If you’re looking for a good vegan meal to bring to work, this one’s super handy!
- It's a great cold vegan side dish.
- Moreover, you can customise it so easily with your own veggies, seeds, nuts and other additions!
- Last but not least, it keeps really well in the fridge!
And let’s not forget about the oh-so-yummy crunchy pumpkin topping that’s just to die for. I’m sorry in advance if you become slightly addicted to this pasta goodness.
Go ahead, scroll down and find out the step-by-step instruction photos which will make your job super easy. This way you’ll know exactly what you should be doing at every step and how your progress should look like at different stages.
In the recipe card below, you can find both EU metric and US weight and volume measurements with just a click of a mouse. Plus, you can adjust the portion sizes so whether you’re making this for 1, 2, 3 people, a whole household or a huge dinner party, you don’t need to do any calculating. How handy is that?
Enough rambling. Let’s dive in.
What ingredients will you need?
Here are the main ingredients:
- Your favourite pasta (duhhh…)
- Mini tomatoes on a vine
- Oil and seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic)
- Green vegan pesto
If you’re making your own vegan pesto from scratch, head over HERE for my super duper simple pesto recipe. I promise you won’t regret it!
Before we move onto our vegan Italian pasta salad - if you’re enjoying this recipe, subscribe to my newsletter below and instantly receive printable 90 Vegan Meal Ideas straight to your inbox!
VEGAN PESTO PASTA SALAD: STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- GRILL YOUR VEGGIES.
Place courgette (cut into slices), asparagus and tomatoes on a large baking tray. Drizzle with oil and seasoning. Bake at 180°C/356°F degrees for 20 minutes.
2. MAKE YOUR OWN PESTO (optional step!)
You can either make your own pesto by following my recipe HERE or use any store bought vegan pesto.
3. COOK YOUR PASTA
Whilst your veggies are in the oven, cook your favourite pasta.
4. ROAST YOUR PUMPKIN SEEDS
Grab your favourite non-stick pan, heat it up and throw in your pumpkin seeds. You’ll only need to roast it for about 2-3 minutes. Be careful, they do burn pretty quickly! Once you hear them start to pop, it’s probably time to turn off the heat.
5. Mix everything and ENJOY.
Got your pasta and veggies ready? Add pesto to your pasta pan and mix well. Slice your veggies into smaller pieces, add to your pasta pan, then add pumpkin seeds and top off with some more seasoning. I like to add some more salt flakes on top.
That’s it! Your lunch or dinner is now sorted. Best of all? You can divide it into portion sizes and keep it refrigerated in an airtight container for days (I’d recommend eating it within 3-4 days).
Stuck for meal ideas? I’ve got you covered. Find some of my personal favourites below:
TIPS and TRICKS FOR MAKING THIS PASTA SALAD
- USE THE RIGHT TYPE OF PASTA
I would recommend either using macaroni, bow tie pasta (farfalle), fusilli or similar short pasta shapes. They will provide the perfect bite, whilst ensuring you can still get a taste of the veggies in every single bite.
- HELP! MY PASTA IS STUCK
This happens a lot when preparing pasta. Whether you’re someone completely new to cooking or a more experienced cook, if you’re not careful, your pasta can become stuck to the pan and mould into one big pasta lump. Not appetising and definitely not Insta-worthy, am I right?
Wondering how to fix it? The trick is in the oil. Once your pasta is cooked and you’ve drained the water, you’ll need to immediately add your pesto (or other sauce). If your sauce isn’t ready yet, then just drizzle over a tiny little amount of oil (such as olive oil). Don’t forget to stir well. This way your pasta definitely won’t get stuck to the pan 🙂
HOW TO SERVE YOUR VEGAN PESTO DISH
You might be thinking - ok, this pasta looks delicious. But is it really worth making it? When will I actually serve a dish like this and will it really come in that handy?
This is when, my friend, you need to read my serving suggestions:
- Works as the perfect, healthy school lunch.
- A refreshing vegan side dish at a large dinner party!
- The ideal weekend comfort meal - make it in a large batch and you can enjoy it the entire weekend.
- Travelling for a day? Box it in an airtight container and enjoy your lunch on-the-go!
POSSIBLE INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS
As with all my recipes, it won’t be a problem if you substitute a few ingredients here and there. My suggestions:
- Feel free to go wild with veggies. The veggies in the recipe are my personal favourites, but feel free to experiment. Get creative with other veggies and make your own personalised vegan pesto pasta salad. I recommend roasting peppers and aubergines. If you’re a fan of mushrooms, you could try those too. And why not try adding some sweetcorn too!
- Make it gluten free by simply substituting regular pasta with your favourite gluten free alternative.
- Boost that protein by switching regular pasta for edamame bean pasta, chickpea pasta, black bean pasta or something similar. It’s just as delicious and will add that extra satisfying protein punch.
- Pumpkin seeds can be easily substituted with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pine nuts.
This just about covers it! I’m really happy to see you make my recipes so if you remake this, feel free to share your creation and tag me @myveganminimalist on Instagram.
Alternatively, if anything doesn’t make sense to you and you’re struggling to make the recipe work, please do get in touch. You can either leave a comment below or get in touch with me directly on Instagram and I’ll be sure to help you out!
Don’t forget you can grab a free vegan booklet containing 90 VEGAN MEAL IDEAS below.
Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 courgette
- 250 g asparagus
- 225 g cherry tomatoes (I used mini sunstream vine tomatoes)
- 190 g vegan pesto (use store-bought or make your own HERE)
- 20 g pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
- ½ tsp salt flakes (or substitute for ¼ tsp regular salt)
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic
- 240 g pasta (i used wholewheat fusilli)
- Place courgette (cut into slices), asparagus and tomatoes on a large baking tray. Drizzle with oil and seasoning. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime you can either make your own pesto by following my recipe or use any store bought vegan pesto.
- Whilst your veggies are in the oven, cook your favourite pasta (don't forget to salt the water when cooking the pasta!)
- Grab your favourite non-stick pan, heat it up and throw in your pumpkin seeds. You’ll only need to roast it for about 2-3 minutes. Be careful, they do burn pretty quickly! Once you hear them start to pop, it’s probably time to turn off the heat.
- Got your pasta and veggies ready? Add pesto to your pasta pan and mix well. Slice your veggies into smaller pieces, add to your pasta pan, then add pumpkin seeds and top off with some more seasoning (garlic, pepper, salt). I like to add some more salt flakes on top when serving.