This vegan Italian pasta salad is quick, easy, and full of flavour. Fusilli pasta, fresh herbs, a colourful array of summer tomatoes, tofu “feta”, olives, pepperoncinis, red onion and a basil dressing. It’s perfect for summer barbeques and picnics.
- ¾ cup (175 ml) canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) white vinegar
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) water
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) *coarse sea salt
- ½ tbsp (7.5 ml) garlic powder
- ½ tbsp (7.5 ml) onion powder
- ½ tbsp (7.5 ml) sugar
- ⅛ cup (30 ml) *fresh basil, add more to taste
- 1 tsp (5 ml) dried basil, add more to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
Vegan Italian Pasta Salad:
- 1 lb (454 grams) fusilli pasta
- 175 grams (½ block) firm or extra-firm tofu, *pressed and broken up into small pieces
- 1 tbsp (4 grams) nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 cups (400 grams) chopped cherry tomatoes
- ⅓ cup fresh herbs (I use basil and flat-leaf parsley), packed and chopped
- ⅓ cup (35 grams) Kalamata olives, chopped
- ⅓ cup (55 grams) chopped red onion, soaked in salt water and rinsed
- ¼ cup (4-5) chopped pickled pepperoncinis (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, but add an extra minute to the cooking time. The pasta should be just slightly overcooked (past al denté). While the pasta boils, prepare the dressing.
- Add all of the dressing ingredients (oil, vinegar, water, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, fresh basil, and dried basil), to a blender. Blend on medium-high speed until the dressing is a creamy light green with plenty of fresh basil pieces flecked throughout.
- Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Immediately toss the hot pasta with ⅔ of the dressing (enough to liberally coat). Chill.
- In a small bowl, mix the *tofu with nutritional yeast. Stir in the remaining dressing and chill.
- Once the pasta is cold, mix in the tofu and dressing mixture, tomatoes, olives, chopped herbs, pepperoncinis, and red onion. Chill. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.
* Be sure to use coarse sea salt. If using fine sea salt, start with a 1½ tsp. Taste and adjust the dressing with more salt as needed. The dressing should still taste strong and salty to adequately season the large volume of pasta.
*If needed, you can prepare the dressing without fresh basil. Increase the amount of dried basil to 2-3 tsp, add more to taste.
*For best flavour and texture, press as much moisture out of the tofu as possible. I like to slice it up before pressing it to increase the surface area. After that, I break it up into small pieces and briefly press it again (using my hands) to further remove excess moisture.
Keywords: pasta salad, vegan pasta salad, italian pasta salad