May 13, 2019

Vegan Pasta Salad Salad

A plant-based version of pasta salad made even healthier as an actual salad, this Vegan Pasta Salad Salad is a tasty warm-weather dish!

Is is just me or does pasta salad remind you of warm summer days and childhood? Maybe you eat pasta salad on the regular or maybe you haven't had it in many years. Either way, this Vegan Pasta Salad Salad is a twist on the classic pasta salad and is definitely much healthier. I'm excited!

As with several of my recipes lately, Vegan Pasta Salad Salad kind of came about by accident. I usually eat a salad at dinner. Most days it's spinach or arugula with whatever chopped veggies I'm feeling, black beans or chickpeas, and balsamic vinegar for dressing. One evening I made some black bean pasta and decided to use that on my salad instead of beans.

It was awesome! I loved the texture of the pasta combined with the crunch of the greens and veggies. And the balsamic vinegar I used reminded me a lot of the Italian dressing typically used in pasta salad. Honestly, the entire salad kind of tasted like pasta salad. Hence Vegan Pasta Salad Salad was born.

In the days after that original salad, I tweaked the recipe here and there to come up with what I'm sharing with you today. It's been a delicious, pasta-filled time.

Vegan Pasta Salad Salad

I'm so happy to eat such a flavorful dish completely guilt-free. First, as the name suggests, this pasta salad salad is vegan. Traditionally, pasta salad has pepperoni or some other processed meat. We're definitely not putting any of that in this pasta salad. But the good news is that we're not missing anything -- the pepperoni really just provides some salt, which we can add ourselves.

Second, this pasta salad is actually salad. As in, it has greens! Traditional pasta salad might have a few veggies but is really just a bunch of refined flour in the form of pasta. Not only will we be filling the salad with veggies, we're also using black bean pasta. I love black bean pasta because it's made of beans! That means tons of protein and fiber.

My favorite black bean pasta is Trader Joe's rotini, which is what I used for this recipe. But if you don't live near Trader Joe's, most black bean pastas are pretty good. Look for a brand with black beans as the only ingredients.

You can also experiment with other bean-pastas. I've tried some yummy chickpea pastas and lentil pastas are pretty good too. Find something you love and it will make this pasta salad even more delicious.

How to make Vegan Pasta Salad Salad

To make Vegan Pasta Salad Salad, start by preparing the pasta. Cook according to the package directions and make sure you salt the water!

While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing. This dressing is a healthier version of Italian dressing. Mix balsamic vinegar with lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute, and salt.

Then chop the veggies. Thinly slice a bell pepper and part of a red onion. Slice the carrots into rounds. And finally cut some cherry tomatoes in half.

Drain the pasta when it's al dente. (Pro tip: if you plan to have leftovers, reserve several cups of pasta water to store unused pasta in. This will keep it soft.)

To serve, place a couple handfuls of spinach into a bowl, top with pasta and the chopped veggies. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing. Enjoy!

Recipe Prayer

God, thank you for warm-weather dishes made healthy. Allow us to nourish our bodies with the food you provide. Amen.

Vegan Pasta Salad Salad

A plant-based version of pasta salad made even healthier as an actual salad, this Vegan Pasta Salad Salad is a tasty warm-weather dish!















  • 1 Package Trader Joe’s Black Bean Rotini*
  • 16 oz Baby Spinach roughly 12 cups

Italian Dressing

  • 1/2 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute**
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


  • 2 Medium Bell Peppers
  • 4 Medium Carrots
  • 12 Cherry Tomatoes


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Be sure to salt the water. If you plant to have leftovers, reserve several cups of the water to store the pasta in.
  2. Prepare the Italian dressing. Place the white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, 21 Seasoning Salute, and salt in a mason jar and shake until mixed.
  3. Chop the veggies. Thinly slice the bell peppers and onion. Cut the carrots into rounds. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
  4. To serve, spread the spinach, pasta***, and veggies evenly across 6 bowls. Drizzle with the Italian dressing. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*You can use any bean pasta you want, however the serving amounts and cook time may change.

**If you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s, use a combination of onion, garlic, carrot, black pepper, celery seed, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, marjoram, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin, mustard, coriander, orange peal, tomato, and lemon.

***You can eat the pasta warm or cold — it is delicious both ways!

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November 15, 2021
Elizabeth | The Plant-Based Catholic
Hi Becky - thanks for pointing this out. I have removed mention of vegetable broth from this post. You do not need any vegetable broth. The mushrooms will release natural liquid which will prevent any sticking.
November 15, 2021
You mention using vegetable broth in your introduction but it isn’t included in the recipe
September 23, 2021
Tracy Henry
Hi Elizabeth, LOVE you recipes. Please keep them coming. :)I was wondering, can you share what is the vegan chocolate bar you used in this recipe?
August 28, 2021
Henry (Hank) Mader
thank you for the oil free recipe. I'm getting introduced to wild Bolete mushrooms here in Colorado, and everyone sautes Bolete's in butter or olive oil. I'm on a veggie, oil free regimen for heart health reasons. and your recipe suggestion may fill the bill. I can't wait to give it a try.
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This is so fun! Loving your creamy photography :)
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This looks incredible! So yummy and pretty photography