Pasta salad season is HERE (in case you missed this post) and I hope you’re ready for it. If you’re like me and used to picture pasta salads as gloppy, flavorless, and filled with more mayo than pasta, welcome to the new world of fresh, delicious pasta salads you’ll actually crave.
Over the years I’ve been experimenting with fun pasta salad flavors that capture all that summer has to offer. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to get my Street Corn Pasta Salad on your menu.
A couple of years back I took my fresh vegan caesar salad and, you guessed it, added a noodle twist! This vegan caesar pasta salad is filled with texture from crunchy chickpeas, juicy tomatoes, crisp romaine lettuce, and a zippy, tahini-based caesar dressing that you’ll want to pour on everything. Serve it up at your next BBQ or enjoy a protein-packed lunch any day of the week!
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What makes this caesar pasta salad vegan?
Traditional caesar salads and pasta salads are made with egg and sometimes anchovies in the dressing, plus dairy from parmesan cheese. In this vegan version, we’re skipping the eggs, anchovies and dairy and adding plenty of creaminess from a tahini-based vegan caesar dressing and fresh avocado. You won’t even miss the cheese!
Everything you’ll need to make vegan caesar pasta salad
This easy vegan caesar pasta salad is made with simple, fresh ingredients but packs bold flavors and wonderful textures you’ll crave. Plus, plenty of plant based protein! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Pasta: I love using rotini or bowtie pasta in my pasta salad recipes, but feel free to use any shape you’d like (and gluten free if you’d like).
- Dressing: we’re using my homemade vegan caesar dressing made with a tahini base for that flavorful creamy element that makes pasta salads truly delicious.
- Romaine: just like classic caesar salads, we’re chopping up and mixing in crunchy romaine lettuce.
- Avocado: the bites of creamy avocado make this vegan caesar pasta salad extra delicious.
- Tomatoes: add some brightness and summer flavor with cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Roasted chickpeas: we love adding sea salt or ranch roasted chickpeas for extra crunch and a boost of plant based protein. Try this homemade version with your own seasonings if you’d like!
- Salt & pepper: the key to a perfect caesar pasta salad is to finish it off with plenty of salt and pepper.
Jazz up your pasta salad
The great part about this vegan caesar pasta salad is that it’s easy to customize with ingredients you have on hand (or ones you’re craving!) Here are some suggestions:
- Customize your veggies. Out of romaine? Feel free to use a kale base. This pasta salad would also be delicious with sliced persian cucumbers, red onion, or even grilled corn.
- Add some cheese. If you’re not vegan, feel free to add a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese or feta crumbles! This vegan parmesan would also be perfect.
- Use your fav protein. Feel free to use regular chickpeas from the can if you don’t have any roasted, or add some delicious grilled chicken or even cooked, chopped bacon if you’re not vegetarian.
How to make vegan caesar pasta salad
This recipe couldn’t be easier to throw together, making it the perfect, quick and easy summer lunch or side dish.
- Cook your pasta. Start by cooking your noodles according to the directions on the package. Then drain them and transfer them to a large bowl.
- Make your dressing. While the pasta is cooking you can make your vegan caesar dressing.
- Toss the pasta. Pour the dressing into your large bowl with the pasta and give it a toss so that it’s nice and coated.
- Add your toppings. Add the chopped romaine lettuce, sliced avocado, tomatoes and roasted chickpeas and toss everything together.
- Season & serve. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper! Season your pasta salad well, toss and serve.
Store any leftover pasta salad in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Because of the romaine lettuce, it’s best to enjoy it as soon as possible to avoid it getting soggy.
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I hope you love this vegan caesar pasta salad! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Vegan Caesar Pasta Salad
Fresh and delicious vegan caesar pasta salad with creamy avocado, crunchy roasted chickpeas and a flavorful homemade vegan caesar dressing. This vegan caesar pasta salad makes the perfect summer lunch or easy side dish to serve at your next potluck or BBQ!
- 8 ounces rotini or bowtie pasta (or pasta of choice — gluten free, if desired)
- 1 batch vegan caesar dressing
- 2 hearts romaine, chopped
- 1 firm but slightly ripe avocado, diced or sliced
- 1 ½ cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups roasted chickpeas — we love the Biena ranch flavor or sea salt (regular, unroasted chickpeas is also fine, but roasted will have more flavor)*
- Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
Boil the pasta according to directions on the package. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl.
While pasta is cooking, you can make the vegan Caesar dressing. Once done, toss the dressing in the bowl with the cooked pasta until well combined.
Next, add in the romaine, sliced avocado, halved tomatoes and roasted chickpeas; toss again until well combined. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Caesar salads usually need to have a decent amount of salt in order for the flavor to be spot on, so be generous with your salt and pepper! Serves 4.
Serving: 1serving (based on 4)Calories: 588kcalCarbohydrates: 79.7gProtein: 19.5gFat: 24.7gSaturated Fat: 2.8gFiber: 12gSugar: 8.5g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on May 13th, 2021, and republished on June 25th, 2023.