This Vegan Pasta Salad is perfect for summer potlucks. Pasta and fresh vegetables are tossed in a briny vinaigrette to create an incredible side dish you will make again and again!

wood bowl with blue towel under it of vegan pasta salad with two wood spoons in it

Can you even call it a summer barbecue without a big bowl of cold pasta salad? I don’t think so! Bring a chocolate sheet cake as well for the perfect dessert to feed a crowd.

Vegan Pasta Salad is a welcome and flavorful side next to your barbecue favorites like veggie burgers, grilled veggies, and barbecue sauce-slathered tofu. Crisp bell peppers, red onions, pepperoncini peppers and pasta are covered in a light and briny Italian dressing that truly makes the salad irresistible.

There are a million reasons why pasta salad is so great, but I especially love how easy the recipe is to throw together and that it can be stored away for days. In fact, the flavors get better and better as it keeps!

You should definitely bring this to your next cookout! It’s a simple recipe that’s also:

  • Flexible
  • Quick and easy
  • So fresh
  • Budget-friendly
  • And hearty!
wood bowl on white background with pasta and vegetables not yet mixed for vegan pasta salad

Veggie pasta salad with Italian dressing

The secret to this Italian-inspired pasta salad is the sweet and mild pepperoncini peppers! You’ll need them for both the salad and the dressing.

Mixing the pepperoncini brine with herbs, red wine vinegar, and a little sugar transforms a basic vinaigrette into a playful Italian dressing you can use on grilled vegetables, green salads, and more.

glass jar full of mixed Italian dressing

How to make vegan pasta salad

You’ll start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the water and rinse the pasta with cold water to cool it off. Toss it with some oil in a large bowl and set aside.

Make the dressing by whisking the ingredients together in a bowl or a jar.

Assemble the pasta salad by stirring the veggies, and dressing together with the pasta. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Can I add in more veggies? This recipe is so flexible that you can easily leave out what you don’t like, or add more vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, zucchini, green onions, etc.
  2. What else can I add? Customize this plant based pasta salad with vegan cheddar or mozzarella cheese, white beans or chickpeas, seeds and herbs on top, smoked tofu, and more. I used Violife’s Mature Vegan Cheddar, cut into cubes. Vegan Pepperoni would also be good here.
  3. Can it be made gluten free? Yes. Simply replace the pasta with your favorite gluten free pasta instead.
  4. Can I make it ahead of time? Yes! The pasta salad needs to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving but you can leave it for up to 5 days if you want.

Storing leftovers

Keep some leftover pasta salad in airtight containers for easy grab-and-go weekday lunches. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days, meaning you can enjoy it all week long or as a quick side dish with dinner. Feel free to stir in more dressing or liven it up with a little olive oil if the pasta has dried out.

close up of rainbow noodles in a wood bowl with lots of vegetables

More potluck ready salads

square image of pasta salad in wood bowl with spoons in it
5 stars (7 ratings)

Vegan Pasta Salad

This Vegan Pasta Salad is perfect for summer potlucks. Pasta and fresh vegetables are tossed in a briny vinaigrette to create an incredible side dish you will make again and again!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 28 minutes
Servings: 10 servings


  • 16 ounces uncooked rotini or other pasta
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, sliced (2/3 cup)
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 block vegan cheddar cheese, cut into cubes optional


  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons juice from pepperoncini jar


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and rinse in cold water. Add cooked pasta to a large bowl and toss in a few teaspoons of olive oil, so it doesn't stick together.
  • While the pasta cooks, chop and slice all the vegetables and optional vegan cheese. Set aside.
  • Whisk all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. You can also simply add all the dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid, and shake until combined.
  • To the bowl with the pasta, add the vegetables, cheese and dressing. Stir to combine.
  • Cover the bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes if possible before serving. It will stay good for up to 5 days. Right before serving, sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan, if desired. Enjoy!


  1. Feel free to leave out any vegetables you don’t like, and add what you do like such as broccoli florets, carrots, diced zucchini, green onions, chickpeas, etc.
  2. For oil free, simply leave out the olive oil and omit the vegan cheese. 
  3. Gluten free? Swap gluten free pasta for regular.


Serving: 1of 10 servings | Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. So good even though I left the pepperocini peppers out as I didn’t know if my daughter would eat them. I did include the brine and it was fantastic.

    1. Hi Nikki. I’m glad you loved the pasta salad recipe! Thanks for your wonderful review and feedback!

    1. Cholesterol is only found in animal based foods, there is no cholesterol in this recipe because it’s completely plant based. 🙂

  2. This is a great pasta salad recipe. SImple, easy to make, and delicious. Will be eating this tonight and looking forward to bringing it in my lunch for the rest of the week. I like how adaptable it is….I omitted the olives, love pepperoncinis so upped those a bit! Already plotting my next batch and adding white beans and chopped artichoke hearts….

    1. Hi Amy. This is a wonderfully flexible salad recipe! Thanks for your fun feedback and ideas! I appreciate your fabulous review! Happy cooking!

  3. I agree with Susan! You are my hero too Nora! With so many folks out there trying their hand at being vegan chefs… you are where I come to find my “happy place” on Pinterest! 🙂 You just ‘get me’ ~ I generally always have all the ingredients in my cabinets called for in your recipes as opposed to saffron or mango chutney or some other thing…I would have to go out try to find somewhere!! So thank you Nora ~ your my OG since 2017 when I started on vegan transitional foods ~ Much gratitude and love \o/

    1. Hi Donadica. Your words mean so much to me! Thank you for sharing! I am thrilled you are enjoying my recipes! I strive to create simple and delicious recipes, and I appreciate you validating this is what you feel you are receiving from my site! So awesome! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  4. I substituted vegan cheddar for vegan Gorgonzola cheese for a little extra zing. Very good recipe!

    1. Maybe pickled banana peppers or any other pickled pepper? But I haven’t tried it. You can leave it out but I love the flavor it brings to the dish.

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