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Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad

  • Author: Steve Peters
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings as a side 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


A pesto pasta salad recipe that checks all the boxes. It's easy, customizable, and won't go bad on you if it sits out at the family barbecue.


Units Scale

for the feta:

  • 1 pack extra firm tofu
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

for the pesto:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

for assembling the salad:

  • 1/2 pound of elbows, shells, penne, or other pasta
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes


Start with the feta. Drain the tofu, cut it into ¼ inch thick slices, and spread them out on a clean kitchen towel. Place another towel on top, then something heavy like a cast iron pan, and let the tofu drain while you prep the rest of the recipe. This will allow the tofu to absorb more flavor.

Combine the remaining feta ingredients in a container or dish. When you’ve let the tofu drain for hopefully at least 15 minutes, cut the slices into small cubes (however big you prefer is fine), then toss them into the mixture to coat. Put this in the fridge to meld for 30 minutes or longer.

Make the pesto by adding all of the pesto ingredients, aside from the oil, to a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to chop up the ingredients, then stream in the olive oil until smooth. If it’s not turning smooth, add some more oil or even just a tablespoon or two of water.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few pinches of salt, then add the pasta and cook according to the package. Drain when al dente. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Chop the red onion, pepper, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.

Put the salad together by combining the pasta, vegetables, half of the feta, and the pesto in a large bowl. Stir to coat everything in the pesto. Taste and salt, if needed. Add more feta, if you prefer. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


If you have the time, let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour or more for the flavors to meld.

  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pasta salad, sun dried tomatoes, feta, tofu, bell pepper, red onion, pesto