Cool down your summer with this Mediterranean Pasta Salad. It’s light, refreshing & chock-full of fresh vegetables.
The summer weather is approaching…
and most of us start craving light & refreshing food like crazy! So, I thought this Mediterranean Pasta Salad would be the perfect way to kick off the season. It’s just not summer, without a zesty, veggie-packed pasta salad. Don’t you agree?
A total barbecue essential
This pasta salad, along with my tasty Creamy Potato Salad and Roasted Pepper Salad, are a must (Oh, and yes, vegan beer is a must too!) 😉 Everything is so fresh tasting, and just screams summertime deliciousness. These tasty dishes will be the life of your next party, and make you the most popular person there.
They won’t even know it’s vegan
Just bring this dish to your next get-together, and watch it disappear…FAST! You won’t hear a peep! That says something, doesn’t it? Mediterranean Pasta Salad is the easiest to veganize, because it’s mostly made up of veggies anyway. The only non-vegan ingredients are the feta, and parmesan cheese. That’s an easy fix.
A cinch to prepare
The hardest part is waiting for it to chill and marinate to perfection. Well, that’s the hardest part for me anyway, and I usually wind up having a bowl before it goes into the fridge. It tastes really good warm, too. That’s why I always make extra, especially if I’m bringing it to a get-together.
All you’ll have to do is boil a big pot of water for your pasta, press the tofu, mix the dressing, and chop up the crisp veggies. The ingredients are easy to find too, and you’ll only need one trip to your local market. It really is THAT easy!
This recipe is so easy to adjust to your liking, so feel free to add your favorite ingredients or omit something you don’t like. The dressing can be made more zesty, spicy or more mild. It’s almost impossible to mess up, and can be adjusted before serving too. So have fun with it!
What you’ll need for the salad:
– Extra firm tofu
– Fusilli or farfalle pasta, gluten-free or regular
– Red onion
– Grape tomatoes
– Kalamata olives
– Artichoke hearts
– Fresh basil or fresh mint
– Pine nuts
What you’ll need for the dressing:
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Red wine vinegar
– Fresh lemon juice
– Pure maple syrup or agave
– Dried oregano
– Garlic & onion powder
– Sea salt & fresh-cracked pepper
– Crushed red chile pepper flakes
Alright, are you guys ready to get this summer party started? Let’s do this!
I’d love to hear from you
If you make this Mediterranean Pasta Salad, I’d love to get your feedback. You can leave a comment below and let me know what you think. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram, and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
- 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed & crumbled into small bite-sized pieces (*see note)
- 16 ounces dried fusilli or farfalle pasta, gluten-free or regular
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced small
- 1 large cucumber, diced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved, sliced or left whole
- 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed & quartered
- 1/4 cup fresh basil or fresh mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or preferred sweetener)
- 2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Fresh-cracked pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (optional)
Place pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until al dente & according to package directions (about 9-10 minutes). Rinse under cold water to stop cooking, drain and set aside.
In a small-medium bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Adjust flavors as needed. It might taste a little tangy or salty, but it will be spread over a pound of pasta, so keep that in mind.
Lightly sprinkle the crumbled tofu with salt, and pour 1-2 tablespoons of dressing on top. Gently work it in with your fingers to coat. If you'd like a tangier flavor, add a small amount of lemon juice (I do this). Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the pasta, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, artichokes and basil. Pour the dressing over everything and gently toss to combine. Now add the tofu gently & toss again. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Cover bowl and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to let flavors marinate. Taste again. I usually add a few squeezes of lemon, and a splash of olive oil to moisten. When finished, top with pine nuts. You can also add vegan parmesan, and more fresh-cracked pepper to the top. Enjoy!
*Pressing Tofu: place block of tofu on a paper towel lined plate, and wrap tofu in a few paper towels. Add another plate on top of tofu, and add a few cans of food on top, or a book. Let it drain for 15-20 minutes. You can also press it overnight in the fridge to make it even quicker. I like to buy vacuum packed tofu that's pre-pressed and ready to cook, but not every store carries this though. I don't recommend the silken tofu in the tetra pak for this recipe, because the texture is too smooth.
*If you don't have time to press the tofu, just wrap the tofu in paper towels and gently squeeze out as much water as you can. Don't press too hard. Getting out the water will enable the tofu to absorb the flavors of your seasonings better.
* The dressing is easily adjusted by taste. Add more or less of listed ingredients as needed. The pasta can be adjusted after too, so it's better to use less than more. I usually add a splash of olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar after the pasta has marinated.
**Prep time doesn't include the chilling time.