This Vegan Caprese Salad is made with fresh basil pesto, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and vegan mozzarella for a refreshing and delicious meal that can be made in under 30 minutes.
Good morning, friends!
A couple of weeks ago I went to a Valentine’s Day potluck at my daughter’s preschool school. “A potluck?!”, I cried, “who has the time to make food these days?” Okay, kind of an ironic thing to say considering I’m a food blogger BUT between juggling the work of my master’s program, single parenting little ones, keeping this blog going, running my Airbnb, and trying to maintain healthy relationships, give me a small task like bring food to the party and I’m done for.
But never one of letting people down, especially when it comes to my children, I made the time to make some food. Specifically, this Vegan Caprese Salad with Pesto.
I LOVE VEGAN CAPRESE SALAD BECAUSE:
- It’s fast and filling for a delicious weeknight meal
- It is also easy to make. Less time in the kitchen = more time to adventure!
- Speaking of adventuring, vegan pasta salad is a great food to bring along on all those hikes, picnics, and beach trips.
- This meal is light, yet filling; perfect for summer.
- Or serve it alongside other salads with your favorite vegan burgers.
- And doesn’t require the oven. This is a huge plus on those 100 degree days that are becoming far too familiar.
So, you see, you really can’t go wrong with a good pasta salad.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN PASTA SALAD
As you can imagine, making vegan Caprese Salad is super simple to make. It just requires preparing your vegetables, making your vegan pesto, and cooking your noodles. Now that’s easy!
STEP ONE – BOIL YOUR NOODLES
For this pasta salad, I use rotini noodles, but really any type of vegan pasta noodle will do. To cook it, bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, stir in the pasta with a pinch of salt. Let boil for about 12 minutes (this will vary slightly depending on the type of pasta you use). Once the pasta is sticky and soft, quickly strain it through a colander.
For best results, rinse the pasta with cold water and lightly drizzle it with olive oil to prevent the noodles from clumping together.
Step two – Make the Vegan Pesto
Combine the basil, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor and blend until well combined. With motor running, slowly add olive oil and blend for 30 more seconds until mostly smooth.
Salt to taste and refrigerate until ready to use.
Step Three – Assemble and Serve
Add cooked noodles to a large bowl and toss in olive oil. Stir in basil, cherry tomatoes, and vegan cheese (if using). Toss with basil pesto and serve immediately.
How’s that for simple?
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAKING THE BEST VEGAN PASTA SALAD
- Strain the noodles when they are al dente. That means they still have a subtle bite to them. If the noodles are too soft, they will fall apart when mixed with the vegetables and salad dressing.
- It is best to toss the pasta in the olive oil as soon as the noodles are strained and rinsed in cold water. The oil prevents the pasta from clumping together as it cools. Once the dressing is mixed into the pasta, you can take your time when adding the remaining ingredients.
- For best results, let the salad cool in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours before serving. This allows the salad to chill all the way through while letting the flavors of the vinaigrette absorb into the noodles.
- Store uneaten salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Serve this pasta salad with your favorite vegan sandwich or creamy tomato soup.
If you, like me, find yourself often short on time and need to come up with quick filling meals that are also delicious, I think you’re going to love this salad!
Fresh, refreshing, hearty, filled-with-flavor, and made in under 30 minutes, what’s not to love?
More Vegan Salad Recipes
Do you love hearty vegan salads? Then make sure to check out some of my favorites below.
- Thai Cashew Salad with Sesame Peanut Sauce
- Vegan Taco Salad with Walnut Taco Meat
- ULTIMATE Detox Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Southwest BBQ Tempeh Salad with Vegan Ranch
But before you go, let’s take a look at this vegan Caprese Salad below.
Vegan Caprese Salad with Pesto
- To make the basil pesto combine 3/4 cup basil, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor and blend until well combined. With motor running, slowly add olive oil and blend for 30 more seconds until mostly smooth. Salt to taste and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large stockpot bring 6 cups of water to boil. Stir in pasta and light boil for about 10 minutes, until cooked all the way through. Strain noodles with a colander and rinse them with cold water.
- Transfer noodles to a large bowl and toss in olive oil. Stir in basil, cherry tomatoes, and vegan cheese (if using). Toss with basil pesto and serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.