This vegan sundried tomato pesto salad has quickly become one of my all-time favorite meals. It’s quick, simple, insanely flavorful, and nourishing. What else could you ask for?
I came up with this recipe when I was craving something super flavorful and that could use up some of the basil I had in my garden. Seriously, we have so much basil this year! My basil plants have never been super successful, but I think it’s the humidity that’s making it grow so quickly! Anyway, back to the pasta…
This sundried tomato pesto pasta salad is going to be your new meal prep, potluck, and weeknight staple. It takes just 15-minutes to throw together, and the result is an umami-packed dish that’s served cold, so it’s perfect even for hot days! I would have loved this pesto pasta salad when I was working at the hospital or going to school since it doesn’t require any heating.
Sundried tomato pesto: Traditional pesto uses basil, pine nuts, parmesan, extra-virgin olive oil and salt. My main criteria for this pesto was that I wanted it to be totally vegan and budget-friendly. I decided to swap the pine nuts for sunflower seeds (pumpkin seeds would also work great!) because they’re much less expensive than pine nuts. I used nutritional yeast instead of parmesan for a slightly cheesy flavor and added sundried tomato and lemon juice for an extra flavor-packed punch. The result is an insanely flavorful pesto that’s amazing in this salad, but could also be used on sandwiches and as a dip! It’s important for me to point out that this is definitely a pesto-inspired recipe, and certainly not an authentic replication of the real thing.
Cannellini beans: Cannellini beans are some of my favorite to have on hand, since they’re packed with plant-based protein, fiber, iron and calcium. Most importantly, they’re super delicious! They have a mild, creamy taste, making them perfect to add into pasta dishes, blend into soups (which you know I’m a huge fan of if you have my soup ebook!) or as a topper on salads. They pair perfectly with this sundried tomato pesto pasta salad recipe!
Pasta: I chose brown rice rotini pasta for this pasta salad recipe for a little more staying power (aka fiber!) than white pasta, but feel free to use whatever you like best and have on hand!
Vegetables: The world is your oyster for vegetables to add to this pasta! I went with a simple combination of orange bell peppers, red onion and fresh spinach and loved the pairing, but I bet arugula or artichoke hearts would also taste amazing.
Vegan Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad
This easy vegan sundried tomato pesto pasta salad is bound to be your new favorite quick and easy meal! Insanely flavorful, delicious and healthy, what's not to love? Perfect for your next potluck, picnic or meal prep!
Sundried Tomato Pesto
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ¾ cup packed basil
- 2 tbsp oil from sundried tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil plus more as needed
- 2½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup water plus more as needed
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
Pasta Salad Ingredients
- 454 g rotini pasta
- 540 mL cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 large bell pepper chopped
- 2 cups packed spinach
- ¼ large red onion diced
Cook pasta as per package instructions, until al dente.
Meanwhile, add all pesto ingredients to high speed blender or food processor. Blend until just combined, adding more water or olive oil as needed.
Add pasta, pesto, cannellini beans, red onion, bell pepper and spinach to a large bowl and stir to combine. Enjoy!
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