This creamy vegan pasta salad is super quick and easy to make and tastes just as delicious as grandma’s classic recipe with mayo and bologna, though it’s meatless and dairy-free! Perfect as a side dish for barbecue parties, picnics, potlucks or any other day.
The Best Vegan Pasta Salad – Grandma’s Recipe
There are some traditional German dishes that taste always best from Grandma’s kitchen – like potato dumplings, lentil soup, Danube wave and of course the popular classic pasta salad with mayonnaise! Made with small macaroni noodles, crunchy veggies like onions, bell peppers, pickles, peas and corn, and vegan bologna sausage for that traditional flavor, it tastes just fantastic!
So if you’re looking for a simple yet delicious salad for parties, cold buffets, and summer barbecues that everyone will love, this creamy pasta salad recipe is absolutely perfect! Whether it’s a hearty side dish for dinner or a meal prep for lunch, this quick salad is perfect for any occasion!
What kind of pasta can I use?
You can use regular wheat or whole wheat pasta as well as gluten-free pasta made from rice, quinoa or lentils which are rich in fiber too. For pasta salad, small noodles such as macaroni, penne, fusilli, farfalle, spirelli or rotini are best. However, any short pasta will do!
This easy cold pasta salad is super uncomplicated and can be prepared with just a few ingredients within a few minutes. It’s also very versatile because you can swap out the ingredients as you like. Here is an overview with possible alternatives:
- Pasta: as mentioned above, you can use any pasta.
- Red onion: or a mild yellow onion or two shallots. Chives or scallions work well too.
- Red bell pepper: or one yellow or green bell pepper. Some suggestions for other vegetables are mentioned later in the post.
- Pickles: like classic sweet and sour pickles or small, extra crunchy cornichons. I also find garlic dill pickles very tasty!
- Vegan bologna sausage: alternatively you can use other vegan meat alternatives or smoked tofu, vegan cheese cubes or vegan mini mozzarella balls.
- Peas: thawed.
- Corn: I used 1 cob of pre-cooked corn here, but you can also use canned or frozen corn or cook a fresh ear of corn.
- Herbs: for example fresh parsley and basil.
- Vegan mayonnaise: or half mayo or tahini and half thick dairy-free yogurt unsweetened.
- Mustard: I like to use medium hot yellow mustard, but you can also use Dijon mustard or any other mustard you like.
- Cucumber water: the brine from the pickled cucumbers, however, you can use vinegar or lemon juice instead.
- Salt and pepper: or other seasonings to taste.
How to make grandma’s pasta salad
As always, I recommend checking out the recipe video and these step-by-step instructions first. Then you’ll the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Cook the pasta
First, cook the pasta until ‘al dente’ in salted water according to package directions. Meanwhile, dice the onions, bell peppers, gherkins and vegan bologna and defrost the peas.
Tip: Don’t overcook the pasta or it will get mushy and fall apart.
Step 2: Combine all ingredients
Once the pasta is done, drain the cooking water and rinse with cold water. Then combine with all the other ingredients for the pasta salad in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, cut the corn from the cob into the bowl and stir again.
Tip: If the pasta salad is not creamy enough, you can add more cucumber water.
Step 3: Refine and serve
Finish your homemade pasta salad with fresh herbs as desired and serve immediately, or for more flavor, let it sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours (or overnight) before serving. Enjoy!
Pasta salad recipe variations
As mentioned earlier, this simple vegan pasta salad is very versatile. Here are some suggested variations:
- You can replace the vegetables with other varieties like cherry tomatoes, cooked carrots, broccoli, celery, leeks, zucchini, cabbage, etc. Legumes such as chickpeas, beans or lentils are great choices for more protein. Also, other herbs such as chives and dill go well in the pasta salad too!
- If you like the pasta salad fruitier, feel free to add some fruit like pineapple, peach, mango, apples, pear, grapes or green or black olives.
- Instead of vegan sausages, you can add smoked tofu cubes, vegan cheese, vegan feta, or vegan mini mozzarella balls.
- For a classic egg flavor, feel free to add a pinch of Kala Namak.
- If you want to make a green pasta salad, you can dress your salad with Green Goddess Dressing or with Herb Dressing.
- If you want to make the pasta salad without mayo, you can mix 100 g of cashew butter or tahini (sesame butter) with 100 g of thick dairy-free yogurt or silken tofu until creamy and use it instead of the mayonnaise.
How long will Pasta Salad last in the fridge?
You can make the salad 1-2 days ahead and store leftovers it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days. Since it keeps for that long, it’s perfect for Meal Prep!
This creamy pasta salad recipe is:
- Vegan, Vegetarian
- Optional gluten-free and soy-free
- Naturally sweetened
- Loaded with fresh vegetables
- Colorful and healthy
- As delicious as grandma’s classic!
- Perfect as a side dish for vegan cevapcici, burgers, fritters and many other grilling recipes!
More vegan salad recipes to try
- Grandma’s Potato Salad
- Vietnamese Noodle Salad
- Mexican Pasta Salad
- Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
- Green Goddess Salad
- Turkish Bulgur Salad (Kisir)
- Chinese Cucumber Salad
- Korean Rice Noodle Salad
- Chickpea Tuna Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Broccoli Salad with Yogurt Dressing
If you try this easy vegan pasta salad recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your delicious pasta dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka so I don’t miss your post! Bon appetit! 🙂
The Best Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad (Quick & Easy)Author:
- 8.8 oz (250 g) pasta e.g. macaroni
- 1 small red onion finely diced, optional
- 1 red bell pepper finely diced
- 5.3 oz (150 g) pickled cucumbers finely diced
- 6 oz (175 g) vegan bologna sausage finely diced, e.g. from Wiesenhof, *see notes
- 1 cup (150 g) peas thawed
- 1 (150 g) cob of pre-cooked corn or 1 cup canned rinsed & drained, optional
- ½ bunch herbs e.g. fresh parsley and basil, optional
*Note: Check out the recipe video + tips + step-by-step pictures in the blog post above!
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions to al dente.
- Meanwhile, cut the onions, bell peppers, pickled cucumbers and vegan sausage into small cubes and thaw the peas.
- Once the pasta is done, drain the cooking water through a sieve and rinse the pasta with cold water.
- Place noodles, diced vegetables, peas, vegan mayonnaise, mustard and cucumber water in a large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, cut the corn off the cob into the bowl and mix again (if the salad is not creamy enough, you can add another dash of cucumber water).
- Add fresh herbs to taste and serve immediately, or for more flavor, refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or overnight) before serving.
- Instead of vegan sausage, you can use smoked tofu, vegan cheese cubes, vegan feta, vegan mini mozzarella balls, or simply omit the ingredient.
- Feel free to replace the vegetables with other varieties or even add fruit as a fruity component (many suggestions for recipe variations are mentioned in the post above).
- For an eggy flavor, you can add a pinch of Kala Namak.
- To make a green pasta salad, you can dress it with Green Goddess Dressing or with Herb Dressing.
- If you want to make the pasta salad without mayo, you can mix 3.5 oz (100 g) of cashew butter or tahini (sesame butter) with 3.5 oz (100 g) of thick dairy-free yogurt or silken tofu until creamy and use it instead of mayonnaise.
- More tips and information on storage and shelf life are mentioned in the blog post above!
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