Somehow, this gem of a recipe was lost in our files. Fortunately, it re-emerged in time for the spring and summer vegetables ahead. This plant-based pasta salad is made with whole grain noodles and spiked with colorful tomatoes, fresh basil, and your produce of choice.
This pretty side dish is completed with the brightness of balsamic vinegar and a garlicky breadcrumb topping. It’s perfect for outdoor events and gatherings.
To make it a light meal, you can add your favorite protein. Baked tofu or chickpeas are great vegan options, while cooked chopped chicken would also be delicious.
Special Diet Notes: Plant-Based Pasta Salad
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 8 ounces dry whole-wheat fusilli or farfalle pasta (use gluten free, if needed)
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided
- 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
- 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped (can sub other vegetables, like broccoli)
- 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 slice dairy-free whole-wheat or multigrain bread (use gluten-free bread, if needed)
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Rinse the pasta, pour it into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate it to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 2 tablespoons basil, sugar (if using), salt, pepper, red pepper, 2 tablespoons oil, and half of the minced garlic. Add the pasta, bell pepper, and tomatoes, and toss gently until well coated.
- In food processor or blender, pulse the bread to produce coarse crumbs.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and remaining minced garlic and saute for 1½ to 2 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the breadcrumbs cool.
- Top the pasta salad with the garlic crumbs and remaining basil to serve.