This vegan pasta salad is made with a creamy pesto sauce that is out of this world. The pesto is made out of an easy blended cashew sauce. The sauce is tossed with your favorite pasta and crunchy vegetables.
This recipe has been made hundreds of times by all of you! It is one of the very first vegan pasta dishes that was ever created on Fit Foodie Finds. We absolutely love the creamy pesto that is made out of soaked cashews.
“Thank you SO much for this recipe, it is DIVINE! My new favorite lunch to bring to work, and it’s awesome for meal prep! I had extra cashews and just didn’t know what to do with them until I stumbled on this recipe. I omitted olives since I don’t like them, but added in a pinch of feta on top before I eat it. YUM.” –Ariana
What is in Creamy Vegan Pesto Pasta?
Cashews: this recipe calls for raw, unsalted cashews. We highly recommend using raw cashews rather than roasted ones because roasted cashews really change the flavor.
Tahini: this creamy sauce has amazing amazing umami flavor because of tahini.
Pasta: we used rotini noodles for this recipe, but feel free to use any small pasta that has shape to it to hold the creamy cashew sauce.
Varitations + Substitutions
The vegetables and beans used in this recipe are inspired by a classic Greek salad recipe. Cucumber, tomato, red onion, and garbanzo beans. They are delicious and fresh. If you have other vegetables that you prefer, go ahead and substitute them.
We do not suggest substituting cashews with any other nut. Cashews blend perfectly to create a delicious dairy-free sauce.
If you are a cheese person, feel free to add crumbled feta to this salad for a salty bite.
Why aren’t my cashews getting creamy?
There are a few possible reasons why the cashews are creaming. You either haven’t soaked the cashews long enough or you are not using a strong enough blender or food processor.
Do I eat this pasta cold or warm?
We developed this recipe to be eaten cold, but it is delicious as warm pasta, too.
What if I can’t find Tahini?
If you can’t find tahini you can use hummus instead. If you hummus also isn’t an option, just skip it.
How do I make this spicy?
Make this pasta salad spicy by mixing 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Before storing, allow the pasta salad to cool to room temperature. This will prevent the buildup of condensation which can make the salad soggy.
Store in an airtight container. Always store the pasta salad in the refrigerator if you’re not eating it immediately. The cashew sauce, especially, is perishable and should be kept cold. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
This vegan pasta salad can be served alongside other vegan main dishes like black bean burgers or grilled portabella mushrooms. You can also serve this pasta salad with other protein dishes like our favorite BBQ grilled chicken, spatchcock chicken, or grilled shrimp.
Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
We are obsessed with this creamy vegan pasta salad. The creamy pesto is made with blended cashews and then tossed with pasta and crunchy vegetables.
- 16 oz. rotini or any kind of pasta
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 large cucumber chopped
- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans rinsed
- 3/4 cup kalamata olives pitted and halved
- 1/2 large red onion thinly sliced
First, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rotini and cook until al dente.
While pasta is boiling, place all of the ingredients for the cashew pesto into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Depending on how juicy your lemon was, you may need to add more water. The consistency should be thick and creamy. Set aside for later!
Once pasta is al dente, remove from stove and strain in the sink. Run pasta under cold water and set aside.
Last, prep the vegetables for the pasta salad. Half the cherry tomatoes, rinse and strain garbanzo beans, half the kalamata olives, chop the cucumber, and thinly slice red the onion. Place veggies into a large bowl and add pasta. Mix until combined.
Finally, add in cashew pesto and mix until everything is generously coated.
Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour and then enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Soak your cashews in water for 8 hours or overnight. This will soften them a bit and allow them to be blended into pesto.
- Option to use raw or roasted garlic. We tried both ways and really enjoyed the roasted variation.
Calories: 361kcal Carbohydrates: 45g Protein: 12g Fat: 16g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 3g