Easy vegan pasta salad loaded with pesto and refreshing vegetables. The perfect side salad to lunch or dinner or makes a lovely light lunch on its own.
In a little over 3 weeks, we will be celebrating Christmas! My partner and I normally spend Christmas with his family in Melbourne. He has a large and jolly family which I'm very grateful for, but there aren't often many vegan options at gatherings. This year, I'm going to bring this joyful and colourful pasta salad! It's gluten-free, easy to make and will give you enough energy for socialising with those relatives... and in my case, running around and babysitting an energetic group of kids! It's perfect because by the holidays, the last thing I want to do is create a feast in the kitchen so this pasta salad ticks all of the boxes.
I chose seasonal ingredients for this salad because nothing screams Christmas more than Summery greens and fruits (in Australia at least)! If you're intimidated by pomegranate, don't be! There are heaps of YouTube videos on how to easily remove the arils like this one or this one. I actually cut off segments of the pomegranate with a knife and remove the seeds with my fingers... it's not the quickest method but I find it very meditative! Alternatively, you can use chopped up strawberries in your salad.
Check out my other vegan lunch and dinner recipes
Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 red capsicum, decored and sliced thinly
- Olive oil, as needed
- ~3 cups (250g) short pasta of choice, uncooked (gluten free if needed)
- ~1 ½ cups (250g) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 pomegranate, arils only
- 1 cup (30g) packed baby spinach or salad leaves of choice
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ½ cup (70g) pine nuts
- ~1 cup (20g) packed basil leaves
- ¼ cup (65g) olive oil, or water
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast, optional
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp any good-quality salt
- Heat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
- Spread the capsicum on a lined baking tray and place in oven. Drizzle with olive oil if desired. Roast for 10 minutes or until softened. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook pasta according to packet instructions.
- Dry roast the pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the pine nuts, basil, olive oil, nutritional yeast and salt to a food processor and process for 30 seconds or until it forms a paste. Set aside.
- Add all of the ingredients except the avocado to a large mixing bowl. Gently toss until combined. Scoop onto a serving platter and garnish with slices of avocado. Eat immediately.
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