This Vegan Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad is a perfect way to use up all the summer produce like courgettes, sweetcorn, sweet red peppers, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes.
There's something so wonderful about a pasta salad in theory - it's quick to put together, easy to eat, and great for warm summer evenings as well as packed lunches.
But I feel like the term "pasta salad" tends to give the impression of stodgy, slightly congealed lumps of starch coated in lashings of gloopy mayonnaise, dotted with the odd slice of processed ham.
I wanted to change this reality. I wanted to make a pasta salad that would redeem all those mediocre pasta salads I've eaten in my life so far. I wanted to make one that's vibrantly colourful, fresh and intensely savoury.
I was, however, a little unsure about what dressing to use. A mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and salt seemed a little uninspiring to me.
I then remembered how much I love pesto sauce with pasta. But I wanted to make this pasta salad extra colourful, summery, and slightly Mediterranean-inspired, so I went for a sundried tomato pesto sauce, using my go-to vegan version, which just happens to be oil-free!
Then I jazzed it up with some sweet red peppers, courgettes, sweetcorn, artichoke hearts, juicy cherry tomatoes, plump olives and fresh basil.
This Vegan Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad is delicious as a quick weeknight dinner, an easy lunch, a packed lunch, and it's really easy to double or triple the quantities to feed a crowd.
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Helpful tools to make this Vegan Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad:
Vegan Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad (GF)
- 200 g (7oz) pasta (ensure gluten-free if necessary - I like brown rice pasta)
- ½ courgette (zucchini), very thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
- 150 g (5oz) tinned sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
- 6 tinned artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
- Few olives
- Handful of fresh basil
For the sundried tomato pesto:
- 8 sundried tomatoes
- Handful of fresh basil
- 1 clove of garlic
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Pinch of cayenne chilli pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet
- Make the sundried tomato pesto by adding all the ingredients for the pesto to a food processor or blender (or hand-held blender) and whizz until smooth
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and place it back in the pot you cooked it in and stir through the pesto
- Add all the vegetables and mix well
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