Vegan Tuscan-Inspired Pasta Salad

Vegan Tuscan-Inspired Pasta Salad

This Tuscan-inspired pasta salad is summer’s best bud.

It’s packed with cannellini beans, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, red onion, black olives, vegan parmesan, and baby spinach.

Occasions I like to make pasta salad for include:

Picnics, backyard BBQs, family get-togethers, and potlucks.

But more often than not, I’ll just make a big batch during the week so I have something to snack on or use as a side dish for days.

For the dressing, you’ll just throw olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, and a handful of other seasonings into a jar and give that baby a shake. Easy, right? Plus the only things you’ll have to chop are the onion and basil.

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So if you’ve got time to boil some pasta and throw some stuff in a bowl, this recipe’s for you!

I’ve used bowtie/farfalle pasta, but you can use any short pasta that has nooks and crannies for the dressing and other ingredients to stick to. Think fusilli, rotini, penne. I also really recommend using fresh basil here because the flavor is unbeatable. You can ultimately do whatever you like, though!

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Vegan Tuscan-Inspired Pasta Salad

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword pasta salad, tuscan pasta salad, vegan pasta salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Hannah

Ingredients

  • 10 oz farfalle pasta
  • 1 (15oz) can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 large red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut sun dried tomatoes, in oil oil drained*
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 (6oz) can sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan shredded
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar*
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp agave or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, toss with a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking, set aside, and allow to cool.
  • Add all dressing ingredients to a jar with a lid, and shake to combine.
  • Toss all ingredients and the dressing in a large bowl.
  • Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Notes

*You can substitute 2 cups of sliced cherry tomatoes for the sun dried tomatoes
*Can substitute red wine vinegar for the white wine vinegar

Garlic Scallion Noodles

These noodles come together in 15 minutes and are so easy. Feel free to add in extra veggies and/or protein of choice – some crispy tofu would be perfect.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely have wasted my fair share of green onions simply because I didn’t feel like prepping them. Now I try to make sure to wash and chop them all the same day or the day after purchase, then I put them in a reusable silicone bag in the freezer. That way I have green onions chopped and ready whenever I need them. Make sure you save the bulbs because you can replant them and have free onions!

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Ingredients:

  • 6oz spaghetti or ramen noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions/green onions, chopped (sauté white parts and reserve green for serving)
  • 1.5 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • Sesame seeds
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Instructions:

  1. Heat sesame oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Sauté onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add the rice vinegar to loosen the brown bits up.
  2. Add the noodles to the pan. Mix together soy sauce (start with 2 tbsp) and sugar. Pour mixture over the noodles and stir to incorporate. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.
  3. Serve topped with reserved green onions, crushed red pepper, and sesame seeds.

Notes:

Feel free to add in extra veggies and/or protein of choice! Some crispy tofu would be perfect.


Lemony Garlic And White Wine Spaghetti

Words I love to see in a recipe: garlic, lemon, butter, wine, pasta.

Make this lemony garlic and white wine spaghetti in the time it takes to boil some noods and have a glass of wine. Seriously, it takes 15 minutes. You’ll need lots of garlic, a lemon, crushed red pepper, vegan butter, white wine, vegan parmesan, herbs, and some noods (don’t pour out the pasta water).

If you like lemon and garlic, this one’s for you. If you’re not a mega fan like me, then feel free to scale back on the amount of lemon juice and cloves of garlic as it’s pretty intense!

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Prep Time: 5 minutes – Cook Time: 10 minutes – Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz thick or regular spaghetti (reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water)
  • 4 tbsp salted vegan butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (scale back to 1/4 tsp if you’re sensitive to spice)
  • The juice of 1 lemon and its zest
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated vegan parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh herbs like thyme or parsley for serving

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Pour in lemon juice and white wine. Turn the heat up to medium high and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
  5. Remove from heat and add in cooked pasta, lemon zest, and parmesan. Toss to coat, gradually adding a bit of the pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce (you likely won’t need the full 1/2 cup).
  6. Give it a try and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Serve with extra parmesan and herbs if using. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: Prepare a green salad with roasted chickpeas or tempeh to go alongside the pasta and balance the meal out.


Buffalo Chickpea Pita Pizzas

We love a double chickpea recipe. This one’s got roasted chickpeas AND buffalo hummus.

These crispy buffalo chickpea pita pizzas are SO fun to make and eat. Grab some hummus and pita bread, whip them up in 30 minutes, and top with red onion, celery, a drizzle of ranch, and greens.

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Pita pizzas are basically the savior of work from home lunch. I know so many people this year feel like they are just constantly making food, then cleaning the kitchen, making food, then cleaning. Pita pizzas create little mess in the kitchen and are easy to mix up. You can make BBQ pita pizzas, margherita pita pizzas, taco pita pizzas, cheeseburger pita pizzas. Now say pita pizzas 5 times fast.

What you’ll need:

  • a can of chickpeas
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • plain hummus
  • hot sauce
  • pita bread
  • red onion
  • celery
  • vegan ranch
  • and some greens!
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What to do:

Preheat your oven to 375F. Then, on a lined baking sheet, toss chickpeas with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway. (PS – the chickpeas are going to get crispier on the pita pizzas later)

While the chickpeas are in the oven, mix together hummus and hot sauce to make buffalo hummus. Go ahead and chop your onion and celery, too.

Remove the chickpeas from oven. Place pitas on a baking sheet and spread with buffalo hummus, then top with the roasted chickpeas and red onion. Bake (again at 375F) for 10 minutes, broiling for the last 2 minutes or so.

Remove the pita pizzas from the oven and top with celery, ranch, extra hot sauce if you want, and greens. Enjoy!

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Buffalo Chickpea Pita Pizzas

These crispy buffalo chickpea pita pizzas are SO fun to make and eat. Grab some hummus and pita bread, whip them up in 30 minutes, and top with red onion, celery, a drizzle of ranch, and greens.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword buffalo pizza, pita pizza, pizza
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 pitas
Author Hannah

Ingredients

Chickpeas

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper to taste
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Buffalo Hummus

  • 1/2 cup plain hummus
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce* to taste

Everything Else:

  • 4 pieces pita bread
  • 1/4 red onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • vegan ranch dressing
  • extra hot sauce
  • greens (microgreens, cilantro, arugula, etc.)*

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Toss chickpea ingredients on a lined baking sheet and bake 15 minutes, stirring halfway. They’re going to get crispier on the pizzas later.
  • While the chickpeas are in the oven, mix together hummus and hot sauce to make buffalo hummus. Chop your onion and celery.
  • Remove chickpeas from oven. Place pitas on a baking sheet and spread with buffalo hummus, then top with chickpeas and red onion. Bake (again at 375F) for 10 minutes, broiling for the last 2 minutes.
  • Remove pitas from the oven and top with celery, ranch, extra hot sauce, and greens.

Notes

*For the hot sauce, I used Frank’s Red Hot
*For the greens, I used micro cilantro because I received it in a PR package, but you can use whatever you’d like.
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Vegan Jalapeño Burgers

Here’s how I level up a package of vegan ground beef! Jalapeño, garlic, onion, optional vegan Worcestershire sauce, and lots of fresh ground pepper make these juicy plant-based burgers. I opted to melt some vegan pepper jack over top and toss on some pickled jalapeños, but you can top however you see fit.

PS: These freeze well, so Peter and I like making a large batch to thaw out whenever we’re craving burgers.

PPS: I got this vegan pepper jack nice and melty with the help of a mini melting dome, which is a game changer!

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Makes 5-6 patties

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package vegan ground beef (I used Impossible which is 12oz, but have also used Beyond which is 16oz)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional, I use Annie’s)
  • A few cracks fresh ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and form into patties.
  2. Heat an oiled pan over medium-high and cook burgers 2-3 minutes per side.


Crispy Tofu Tacos with Vegan Lime Cumin Slaw

These tacos remind me of being on deck at a restaurant in the Bahamas eating some fish tacos and sipping a Kalik. But vegan! Ah, covid travel blues. Maybe they’ll spark some memories for you, too.

This slaw is the JAM, by the way. If you’re not into tofu, please – make the slaw at least! The little kick from the cayenne and sliced red onion is so good.

Also, if you’re not into tofu dishes – maybe you’ll like this one! I know it can be a little intimidating if you’ve never tried it or have only had it prepared one way. But tofu is basically magic and can soak up all kinds of marinades and be made to have so many different textures. These are, as the name says, the perfect little crispy golden bites that are perfect for tacos.

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Ingredients:

Lime Cumin Slaw

  • 6 cups/1 bag shredded cabbage mix
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Crispy Tofu

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil

Etc.

  • Tortillas
  • Sliced avocado
  • Chopped tomato
  • Lime wedges
  • Whatever else you want to top with
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Instructions:

Lime Cumin Slaw

  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients (mayo through fresh ground pepper) in the bottom of a large bowl.
  2. Place cabbage mix and red onion in the bowl with the dressing, and toss to coat.

Crispy Tofu

  1. Slice the tofu and place pieces between 2 towels, pressing gently, for 10-15 minutes to soak up some excess moisture.
  2. Whisk together cornstarch, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Coat each piece of tofu in the mixture and set aside on a plate.
  3. Over medium-high heat, coat the bottom of a large pan with oil and pan fry tofu 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and very crispy.

Heat up some tortillas and assemble your tacos with the slaw, crispy tofu, sliced avocado, chopped tomato, or whatever else you’d like. Enjoy!



Green Sandwich with Vegan Pesto Cream Cheese

Making this pesto cream cheese is as simple as locating your favorite brands of non-dairy cream cheese and vegan pesto. Yep, most pestos aren’t vegan (or even vegetarian) due to the inclusion of parmesan cheese. Authentic parmesan cheese is made with animal rennet, an enzyme that’s found in the lining of a goat or calf’s stomach… But it’s easy to find a great vegan pesto at a variety of stores, or you could always make your own if you find yourself with lots of basil and a bit of time.

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Not sure which non-dairy cream cheese to buy? I’ve tried a bunch over the years, and am always here with the recommendations! Since you’re mixing it with pesto, you can get away with a cream cheese that’s good but not your favorite. Ultimately, you just have to explore a bit with vegan options to find what you like! Hate one brand? Try another next time it’s on sale, or mix up how you’re serving it. If you have been eating dairy cream cheese on plain bagels your entire life, it’s going to be a bit hard to find a vegan cream cheese that replaces that experience 1:1 at first. Try it on a bagel sandwich with lots of fresh herbs, capers, veggies, red onion, vegan deli slices, carrot lox if you’re feeling adventurous, or whatever tickles your fancy. Or, duh, mix it with pesto and make this!

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Ingredients:

  • Sliced bread
  • Non-dairy cream cheese
  • Vegan pesto
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Arugula

Instructions:

  1. Toast your bread. While it’s toasting, whisk together equal parts cream cheese and pesto, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a few cracks of pepper. Adjust amounts depending on how many sandwiches you’re making.
  2. Spread pesto cream cheese on bread, top with veggies, and eat!


Vegan Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Okay, hear me out! This doesn’t taste like pumpkin or pumpkin pie – just cheesy deliciousness. Pumpkin purée makes this vegan mac and cheese SO creamy, plus it’s just 9 ingredients and ready in only 15 minutes.

And PLEASE, for the love of GOD! Use pure pumpkin purée and NOT pumpkin pie mix!

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Yes, I did put in on a burger with pickled jalapeños. I post things like this on my Instagram (@plantsinmypants) at least 3 times a week!

Prep time: 4 minutes | Cook time: 11 minutes | Serves: about 4

Ingredients:

  • 16oz cooked pasta of choice
  • 1 cup raw cashews, softened if needed*
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black), optional
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Instructions:

  1. Blend sauce ingredients (cashews through garlic).
  2. Stir sauce into cooked pasta, along with 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper if using.
  3. Serve immediately.

Notes:

*if not using a high-powered blender: soften cashews by soaking in water overnight or by placing in hot water for 15 minutes prior to use


Buffalo Cauliflower & Ranch Coleslaw Pretzel Hoagies

Crispy buffalo cauliflower and creamy herb ranch dressing, all rested on a buttered and toasted pretzel bun. Put that on your plate! Okay, I’ve been watching too much Mrs. Maisel. But really, put this on your plate!

I deliberated over what to call this for way too long. Is it a roll? A po’ boy? A… sub? I almost settled on sandwich. But nay, it is no simple sandwich – it is a hoagie! (Still open to suggestions from any sandwich connoisseurs out there.)

Every time I make buffalo cauliflower, I feel like I’m left with SO much batter. I think this recipe makes the perfect amount of batter for a small or medium head of cauliflower.

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Serves: About 4 – Prep Time: 10 minutes – Cook Time: 45 minutes

For the Buffalo Cauliflower:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 3 cups), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup plant milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I like Frank’s RedHot)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Whisk together batter ingredients (all but cauliflower, hot sauce, and butter) in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Evenly coat each piece of cauliflower in the batter, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, being careful not to let the pieces touch.
  4. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, flipping halfway. If the batter is falling off, just bake them a bit longer before flipping.
  5. Whisk together melted butter and hot sauce. Pour mixture over the cauliflower and lightly toss to coat with tongs or a spatula.
  6. Bake for another 20 – 25 minutes, flipping again halfway, until crisp.
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For the Herb Ranch Dressing & Coleslaw:

Make this while your cauliflower is baking!

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 3 tablespoons plant milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 16 oz coleslaw mix (one large bag)

Instructions:

  1. Mix ranch ingredients (all except for the coleslaw) together in an airtight container.
  2. Stir 1/2 cup of the ranch dressing into the coleslaw mix. Taste and add more dressing or salt/pepper if you’d like. I like having lots of this ranch leftover to drizzle on top of the sandwiches, or just to save for later.

Assemble the Hoagies:

Butter and toast your bread*, scoop in the ranch coleslaw, and top with buffalo cauliflower. Finish with sliced green onions, parsley, more ranch, more hot sauce, or whatever ya fancy. Enjoy!

*You don’t have to use pretzel buns, but Pretzilla makes vegan ones that come in a 4 pack. I’ve been able to find them at Whole Foods and Publix!


Crispy Potato Tacos with Spicy Cashew Lime Sauce

Will we ever get tired of tacos? Hmm, I don’t think so.

These ones are loaded with crisp, seasoned potatoes, black beans, chopped tomatoes, and crunchy lettuce – all with a generous drizzle of vegan spicy cashew lime sauce over top.

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For the Potatoes:

  • 2 medium-sized russet potatoes cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F while you chop the potatoes.
  2. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss potatoes with the spices (cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper if using).
  3. Bake for about 35 minutes, stirring halfway, until potatoes are crisp. Oven temperatures vary, so you may need less or more time.
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For the Spicy Cashew Lime Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, softened*
  • 1/2 cup plant milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until very smooth.
  2. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*If you have a high-powered blender, you don’t need to soften your cashews. You can soften them by letting them soak in a bowl of water in the fridge overnight, or by placing the cashews in very hot water for 20 minutes before blending.

Assemble your tacos with the crispy potatoes and any other desired toppings such as black beans, baked tofu crumbles, chopped tomatoes, salsa, avocado, lettuce, guacamole, vegan cheese, or cilantro. Top with a drizzle of the spicy cashew lime sauce.