Healthy Vegetarian and Vegan Pasta Salads for Summer

At it's simplest, pasta salad is simply pasta, served chilled, with any vegetables or other ingredients, usually with a salad-like dressing of mayonnaise or vinegar instead of with a heavy sauce, like a hot pasta dish. Pasta salads can vary from simple to gourmet. Here's several way to make vegetarian and vegan pasta salads perfect for cool lunches and light dinners during the hot summer months. Pasta salads are always a great vegetarian option to bring to a potluck, outdoor picnic or...MORE cookout.

Here's a collection of meatless pasta salads that make the perfect meal for hot summer days. All of these recipes are vegetarian, and many are vegan as well. Enjoy!

  • 01 of 08

    No, it's not impossible to make a delicious fat-free pasta salad! The trick? Omit the cheese and mayonnaise and use a fat-free bottled Italian salad dressing instead.

  • 02 of 08

    Creamy artichoke and tomato pasta salad

    This meatless pasta salad is incredibly simple, yet absolutely delicious, though I have to admit, I do miss the black olives in this recipe. Next time, I'll definitely add them in! I also like to add a bit of garlic salt to this recipe, since I like my food on the salty side. Need this recipe to be vegan? Just use a dairy-free and egg-free vegan mayonnaise and viola! Need it to be gluten-free? You'll have to use a gluten-free pasta, of course, but other than the pasta, the rest of the...MORE ingredients are gluten-free.
  • 03 of 08

    I don't personally make pasta salad all that often, but when I do, this Italian pasta salad recipe is the recipe I use. I love that this meatless summer salad has black olives and avocados as well as chopped artichoke hearts, and I always add a few shakes of Italian seasonings for extra flavor. This recipe calls for rosemary and oregano, and gets plenty of flavor from the artichoke heart liquid, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper.

  • 04 of 08

    Though many meatless pasta salad dishes are also vegan, sometimes a little cheese is just the right compliment to complete the dish, if you're not eating dairy-free. Even if you are eating dairy-free and vegan, don't dismiss this pasta salad with black olives and feta cheese recipe just yet! There's enough going on here - including artichoke hearts, white beans for some vegetarian protein, garlic, cucumber and roasted red pepper - that you could omit the feta cheese without missing...MORE it.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Who needs fancy ingredients when you have garden fresh herbs to use? This simple vegetarian pasta salad (the recipe calls for Parmesan cheese but you can omit it to make it fully vegan) has just a few ingredients: pasta, garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, lemon and fresh parsley, topped off with pine nuts and Parmesan. It's basic, easy and delicious.  

  • 06 of 08
    When it comes to personalizing and adjusting pasta salad recipes, you really can't go wrong, as long as you keep the pasta to veggies to dressing ratio relatively in check. This rotini pasta salad is good starter recipe that could be adjusted any way. Try adding pepper, fresh mozzarella balls, black or green olives, or anything you like. Because this pasta salad is mayonnaise-free, it's a good option for outdoor summer picnics or potlucks. Enjoy!
  • 07 of 08

    Fresh apricot summer pasta salad

    Fresh fruit is the best part of summer, so add some to your meatless pasta salad! This vegetarian pasta salad is made from apricots, fresh basil, and zucchini, and is dressed in a homemade gourmet apricot salad vinaigrette dressing.
  • 08 of 08
    When fresh asparagus is in season, take advantage of it as much as possible while you can! The flavors of fresh asparagus are better than any meat that you could add to this light and summer dish. This veggie-laden pasta salad is made with asparagus, bell peppers, tomatoes and fresh parsley in a Dijon and balsamic vinaigrette, and it's both vegetarian and vegan. Make it gluten-free by using a gluten-free pasta.