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Summery Italian Pasta Salad (No Meat, Just Veggies!)

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I love the versatility of pasta salad and using fresh ingredients as they become in season. This Italian pasta salad is filled with fresh summer vegetables and doesn’t use any meat or dairy. It’s perfect served warm and fresh, or chilled and served cold. It’s also a great recipe for meal prep, picnics, or lunches on the go.

Italian pasta salad without meat

Recipe Highlights

  • This recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes, perfect for busy weeknight meals.
  • It’s suitable for a wide range of diets – vegan, vegetarian, soy-free and nut-free. But, you can add-in other ingredients like cheese if you do not have these dietary restrictions.
  • A wide variety of fresh veggies are used, and you can swap them out depending on what is available to you.
  • Versatile pasta salads like this one can be served hot or cold, making them a good option for lunchboxes or meal prep.
  • This recipe is pot-luck and budget. Make as much as you want and feed a crowd.

How To Make This Italian Pasta Salad

Italian pasta salad without meat in cast iron pan and bowl for serving

Prep the veggies you are using. Cut the onion and mince the garlic. Trim the beans and cut into small pieces. Slice the bell pepper thinly, and cut the zucchini into semi-circles. Slice the tomatoes in half. Remove corn kernels from the cob if using fresh.

Finely chop the basil leaves and set aside.

Cook the pasta to al dente in a large pot of salted water. Drain immediately.

Add a splash of oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cooking for 3-5 minutes till the onion turns translucent.

Add the corn and beans and cook for 2 minute, stirring frequently. Add zucchini and bell pepper, cooking an additional 3 minutes until the pepper begins to soften.

Remove from heat and add salt and pepper. Stir well and add chopped basil and tomatoes.

Combine cooked pasta with vegetables and serve immediately. Or, chill and serve cold.

Recipe Note

If serving this dish cold as a pasta salad, allow the pasta and cooked vegetables to cool separately. Then, combine with the basil and tomatoes.

Italian pasta salad without meat

Ingredients Needed

  • Penne or fusilli pasta of choice – use your favorite brand of short pasta.
  • Yellow onion – the onion is cooked, softening the flavor.
  • Garlic – fresh, minced garlic is ideal for the best flavor.
  • Fresh corn – I like to use fresh corn in the summer, but frozen will also work.
  • Green beans – you can also use yellow beans.
  • Zucchini – zucchini is in abundance in the summer months, adding bulk and nutrition to this recipe.
  • Red bell pepper – red bells are my favorite, but you can also use orange or green.
  • Basil leaves – If there is one ingredient you will want to use fresh in this recipe, it’s the basil!
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes – tomatoes in mixed in last, preventing the pasta from becoming runny.
  • Olive oil – a high quality olive oil will yield the best flavor.
  • Salt & pepper – I keep it simple with seasonings in this recipe, but you can mix it up with different variations as you like.
  • Additional optional add-ins: olives, Italian dressing, sun dried tomato, oregano, vegan cheese or vegan pepperoni.

Storage And Serving

Store pasta salad in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge. I would not recommend freezing this pasta salad. You can also prepare the ingredients separately and make this in advance.

Recipe Tips

  • I’ts always best to undercook your pasta a little bit when making pasta salad. It tends to cook a tiny bit more as it cools.
  • Add a pinch of salt to the water before boiling the pasta. That helps to add flavor.
  • You can use gluten-free pasta if your diet requires. I like using fusilli as it I find it is very sturdy and helps grab the ingredients well.
  • Avoid rinsing your pasta after you drain it. You want those starches on the noodles!

Let me know your favorite way to make and serve this summery pasta salad. Of course, it’s delicious at any time of the year.

Other vegan pasta dishes

Summery Italian Pasta Salad (No Meat, Just Veggies!)

Italian pasta salad without meat
This pasta salad uses fresh summer veggies and can be served hot or cold.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serving Size 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pasta fusilli or penne
  • ½ yellow onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¾ cup corn from 1 ear
  • 4 oz green beans or yellow
  • 1 zucchini sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions

Prep the vegetables

  • Cut onion into 1/4 inch thick circles. Mince garlic.
  • Remove corn kernels from cob and trim the ends of the beans. Cut beans into 1" pieces.
  • Thinly slice bell pepper into 2" pieces. Cut zucchini into 1/2 inch thick semi-circles.
  • Slice tomatoes in half. Finely chop the fresh basil.

Cook the pasta

  • Cook the pasta to al dente in a pot of salted water. Drain immediately.
  • Toss with a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

Cook the vegetables

  • Add oil to a large pan and heat over medium. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring, until the onion starts to turn translucent.
  • Add the corn and beans. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the zucchini and bell pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until pepper starts to soften up, and zucchini is browning in spots.
  • Remove from heat and add in the salt and pepper. Stir until well distributed.
  • If serving pasta salad hot, add the chopped basil and tomatoes and toss to distribute. If serving pasta salad cold, allow the cooked vegetables to cool separate before combining with basil and tomatoes.

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