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creamy vegan Italian pasta salad

A bowl filled with creamy Italian pasta salad.

4 from 1 reviews

Creamy vegan Italian pasta salad brimming with veggies, artichokes, black olives and an irresistibly rich Italian dressing is your new family favorite. 

Ingredients

Scale

Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 Tbsp. white balsamic
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ - ½ cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper

 

Salad

  • 4 cups dried pasta (we used tri-colored fusilli)
  • 1 can (13 oz./390 gm.) artichoke hearts, drained and diced, about 1 ½ cups
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped small (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1/3 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup basil leaves, torn or chopped

Instructions

  1. Start by soaking the cashews. Add 1 cup of raw cashews to a bowl, and then add 2-3 cups of boiling water. Set the cashews aside and soak for 30 minutes.
  2. While the cashews soak, prep all the vegetables and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Be sure not to overcook the pasta. As soon as it is done, drain and give it a quick rinse with cold water.
  3. Finish the dressing by draining and rinsing the cashews. Add them to a blender with white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper. Blend the ingredients for a few minutes, then begin adding water a few tablespoons at a time. Blend after each addition of water.
  4. Taste the dressing after adding about ¼ a cup of water. At this point, you may want to add more vinegar or lemon juice. Continue adding water and blending until you have a dressing that is thin enough to pour.
  5. Transfer the dressing to a small bowl and mix in the Italian seasoning and black pepper. Mix this in with a spoon.
  6. To make the salad, combine the pasta in a medium salad bowl and add half the dressing. Add the rest of the veggies and dressing and mix the salad well. Finally, add the basil and mix it in or garnish the top with it.
  7. Serve the salad immediately or allow it to rest until you are ready to dish it up.

Notes

  • You can make this salad ahead of time or just cook the pasta a day before as a part of your weekly meal prep. If the pasta sticks together or the salad needs freshening up, mix in a teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • Creamy cashew dressing relies on prepping the cashews for blending. In addition to the boiled water soak (which we recommend), you can soak cashews overnight. You can also try boiling or steaming cashews for 15 minutes in place of soaking.
  • If the dressing is gritty, continue blending. Don’t be afraid to run the blender for up to 15 minutes or more. It’s also helpful to add the water a little at a time as you go. Be sure you use a blender because a blender pushes the ingredients down into the blade and creates friction between the cashews that help them break down.

Keywords: vegan Italian pasta salad

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