Lift your taste buds with healthy, oil free vegan dill pickle pasta salad with all your favorite tastes in one big bowl. Creamy dill pickle ranch dressing, tofu bacon, tomatoes, celery, onions and of course more dill pickles!
Because I wanted to create a hearty and special, I knew I needed my favorite tofu bacon recipe. It’s converted me into a ‘bacon’ person which is a new thing for me. The secret is really in getting your 4 steps coordinated:
- Slice into quarters and press (this will get more moisture out quicker)
- Cube or cut into desired shape
- Marinate (you can do this overnight too)
That’s it – oil free, savory tofu bacon. Bake it soft, bake it longer for crispy.
The ‘good’ stuff
Bacon was one of those things I gave up long before plant-based became my norm. The calorie/fat issue was but one part, then I learned about those pesky nitrates. Nitrates and the links to cancer are undeniable and it seemed to me that bacon just wasn’t worth the additives. I know, you can get nitrate-free bacon, but I wonder – what’s replacing the nitrates? And why bother, when a few simple ingredients get you to smoky, savory bacon with ingredients you know?
Dill (not dull) pickle ranch
It’s not really a new thing to add pickle juice to dressing for pasta salad. This is a bit of a recreation of my favorite ranch dressing and well worth soaking a few cashews. That said, unless you have a high-powered blender, you’ll want to soak your cashews for the ultimate in creaminess. Plan accordingly and toss them in a bowl, covered with water before you go to bed. All ready when it’s time for dressing.
It reminds me of…
Food is often associated with memories. When I think about camping, picnics or barbecues there is quite often a big bowl of pasta salad somewhere in the picture. Maybe my past didn’t include vegan dill pickle pasta salad, but a few bites made me reminiscent of some happy times.
I’m not one for dwelling on the past, but I don’t think we should ignore it. If we can constructively and honestly reflect on it, there is much to be gained. Honor the lessons learned, forgive, avoid falsifying it and allow the past to push you forward. Peace.Print
Vegan dill pickle pasta salad, oil free, with creamy dill pickle ranch dressing, tofu bacon, tomatoes, celery, onions, fresh dill and yes, more pickles!
- 8-ounce (250 gm.) block of firm tofu
- ¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. black pepper
Dill Pickle Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight
- ¼ cup (60 ml.) pickle juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- ¼ cup (60 ml.) plant milk
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill (125 ml.)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives (60 ml.)
- 3 cups (450 grams) dry small shells or macaroni noodles
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 stalks celery, diced small (1 cup/250 ml.)
- 1 small red onion, finely diced (1/2 cup/125 ml)
- 1/2 cup (125 ml.) dill pickles, diced
Timing tip – unless you have a super-high speed blender, you’ll need to soak the cashews for 4 hours or overnight.
- Cut the tofu block into quarters and then press out the moisture by placing it between 2 plates (or other flat surface) and weighting the top or use a tofu press. Allow the tofu to press for about 20 minutes.
- In a shallow dish, make the marinade by combing the soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, onion and garlic powder and black pepper.
- When the tofu is pressed, cut it into small cubes and toss it in the marinade to coat it. Cover the dish and allow the tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes ). Toss it halfway through so it is coated on all sides.
- While the tofu does its thing, make the dressing by draining the cashews and adding them plus the pickle juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, plant milk, garlic powder and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. You may want to add more plant milk depending on the consistency you desire.
- Transfer the dressing to a bowl and stir in the dill and chives.
- Pre-heat the oven to 4250F (2200C).
- While the oven heats, start a big pot of water boiling for the pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender, but firm.
- Place the tofu on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Use a spatula and turn the cubes over. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until the tofu is firm. The amount of time you need will depend on the size of the cubes.
- Drain the pasta and allow it to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients (tomatoes, celery, onion and dill pickles). Add them to a medium salad bowl. Add the pasta and add the dressing and tofu cubes. Mix well.
- Serve immediately or chill and serve later.
- You can prepare the tofu ahead of time and leave it in the marinade overnight.
- This salad is great even the next day (or day after). It holds together and doesn’t get mushy.
- If you want a ‘skinner’ dressing, replace half the cashews with white beans.
- A few ideas to add: grated or diced carrots, cucumber, black olives.
- Category: Salads & Bowls
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan dill pickle pasta salad