Vegan pasta salad with green goddess dressing is a creamy, tasty, and healthy fan favorite that can be on the table in 30 minutes. Make this hearty salad whole food, plant-based (wfpb) compliant by using whole wheat pasta and oil-free vegan sour cream.
pasta salad secrets
The secret to this green goddess pasta salad recipe is the luxurious vegan green goddess dressing recipe and making plenty of it to bathe the pasta and veggies. And the secret for making it a creamy dressing is a base of vegan sour cream blended with fresh herbs.
You can buy vegan or plant-based sour cream in many supermarkets. Check the label to ensure that your brand of choice contains ingredients that align with your needs. Some brands are made with added sugar or oil.
Pasta – This salad does well with just about any short or shaped pasta. Use whole wheat, oil-free pasta if you want it wfpb. You can also use your favorite gluten-free pasta or specialties, such as chickpea pasta. Consult the package directions if the brand or type is new to you. The best pasta salad features pasta that is firm to the tooth (al dente).
Fennel – Fennel adds a sweet licorice flavor and a crunchy texture. Try to get a small fennel bulb with the fronds (the feathery leaves). We'll use the fronds for the dressing if you have them.
Sugar snap peas – Sugar snap peas are delicious sliced and raw. Living up to their name, that means a snappier crunch for the salad.
Arugula – Also known as rocket, this is additional green with a peppery, slightly flavor. Arugula stands up well after being dressed and mixed, so you won't be left with mushy leftovers.
Scallions – Grab a bunch of scallions (green onion). Six will do. Half for the salad and half for the dressing. In both cases, use the white and green parts. There's no sense wasting the crunchy, subtly flavored greens of scallions. If you decide to substitute with onions, I recommend using red onion for the salad and shallots or white onion for the dressing.
Vegan sour cream – Use a commercial brand or homemade. Although you might have subtle flavor differences, vegan mayo or yogurt are possible substitutions. Finally, you can make green goddess dressing using ripe avocado.
Lemon juice - Fresh lemon juice add zest to the dressing. Homemade vegan sour cream often uses apple cider vinegar for the acid, so you may need to adjust the flavor accordingly.
Fresh herbs – It wouldn't be a green goddess without fresh leafy herbs. For this version, we'll use fresh basil, parsley, and the fronds of the fennel bulb.
No fronds? No problem. Use the same amount of fresh dill weed.
how to slice a fennel bulb
There are a lot of ways to approach fennel. Here’s mine.
- Cut off the stalks and fronds.
- Cut off the stalk end of the bulb.
- Lay the fennel flat, and then cut it into two pieces.
- Cut out the solid inner stalk (it usually looks like a triangle).
- Lay the halves, cut side down, and thinly slice the fennel.
- Be sure not to overcook the pasta. Remove it promptly from the cooking water and rinse it in cold water. This stops the cooking process and washes away the starch. That's what makes the pasta sticky.
- Mix the pasta and dressing together first. I find it a best practice to add about ¾ of the pasta with the salad dressing first. This is your check to ensure that you have the creamiest salad. Types and brands of pasta can vary. There's nothing worse than not having enough dressing.
- If you notice that the salad gets a bit dry after sitting, add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to freshen it up.
Most packaged pasta is vegan, but it's always a good idea to check the label. If you want the healthiest pasta, look for those made from whole wheat that does not contain added oil.
Taste it! Pasta is best if it is tender yet firm to the tooth. Use the package directions as a guide because cooking times for different types and sizes of pasta vary. Some brands may recommend rinsing. Drain it immediately so that it doesn't continue cooking.
Fennel has a very distinctive flavor, so it's difficult to substitute. However, if it is unavailable, celery or celeriac are closest. If neither of these is an option, a small amount of diced carrot will give your salad crunchy color.
If you need a substitute for the peppery flavor of arugula (rocket) for pasta salad or other salads, consider watercress, baby spinach, dandelion greens, or Radicchio in that order.
pasta salad favorites
vegan pasta salad with green goddess dressing
Vegan pasta salad with green goddess dressing is a creamy, tasty, and healthy fan favorite that can be on the table in 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 1x
- Category: hearty salads
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 16 ounces of pasta of choice (453 grams)
- 1 cup vegan sour cream
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup fennel fronds (or fresh dill weed)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 6 scallions, white and green parts
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 cup of sliced fennel bulb (keep ¼ of the fonds)
- 1 cup arugula (rocket)
- 1 cup sugar snap peas (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- Cook the pasta. Begin by heating a large pot of water. When it reaches a boil, add the pasta. Taste it to check for doneness. Once it's tender yet firm, immediately drain it and rinse it with cool water to keep it from sticking.
- Blend the dressing ingredients. Add vegan sour cream, basil, parsley, fennel fonds, garlic, 3 scallions, and lemon juice to a food processor or blender. Combine the ingredients until smooth. Add more lemon juice or water if you want to make it thinner.
- Finish the salad. Mix the dressing and pasta in a large bowl, then add the sliced fennel, arugula, and sugar snap peas. Adjust the flavors. Add salt and black pepper if desired. If the salad starts to cease (dry out), add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to freshen it up.
- If you want to make your own, healthy sour cream, we recommend plant-based sour cream (made with cashews) or sunflower seed sour cream.
- The recipe calls for 6 scallions in total. 3 are blended with the salad dressing, and 3 are sliced and mixed into the salad.
- If you need a substitute for fresh fennel, the closest is diced celery or celeriac. You won't get the same subtle licorice flavor as fennel but will give the salad crunch. In a pinch, diced carrot can be used.
- Store leftover pasta salad in the refrigerator. Add lemon juice or a touch more vegan sour cream to freshen it up if desired.
Keywords: vegan pasta salad, vegan sour cream, fennel, arugula, basil, parsley, vegan green goddess salad dressing