A classic dish with a twist, this vegan Chickpea Caesar Pasta Salad is full of creamy Caesar dressing and crunchy chickpea croutons! A great cookout side dish or entree. In partnership with Silk, who makes some of the best dairy-free milks that I use daily!
Vegan Caesar Pasta Salad with Chickpeas
Believe it or not, I used to hate salad dressing. I was always a pretty plain Jane eater – no dressings, no fancy toppings, no sauces… except ketchup. I had phases with Caesar salads at some point in my 21 years, but overall, I was not a fan of any of it. So basically, I was the girl who doused salads in just vinegar.
But alas, my tastebuds have evolved! Ever since I went vegan, I’ve been trying plant-powered versions of the foods I used to hate. Think ranch, BBQ sauce, and this so-delicious-I-could-drink-it vegan Caesar dressing. No seriously, it’s that good.
Are there foods you love now that you used to hate? I wasn’t picky as a kid, but there were some foods I didn’t love – blueberries (I know, crazy), oatmeal, Brussels sprouts. I think I ate Brussels sprouts through angry tears when my mom cooked them for dinner. Oh, if only I could tell myself that things would be different 10 years later…
How to Build a Balanced Vegan Pasta Salad
I hope you don’t hate me for another pasta salad recipe. This is just what happens when you have 4924380 boxes of pasta in your pantry. Does anyone want to come over and help me eat all this pasta?? You can be my taste testing assistant. 😉
Pasta salad really is a great dish to make for a balanced meal! There are so many different combinations to experiment with, like my Avocado Caprese Pasta Salad, Hemp Ranch Pasta Salad, and Creamy Mexican Pasta Salad. It’s the perfect packable picnic lunch and makes for a great summer cookout recipe.
Here’s my recipe for the perfect balanced vegan pasta salad:
- Complex carbohydrates from pasta, gluten-free if necessary (any short shape works!)
- Beans for protein & fiber
- Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach, or kale
- Vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, corn, and peas
- Healthy fats from a creamy dressing made with nuts or avocado
- Fun toppings like coconut bacon, vegan parmesan, and fresh herbs
Now that you’ve got my super simple recipe for a pasta salad, let’s talk about this one right here.
My favorite recipes to make and blog about are the ones that resemble classic dishes that people love. I feel like that’s the core of my blog – to show you that you can make healthy versions of your favorite recipes! This Caesar pasta salad is just as full of hearty ingredients and creamy dressing as the original version, but this one is vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free (if you use gluten-free pasta). Plus, the crispy chickpeas are like croutons!
The Best Vegan Caesar Dressing Recipe
The star of this pasta salad is the creamy, homemade Caesar dressing. I wasn’t lying earlier when I said I could probably drink it. It’s just as thick, savory and crave-worthy as the original. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Raw cashews. They’ll need to be soaked overnight and drained. If you don’t have that kind of time, here’s a guide on how to quickly soak cashews from Pasta Based.
- Silk Unsweetened Almondmilk. This helps make our vegan Caesar dressing super creamy, yet perfectly drizzle-able.
- Nutritional yeast. For that bomb umami flavor you’re looking for in a vegan caesar dressing.
- Lemon juice. Every good dressing needs a little acidity!
- Capers. Traditional Caesar dressings use anchovies, so we’re using capers to get a similar flavor and keep it vegan.
- Dijon mustard. For a bit of acidity and depth of flavor.
- Miso paste. This will also help thicken your vegan caesar dressing and add a bit more umami.
- Garlic. Arguably the best part of any recipe!
Simply toss all your ingredients into a blender and whiz it up! Done! Feel free to make a double batch of the vegan Caesar dressing to have extra for vegan Caesar salads or Caesar salad wraps! I used my go-to nut milk Silk Unsweetened Almondmilk to make the dressing extra creamy and rich. What I love about Silk is that their products are affordable, accessible, and very versatile. You can also use their Unsweetened Soymilk or Unsweetened Cashewmilk in this recipe!
Oh, exciting news! You can get a coupon for any Silk product by signing up for their email list. Go get it!!
How to Make Caesar Pasta Salad with Chickpeas
What I love most about vegan pasta salad recipes is they’re so quick and easy to put together, and this vegan Caesar pasta salad is no exception.
There are really only a few steps:
- Roast your chickpeas with all the seasonings for 15 minutes at 425. These act as a crunchy chickpea crouton in our vegan pasta salad to remind you even more of a Caesar salad.
- Chop up your veggies for the vegan pasta salad.
- Cook your pasta, drain and rinse it and let it cool off to room temp. You can speed up the cooling time by rinsing it under cold water.
- Whip up your vegan Caesar dressing and mix it all together with the pasta, veggies and chickpea croutons!
How to Store Vegan Caesar Pasta Salad
I enjoy having this Caesar pasta salad as a main meal, and I can also easily pack it for on-the-go lunches! It would also be great as a side dish to feed a crowd. I’ve got you covered for all your summer cook-outs and picnics!
If you don’t plan to eat it all in one go for dinner or at a cookout, I recommend storing the crispy chickpea croutons separately from the vegan pasta salad. So if you know you want to meal prep this for lunches, simply leave the chickpeas out when you mix your vegan pasta salad together. Then pack the vegan pasta salad in one container and your chickpea croutons in a separate one. Then when you go to make yourself a bowl for lunch, you can top it with your chickpeas and they’ll still be super crunchy!
More Vegan Pasta Salad Recipes
I have tons of pasta salad recipes on the blog for all your cookouts, summer gatherings and picnics. If Caesar isn’t your vibe, try one of these!
- Vegan Caprese Salad with Orzo
- Italian Vegan Pasta Salad
- Hemp Ranch Vegan Pasta Salad
- Creamy Vegan Mexican Pasta Salad
- Vegan Curried Pasta Salad
- Vegan Avocado Caprese Pasta Salad
Vegan Caesar Pasta Salad with Chickpeas
A classic dish with a twist, this vegan Caesar Pasta Salad is full of creamy vegan Caesar dressing and crunchy chickpea croutons! It’s a great summer cookout recipe and perfect for a picnic lunch.
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces dry pasta (any shape)
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
- 1/2 cup Silk Unsweetened Almondmilk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon miso paste
- 2 cloves garlic
- Vegan parmesan*
- Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- After draining and rinsing chickpeas, pat dry. Add to baking sheet; spray with a bit of cooking spray. Sprinkle on the paprika, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir chickpeas with a wooden spoon to coat evenly.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until crispy.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
- In a large bowl, add lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, pasta, and chickpeas, reserving some for topping. Stir to combine.
- In a blender or food processor, add cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, capers, mustard, miso, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Blend until completely smooth.
- Pour the dressing over the salad. Stir until all ingredients are evenly coated.
- Top with additional chickpeas and vegan parmesan and serve!
*For the vegan parmesan: In a blender or food processor, add 1/4 cup cashews, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until the cashews are finely crumbled. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.