Cold pasta dishes are perfect for summertime al fresco dining. This Creamy Broccoli Pasta Salad is delicious while being mayo-free, dairy-free and nut-free. A tahini base makes for a slightly sweet and garlicky dressing, and fresh basil and spring onions make this dish really pop! It is loaded with fresh veggies: broccoli, zucchini and cherry tomatoes.
With summertime comes picnics, potlucks, and barbecues, and this Creamy Broccoli Pasta Salad is one of my favorite recipes to keep in my back pocket! It is easy to pull together and you can even make the dressing ahead of time, then throw the pasta salad together last minute.
How to Blanch Broccoli for Pasta Salad
The only veggie I cook for this pasta salad is the broccoli, and even that process is simple! I blanched the broccoli for 2 minutes to keep it bright green and fresh. Blanching is really easy and quick. It just consists of placing fresh broccoli in boiling water for two minutes, then popping it in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
The cherry tomatoes and zucchini are both raw and sliced into bite-sized pieces. I like to slice fresh basil into long ribbons before tossing it into this Broccoli Pasta Salad. It's a colorful, healthy and crowd-pleasing dish that comes together in just a few minutes.
Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
You can use gluten-free or regular pasta for this pasta salad! I love Jovial brand gluten-free pastas. They cook and taste just like regular pasta, but the ingredient list is short and simple. I keep it stocked in my pantry for any time I'm craving a comforting pasta dish!
Homemade Salad Dressing
Homemade dressing will totally elevate your home salad game! You can make salad dressing in a blender or food processor, with a bowl and whisk, or even in just a Mason jar. Combine all of the ingredients and shake, whisk, or blend until it's all smooth and creamy. Give it a taste and adjust the ingredients as needed!
- Runny tahini
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pure maple syrup
- A peeled garlic clove (dice it fine if you aren't using a blender)
- Salt and pepper
If you give this recipe a try, I would love to see how your pasta salad turns out. Please tag me in your pics on Instagram – I love to see your recipe creations!
More Summer Pasta Dishes
Vegan Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Mediterranean Zucchini Pasta Salad
Broccoli Salad with California Avocado
California Avocado Kale Salad with Cashew Ranch Dressing
Grilled Veggie Pesto Pasta
Creamy Vegan Cucumber Salad with Dill and Red Onion
Watermelon Avocado Mint Feta Salad
The BIG Vegan Greek Salad
This gluten-free and vegan cold pasta salad is a great one to have in your back pocket for warmer weather. It is loaded with fresh veggies and made creamy with a mayo-free tahini-maple dressing that is incredibly addictive.
For the pasta salad
- 2 cups uncooked gluten-free pasta (short cut pasta such as penne or fusilli)
- 4 cups small broccoli florets
- 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced and cut into half moons (raw)
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced into ribbons
- 3 tablespoons tahini (make sure it is runny)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons filtered water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water and a large bowl of ice water. Place the broccoli in the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Remove and immediately immerse in the ice water to stop the cooking process. Keep in the ice water long enough to cool completely, about 15 seconds. Drain and and place on paper towels to dry.
- In a food processor or blender add the tahini, olive oil, water, maple syrup, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until smooth and creamy. Alternatively you can whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, spring onions and basil. Pour the dressing on top of the pasta and veggies and toss. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as desired. Chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. The veggies will soften as it chills.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two days.
This dish was inspired by Love & Lemons but I simplified it a bit, made it nut-free and changed up the dressing so it was more mild and less acidic.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 7 mins
- Category: Side Dish or Entree
Keywords: vegan broccoli pasta salad