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Creamy Broccoli & Zucchini Pasta Salad (vegan + gluten-free)

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Total Time: 22 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


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
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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