Mediterranean Quinoa Pasta Salad (Vegan)

by Alena

This Mediterranean-style vegan quinoa pasta salad is bursting with color, flavor and nutrients! Perfect for meal prep, cookouts and hot summer days.

You know it’s summer when everyone brings out pasta salads or potato salads!

Our vegan quinoa pasta salad with lots of Mediterranean add-ins offers an explosion of flavor and color that will keep everyone coming back for more. 

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This colorful side dish features gluten-free pasta, protein-packed chickpeas, seasonal veggies, olives and creamy garlic yogurt dressing.

It’s a crowd-pleasing, family-friendly and approachable recipe that can easily be customized to your preferences!

Plus, this quinoa pasta salad stores well for days and can be made ahead of time! It’s the perfect summer salad for cold packable lunches, potlucks or parties.

woman in beige clothes standing by a table with a large white bowl containing a vegan Mediterranean quinoa pasta salad and mixing it with a spoonPin

Why you’ll love it

You’ll just love the different textures in this healthy pasta salad with quinoa!

It’s even high in protein and fiber and will keep your guests coming back for more.

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Ingredients needed

  • Pasta — we like to use macaroni shapes but fusilli, penne or shells also work well.
  • Quinoa — these little pseudo-grains add some plant-based protein and texture to your Mediterranean pasta salad!
  • Artichoke & olives — briny and salty, these two add-ins offer so much flavor!
  • Cucumber, tomatoes & bell pepper — crunchy seasonal veggies taste great in pasta salad.
  • Chickpeas — adding lovely texture and plant-based protein!
  • Dressing — easy 5-minute recipe consisting mainly of soy yogurt, garlic, tahini and some spices.

This combination of ingredients is really priceless and our quinoa pasta salad is usually one of the first dishes to be gone at any buffet.

In terms of equipment, you’ll need two pots, one small bowl, one big bowl, a chopping board, a knife and measuring equipment to make this recipe!

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How to make quinoa pasta salad

Cook pasta

Using a medium-sized pot, cook your pasta according to package instructions. Once done, rinse under cold water and set aside.

Cook pasta

Cook quinoa in a separate pot according to package instructions. We like to use leftover quinoa for this salad!

Once all of the water has been absorbed, fluff it with a fork and set aside to cool.

Prepare the veggies

Measure, wash and chop the vegetables and other add-ins for the salad. Place them in a large bowl and top with chickpeas, quinoa and pasta.

Make the dressing

Whisk vegan yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and some spices in a small bowl until smooth.

Assemble the salad

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve immediately or cover with a lid and store in the fridge to serve chilled!

large white bowl with pasta, quinoa, chickpeas and chopped fresh veggies which is being topped with vegan Greek yogurt dressingPin

Storage tips

This vegan pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Since pasta salads are usually meant to be enjoyed chilled, this recipe is perfect for making ahead of time so you can allow the flavors to marinate!

Before enjoying your stored and chilled quinoa pasta salad from the fridge, try to give it about 30 minutes to warm up at room temperature to wake up the flavors.

You might need to add a bit more dressing when storing for longer — salads sometimes dry out over time.

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Serving suggestions

This hearty quinoa pasta salad is loaded with filling ingredients which means you can enjoy it as a main meal!

It’s also great as a side dish with freshly baked bread, bean burgers, sandwiches, wraps, coleslaw, corn on the cob or grilled tofu.

During fall and winter, we like to prepare warm pasta salads loaded with hearty beans, grilled veggies, pine nuts and avocado instead of making this chilled Mediterranean version with crunchy summer vegetables!

woman in white apron holding a bowl of vegan quinoa pasta salad with tomatoes, olives, chickpeas and basilPin

Tips & adjustments

  • Don’t overcook your pasta, or this salad will be mushy!
  • If using gluten-free pasta, you’ll have a firmer texture compared to wheat pasta.
  • Leftover cooked pasta or quinoa can be used for this salad!
  • Make this recipe during meal prep and store your pasta salad in individual food containers for quick to-go lunches.

Food swaps

  • Pasta: choose gluten-free if needed or use wheat, whole grain, legume-based or spelt varieties. You can also omit the pasta and go for cooked quinoa only in this recipe!
  • Quinoa: can be omitted or swapped for more pasta.
  • Artichokes & olives: omit if you’re not a fan!
  • Chickpeas: use white beans or tofu feta instead.
  • Veggies: reduce or omit any components you don’t like.
  • Basil: omit or use other herbs like oregano, parsley or mint.
woman standing behind a table and holding a spoon with thick homemade vegan Greek yogurt dressing with garlic, tahini and parsleyPin

More salad dressings

Use vegan mayo or sour cream to make a different dressing for this salad!

Other tasty ideas include a simple olive oil and vinegar vinaigrette, honey mustard, herbed ranch or date balsamic dressing.

Looking for more ideas? Feel free to browse our favorite oil-free vegan salad dressings here.

Optional add-ins

You can dress your quinoa pasta salad up any way you like! Here are some ideas for what else to add to this cold lunch.

  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Pickles 
  • Avocado
  • Corn
  • Arugula
  • Peas
  • Grilled veggies
  • Asparagus
  • Green onion
  • Carrots 

More vegan salads

Check out the following recipes for more delicious and hearty salads!

Have you tried our Mediterranean vegan pasta salad and liked it? Share with us in the comments below and rate our recipe! You can also Pin it here.

white tables with three glass containers containing colorful vegan quinoa pasta salad with tomatoes, bell pepper and basil

Mediterranean Quinoa Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Mediterranean-style vegan quinoa pasta salad is bursting with color, flavor and nutrients! Perfect for meal prep, cookouts and hot summer days. Try this protein-packed and gluten-free side dish!

Ingredients

  • 7 oz macaroni pasta (200 g), gluten-free if needed
  • ⅔ cup dry quinoa (115 g), rinsed
  • 1 small cucumber, cubed
  • ½ can artichoke hearts in brine (120 g), drained
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (100 g), halved
  • 1 cup black olives rings (130 g)
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas (165 g), drained
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • ½ cup vegan yogurt dressing
  • Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, then drain and rinse the pasta under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook quinoa in a different pot until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the rest of the salad.
  3. Wash and chop your vegetables, then get a large bowl and combine all of the ingredients for your quinoa pasta salad.
  4. Make the quick garlicky vegan yogurt sauce and pour it over the salad. Toss to combine.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve immediately or cover the salad with a lid and place it in the fridge for an hour. This allows the flavors to combine!

Notes

  • Any type of short pasta, from wheat to corn, quinoa or legume-based, can be used for this Mediterranean salad.
  • If you store the quinoa pasta salad for a couple of days, it’s possible that the dressing will become dry and you may need to add some more before serving and eating the salad.
  • Chilled quinoa pasta salad should get around half an hour at room temperature to allow the flavors to “wake up” before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 392Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 356mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 14g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!

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About Alena Handwritten FontAlena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

2 thoughts on “Mediterranean Quinoa Pasta Salad (Vegan)”

  1. Hey guys, I just made this and omg it’s amazing!! I used buckwheat instead of quinoa (I cooked it together with the pasta). This recipe is so versatile, I love the fact you can chuck in anything you want!! And that yogurt dressing, yummm! Well done, thank you!! :)

    Reply
    • so happy you liked the recipe! thanks for taking the time to write this feedback, sounds great what you’ve done with the salad :)

      Reply

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