Kick up your pasta salad game with this creamy, delicious Vegan Crack Pasta Salad. Perfect for work lunches, picnics, potlucks, tailgates, and so much more!
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked *
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened plain plant milk
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons water
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari *
- 2 teaspoons white miso *
- 1 teaspoon organic maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
Dressing Spice/Herb Ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon dried minced onions
- ¼ teaspoon dried ground mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons freeze dried chives *
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (+/-)
- 2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed *
- 10 to 12 oz. fusilli pasta, cooked and cooled *
- ¾ cup red onion, fine dice
- Freshly chopped chives
- Place the cashews into a small bowl, cover with boiling water, soak for 20 minutes, then drain off the water, then add to a high-speed blender.
- Make the salad dressing by adding all the remaining Dressing Ingredients and Spice/Herb Ingredients into a high-speed blender, process until smooth and emulsified. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place all the Salad Ingredients into a large bowl, toss gently, then add in the dressing, tossing gently as you go until everything is coated in the dressing. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
Tips for Success:
- Amount of Pasta: While it is very tempting to use a full pound of pasta, we strongly recommend using the ingredient amount listed, 12 oz. The amount of dressing created is for 12 oz. Use 10 oz. of pasta if you want a very creamy salad. Use 12 oz. if you enjoy a lightly creamy salad.
- Fresh Chives versus Dried Chives: If using fresh chives, slice them, and add them with the red onions, peas, and pasta. Do not place them in the high-speed blender, they will turn the dressing into a muddy green color. We used dried chives which can be added to the high-speed blender.
- Cashews: Cashew cream-based dressings tend to seize up (thicken) when refrigerated. If your salad is too thick after being refrigerated, allow to sit on the counter for 30 minutes, stir. If still too thick, add a tablespoon or so of distilled white vinegar to the salad, stir to loosen it up.
- High-Speed Blender: Make sure you take a few extra moments to scrape every bit of that dressing goodness out the blender.
- Peas: Do not used canned peas. They are too tender and mushy. We recommend baby sweet peas. They are small and firm. Thaw them out to room temperature or lightly defrost (not cook) in the microwave, then run under cold water, shake to remove any excess water. You can also use fresh peas from the garden, just blanch them and run under cold water, shake to remove any excess water.
*Cashew Substitutes: You can substitute the cashews for sunflower seeds, silken tofu, or white beans. We have not tried any substitutes. Using substitutes will change the flavor and texture of the salad. You may need to adjust seasonings and other ingredients accordingly.
*Frozen Baby Sweet Peas: We used Birds Eye Frozen Baby Sweet Peas. You can substitute the sweet peas for tiny blanched broccoli florets if you wish.
*Miso: We used Miso Master Organic Mellow White Premium Lite Miso, Certified Gluten Free. Miso really lends itself to balancing flavors when you don’t use oil. You can also use chickpea miso for a soy free version. The miso really helps balance the flavors in this recipe. We don’t recommend removing it.
*Gluten Free Pasta: If using a gluten free pasta, then you know the issues with refrigerating gluten free pasta. Some GF pastas really tighten up in the refrigerator making for a very unpleasant eating experience when served cold. We absolutely loved this pasta salad right after making it at room temperature. It was crazy delicious. If you do have to refrigerate it before serving or refrigerate any left-overs, we suggest removing it from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. We have found Tinkyada Gluten Free Pasta and Bionaturae Organic Gluten Free Pasta work well in refrigerated GF pasta salads. We used Delallo Gluten Free Fusilli Pasta made from brown rice. You can use your favorite pasta. Elbow pasta works well too.
*Freeze-Dried Chives: We used Penzeys Freeze-Dried Chives. Feel free to use your favorite freeze-dried chives or fresh chives.
*Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
*Storage: Refrigerate, use within 5 days.
*Servings: 4 to 6