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Vegan Primavera Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

Looking for a light and nutritious wholefood-based salad that is vegan and offers a delicious way to consume more veggies? Then you simply have to try this vegan primavera pasta salad recipe by fellow recipe creator Sara Tercero of Better Food Guru. In less than 20 minutes, you can have a super delicious salad recipe that gets my nutritionist tick of approval as a main meal or as a side dish. Ready to make it? Let's start cooking...

Vegan Primavera Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe  |  Eat Nourish Glow
Vegan Primavera Pesto Pasta Salad | Photo courtesy of Better Food Guru

Primavera Pesto Pasta Salad (Vegan Version)

So, just what is Primavera Salad? In Italian, "primavera" means "spring". This is where this pasta based salad gets is name from. It an American classic warm-weather dish - despite the Italian namesake - that is light, fresh. Seasonal vegetables are typically used to make meal primavera style meals, and traditionally these are usually paired with a creamy sauce and tossed with pasta. The recipe gets my nutritionist tick of approval because it is an excellent way for those interested in pursuing a more plantbased diet or for those who just want to eat healthier, to consume more vegetables.

What Is Pasta Primavera Sauce Made From?

Pasta primavera sauce is traditionally cream-based and made with not-so vegan ingredients such as chicken broth, parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and herbs like basil. It can also be made with other sauces such as the pesto used here, or you can omit the sauce altogether, and simply toss the pasta in a little olive oil and herbs.

On a budget? Fresh or frozen veggies can be used for this recipe making this wholefood salad an excellent option for anyone on a tight budget. Cherry tomatoes are usually found year round at the shops (in Australia), and get super cheap after harvest season. I favour Solanato or Cherry, but if large tomatoes are cheaper, you can definitely substitute with them to meet your budget and not sacrifice taste.

Its a myth that frozen veggies are subpar compared to fresh. In many cases, frozen produce is equally as fresh if not fresher as its picked and packed the same day whereas fresh produce has a significant delay in reaching the grocery shelves. So don't hesitate to use frozen vegetable mixes in your recipes if it means making veggies more affordable for you.

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Key Ingredients Used

Garden Fresh Red & Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes  |  Eat Nourish Glow
Wheat Pasta Is Usually The Prime Ingredient | Eat Nourish Glow

This plantbased version of primavera salad is not only easy to make, but it's also a healthy feed if you choose wholewheat or vegetable based pasta for the base. These are usually higher in dietary fibre than regular milled wheat and provide a more filling and nutritious option. I recommend using either type for this recipe and considering the texture. You also want a tough pasta that won't fall apart when its tossed with the other ingredients or if it sits in a moist sauce. This pasta is usually at its best flavour-wise the next day and makes a fabulously nutritious leftover side or main meal.

Healthy Pasta Salad Variations

Aside from making this pasta salad as it is, you can boost the nutrition and flavour of this and other salads simply by adding a variety of other healthy ingredients:

  • Avocado: pairs so well with onions and tomato. Add a 1/2 cup of chunks to pimp up this recipe and balance your bowl with a healthy fat. You may find you don't even want or need sauce if you try this variation.

  • Herbs: add a variety of your favourite fresh herbs to experiment with new flavours from the same recipe. I love finely chopping all kinds of herbs into my salads but especially enjoy using coriander, fresh mint leaves, Italian parsley, or Thai basil.

  • Citrus fruit: add a little tang to this vegan salad recipe with freshly peeled mandarins, grapefruit chunks or a little lime zest. Again, you may find no sauce is needed if you add the zip of citrus.

  • Vegan cheese: make a more traditional Primavera salad by adding plantbased feta or mozzarella cheese either to a homemade sauce or crumbled throughout.

If you're looking to make this pasta salad recipe even more filling, consider adding some protein, such as plantbased options like beans, chickpeas, lentils, pasta, or tofu. If you add these, I recommend that you go sparingly on the pasta. If you are coeliac and gluten-free like myself, I make it with vegetable flour pasta, or you can even just omit the pasta altogether.

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Vegan Primavera Pesto Pasta Salad

Vegan Primavera Pesto Pasta Salad  |  Eat Nourish Glow
Vegan Primavera Pesto Pasta Salad | Photo courtesy of Better Food Guru

This Primavera Pasta Salad is a simple, healthy, and budget-friendly plantbased dish that's a great tasting way to add more veggies to your menu or ease into a more plantbased lifestyle. I love how Sara used pesto - who doesn't love fragrant basil! Its a great dairy-free and plantbased alternative to cream sauces which are often high in fats and excess calories. Next time you're in the mood for something fresh and flavourful, give this vegan salad a try!

GRAB THE RECIPE: Better Food Guru →

Batch Cook & Meal Prep

Yes, you can easily meal prep this salad either in its entirety or by preparing all the ingredients ahead of time. Whether you use pre-chopped frozen veggies or prefer to prepare your own, you can add the veggies you'll use to a container for easy cooking later in the week. You can even pre-cook the pasta if you plan on making the salad in the next day or two. When you are ready to cook, toss all the ingredients together with the sauce and add to a tight, sealable container.

The salad needs to be kept chilled to remain fresh, but will keep well for several days in the fridge. This makes it such a handy meal to make either to use as a main meal, light lunch or side dish. Even a very small bowl could be used as a healthy snack.

Mistakes to Avoid When Making Pasta Salad

  • Choose a shape and size of pasta that marries well with the veggies of choice. Avoid delicate pasta options that may fall apart in your salad when paired with chunky or hard veggies.

  • Overcooking or undercooking the pasta can ruin your primavera. If the pasta is overcooked it can fall apart easily making for a mushy salad. If its undercooked, it can also ruin the dish. make sure the pasta is fully cooked to your liking.

  • Not seasoning the pasta enough can leave you with a bland dish. Most of the flavour comes through by the next day, so be sure its flavourful at the time of making it.

  • Not dressing the pasta salad while it's still warm. This is how you can really bring out the mouthwatering flavour of the salad even if you are serving your primavera cold.

  • Don't make your primavera pasta salad too far in advance. It will usually keep for 2-3 days but beyond that, thing can begin to get mushy or go off.

For more expert meal prep tips, and time-saving meal planning hacks, head over to my Meal Prep category and discover how to make nutritious and delicious meals in advance.

Why Is Pasta Salad Better The Next Day?

Quite simply, because the natural flavours of the herbs, dressing and veggies just get better when they have had time to marinate. Yes, you can absolutely enjoy your primavera salad right after tossing it, but I recommend letting it sit in the fridge overnight or at least for a few hours. This will beautifully bring all the flavour out and just be more tasty.

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One Last Thing, Before You Go...

If you really enjoy these recipes... stick around with a cup of peppermint tea and browse this blog for more clean eating recipes, nutrition and healthy eating guides, and be sure to grab my free Wholefood Recipe Collection, click here. You'll receive my Nutritionist-approved clean eating recipes to sample this week. Learn how to ease into healthy, wholefood eating that won't take you hours in the kitchen to eat clean and healthy. Come grab a copy, click here.

Emma Lisa, Nutritionist & Women's Practitioner

Emma Lisa, Nutritionist at Eat Nourish Glow

Emma Lisa is a Nutritionist & Women's Health Practitioner with over 12+ years experience in wholefood nutrition, meal planning and health coaching. She is a published cookbook author, passionate food recipe creator and lifestyle blogger, and an advocate for women's health and anti-diet culture. When she's not in clinic, Emma is mum to five kids, in her test kitchen and a wellness digital creator. She lives in Sydney, Australia.
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Emma Lisa xx

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2 תגובות

דירוג של 0 מתוך 5 כוכבים
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הוספת דירוג
09 ביוני 2023
דירוג של 5 מתוך 5 כוכבים

This looks delicious, saving it for the weekend with family coming.

Emma Lisa
Emma Lisa
20 בדצמ׳ 2023
בתשובה לפוסט של

We'd love to hear how you went with this recipe.

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PSSST, my mission? To support as many women and mothers as I can to take back control of their health! I am lit up teaching simple steps to a well-balanced diet and Life that you can absolutely say you love!


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