Caesar pasta salad….what a combo! Pasta and crispy salad together? Yeeeess! Lots of crisp romaine leaves and a little radicchio are tossed together in a tasty caesar dressing with pasta, in this case farfalle — plus for a little texture, crunch and flavor a handful of toasted slivered almonds. So good. And a little secret, this version is vegan AND still manages to stand up to the original. And in case you are wondering, this vegan caesar dressing is cashew-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, anchovy-free… and 100% delicious!
The key to this caesar pasta salad is the dressing.
Really I mean it. Okay pasta tastes pretty good with almost anything, but it’s especially good when combined with tasty ingredients. This is my go-to dressing when I want to stick with something plant-based that still gives me the satisfaction of something like a umami-rich and flavorful caesar salad. I grew up on these kind of salads. but we actually do things a little differently in Canada. Our caesar dressing doesn’t contain any store-bought mayo or sour cream, in fact it’s not creamy at all. This dressing on the other hand is creamy. Thanks to tahini. The other things that make it so tasty are grainy Dijon mustard, a little lemon and to help this Caesar salad dressing taste more authentic, there’s nutritional yeast which gives it a parmesan cheese-y flavor, just like the original. Yes, nutritional yeast. I’m convinced it’s worth having around whether you are vegan or not.
If you are looking to try a my families recipe for caesar salad, then check out my recipe for Aunt Ilse’s Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing. It’s doesn’t contain any store-bought mayo or sour cream like some recipes I’ve seen. It’s got a nice tang that Canadian caesar dressings have, but without all the junk that you might find in a store-bought one. And even though it’s not vegan, I think it’s easy to make and delicious.
This dressing is the same one I use to make my vegan caesar salad dressing, which is also on Elle Republic. I have a lot of tahini dressings, so just use the search bar, or check out my Creamy Green Tahini Dressing, I list a lot of my favorite tahini dressing recipes there.
Ways to adapt this caesar pasta salad recipe:
- Add ripe cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Toss in some thinly- sliced red onion (you can also soak it in cold water beforehand tone down the onion-y taste)
- Try adding crispy oven-roasted chickpeas or homemade croutons
- Use your favorite kind of pasta or increase the health factor by using whole wheat pasta (or even gluten-free!)
- Trade out the romaine and radicchio for other greens, like Tuscan kale or spinach. Or use a mix. Most importantly, choose ones that are hearty enough to stand up and maintain their texture — this should be a BBQ-worthy dish. Yes, now that the weather’s warming up, it’s high time for the season of picnics, BBQs, and patio parties to begin!
Vegan Caesar Pasta Salad
- 250 g dry pasta (e.g. farfalle)
- roughly 4 handfuls chopped romaine (or 4 small hearts of romaine lettuce)
- 1 handful shredded radicchio
- 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (25 g)
For the tahini-caesar dressing:
- 2 tablespoons tahini (well-stirred)
- 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons water, or more as needed
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente (according to package directions). Drain pasta and rinse under cold water for about 20-30 seconds until no longer hot. Drain well and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the tahini, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, and olive oil. Whisk together until well combined, then add the water and whisk until you have a smooth dressing. If too thick to pour, whisk in a little bit more water.
In a large bowl, toss together the romaine, radicchio, and half the toasted nuts. Add the pasta and the dressing. toss again, until evenly coated. Taste, adjusting the seasoning if you like.
Sprinkle with remaining nuts and serve. Enjoy!
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