This vegan pasta salad with green goddess dressing is a 30-minute fan favorite with fresh herbs, crunchy fennel, and snap peas, tucked in a creamy dressing.
This is one of those delicious recipes that brighten the day with the vibrant colors of fresh herbs and crunchy, raw veggies.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This green goddess pasta salad recipe takes advantage of a vegan version of smooth green goddess dressing with no added oil and a variety of non-traditional veggies like fennel, sugar snap peas, and arugula.
- Fresh herbs accentuate the fresh flavors and make this salad something special. We have a list, but you can mix and match based on availability.
- Vegan sour cream replaces mayo and can be purchased or homemade. We’ve two recipes: cashew sour cream or sour cream made with sunflower seeds.
- Enjoy this delicious vegan salad as a side dish with your favorite burgers, or turn it into a main course by adding plant protein like chickpeas or beans.
Ingredients and notes
Pasta. This salad does well with just about any short, shaped, twisty pasta, including specialty gluten-free pasta, chickpea pasta, or brown rice pasta. Think pasta that will hold dressing.
Fennel. Fennel adds a sweet licorice flavor and a crunchy texture. Try to get a small fennel bulb with the fonds (the feathery leaves). We'll use the fonds for the dressing if you have them. If you don’t, substitute with fresh dill.
Sugar snap peas. Sugar snap peas are tasty when sliced and eaten raw. Living up to their name means a snappier crunch for the salad. Snow peas are a close substitute.
Arugula. Also known as rocket, this is additional green with a peppery, slightly flavor. Arugula stands up well after being dressed and mixed, so you won't be left with mushy leftovers.
Scallions. Grab a bunch of scallions (green onions). Six will do. Half for the salad and half for the dressing. In both cases, use the white and green parts. There's no sense wasting the crunchy, subtly flavored greens of scallions. If you substitute with onions, I recommend using red onion for the salad and shallots or white onion for the dressing.
Vegan sour cream. Use a commercial brand or homemade. Although you might have subtle flavor differences, vegan mayo or yogurt are possible substitutions. Finally, you can make creamy avocado green goddess dressing by substituting a ripe avocado for the sour cream.
Lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice adds zest to the dressing. Homemade vegan sour cream often uses apple cider vinegar for the acid, so you may need to adjust the flavor accordingly.
Fresh herbs. It wouldn't be a green goddess without fresh leafy herbs. For this version, we'll use fresh basil, parsley, and the fonds of the fennel bulb.
how to slice a fennel bulb
There are a lot of ways to approach fennel. Here’s mine.
- Cut off the stalks and fronds.
- Cut off the stalk end of the bulb.
- Lay the fennel flat, and then cut it into two pieces.
- Cut out the solid inner stalk (it usually looks like a triangle).
- Lay the halves, cut side down, and thinly slice the fennel.
Start your prep by making vegan sour cream (if necessary) and prep the veggies. Then start the pasta water. Prep the veggies and follow these steps.
Step 1: Add all the ingredients to the food processor or blender.
Step 2: Blend the dressing until smooth.
Step 3: Add the dressing to cooked and rinsed pasta.
Step 4: Stir in the fennel, arugula, and sugar snap peas.
- Cook the pasta al dente. It should be tender but not mushy when you taste it. Remove it promptly from the cooking water and rinse it in cold water. This stops the cooking process and washes away the starch. That's what makes the pasta sticky.
- Mix the pasta and dressing together before adding the rest of the ingredients. Add about ¾ of the pasta with the salad dressing first. This is your check to ensure that you have the creamiest salad. Types and brands of pasta can vary. And there's nothing worse than not enough dressing.
- If the salad gets a bit dry after sitting, add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to freshen it up.
For a quick avocado green goddess dressing, consult our everything green salad or use Caesar dressing for an entirely new flavor.
Serve this yummy salad as a side dish with your favorite seasonal favorites like veggie burgers. Or get creative. Pasta salad is a winner with Huli Huli Tofu, Buffalo cauliflower wings, or baked veggie balls (to name a few).
Storage / Freezing / Reserving
Store leftover salad in an airtight container for 4 days. Let it warm to room temperature before serving. Add lemon juice or a touch more vegan sour cream if the salad is dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most packaged pasta is vegan, but it's always a good idea to check the label. If you want the healthiest pasta, look for those made from whole wheat that does not contain added oil.
Taste it! Pasta is best if it is tender yet firm to the tooth. Use the package directions as a guide because cooking times for different types and sizes of pasta vary. Some brands may recommend rinsing. Drain it immediately so that it doesn't continue cooking.
Fennel has a very distinctive flavor, so it's difficult to substitute. However, if it is unavailable, celery or celeriac are closest. If neither of these is an option, a small amount of diced carrot will give your salad crunchy color.
If you need a substitute for the peppery flavor of arugula (rocket) for pasta salad or other salads, consider watercress, baby spinach, dandelion greens, or Radicchio in that order.
pasta salad favorites
Vegan Pasta Salad
Vegan pasta salad with green goddess dressing recipe is a 30-minute crowd-pleaser with fresh herbs, crunchy fennel, snap peas, and flavor.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Side Salads
- Method: Blend / Boil
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 14 ounces of pasta of choice
- 1 cup vegan sour cream (see notes for options)
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup fennel fonds (or fresh dill weed)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 6 scallions, white and green parts
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 cup of sliced fennel bulb (keep ¼ of the fonds)
- 1 cup arugula (rocket)
- 1 cup sugar snap peas (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Make the pasta. Begin by heating a large pot of water. Add dry pasta to boiling water. Turn the heat down so it doesn’t boil over. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Taste it to check for doneness. Once it's tender yet firm, immediately drain it and rinse it with cool water to keep it from sticking.
- Blend the dressing ingredients. Add vegan sour cream, basil, parsley, fennel fonds, garlic, 3 scallions, and lemon juice to a food processor or blender. Combine the ingredients until smooth. Add more lemon juice or water if you want to make it thinner.
- Finish the salad. Mix the dressing and pasta in a large bowl, then add the sliced fennel, arugula, and sugar snap peas. Adjust the flavors. Add salt and black pepper if desired. If the salad starts to cease (dry out), add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to freshen it up.
- Our recipe for vegan sour cream includes cashew sour cream or sunflower seed sour cream. You can also use a commercial brand.
- Nutritional information is based on cashew sour cream. Exact calories, fat, and nutrients will vary depending on sour cream and pasta.
- The recipe calls for 6 scallions in total. 3 are blended with the salad dressing, and 3 are sliced and mixed into the salad.
- If you need a substitute for fresh fennel, the closest is diced celery or celeriac. You won't get the same subtle licorice flavor as fennel, but it will give the salad crunch. In a pinch, diced carrot can be used.
- Store leftover pasta salad in the refrigerator. Add lemon juice or more vegan sour cream to freshen it up if desired.
Keywords: vegan pasta salad with green goddess dressing, plant-based