Vegan Pimento-ish Pasta Salad
I gotta hand it to you. You guys surprise me, sometimes. I mean, I was really, REALLY surprised by how many of you asked for a pasta salad recipe for the summer. And to be honest, I’ve never been a pasta salad kind of gal, so this was hard for me. I’ve always been a “eat the leftover pasta from last night with a salad” kind of girl, but not a designated cold pasta dish person. Anyway, it took me a few weeks to sit on the pasta salad train and brainstorm ideas before coming up with this one. Like, there are so many pasta salads that can be had. Pesto pasta salad is delicious, but it’s been done before. Macaroni salad is awesome, but I can find 1093482838r09 different versions online. Asian-inspired noodle salads are f*cking delicious, but I don’t really put them in the same category as “pasta salads.” If I’m putting a recipe out there, I want it to be something really special. Not just “another one of those.” Either way, it took me a minute to figure this recipe out, and the universe actually handed it to me. I accidentally ordered a vegan cheddar from Whole Foods instead of a regular cheddar, and that’s when I decided to play with it to create what is now my Vegan Pimento-ish Pasta Salad.
Sooooo what is this pasta salad ? It’s a mixture of vegan cheddar and vegan “mayo” served with farfalle, dill, pimentos, green beans and tomatoes. I want to point out that I’ve only tested this recipe with Miyoko’s Creamy Vegan Cheddar which is *shockingly* delicious when cooked. This is coming from a cheese-stan kind of person. I got the cheddar block but they do sell shredded as well. Either way, I recommend using this brand of cheese for the best results, just because you will know exactly how it’s going to turn out. If you go with another brand, it may not be as good as this one.
By the way, you can 10000% make this non-vegan and use regular cheddar and regular mayo. You do you. It will taste unreal either way.
A few other things I want to note before you make this. You can use frozen green beans, but you will not get the same vibrant green color, crunchy texture and light sweetness. I’ve made it both ways and it tasted delicious. Use whatever pasta you like. If you’re gluten-free, switch to whatever pasta you prefer. I love Ancient Grains pasta shells for gluten-free dishes. If you want to lighten this up, go with a light vegan mayo. If you want heat, swap the pimentos for Calabrian Chilis.
|Kosher salt, for pasta water and seasoning as needed|
|8cups dried whole wheat farfalle pasta|
|2cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces|
|Olive oil, for pan|
|1/3cup diced pimentos|
|1cup vegan cheddar (preferably from Miyoko's Creamery)|
|5tbsp vegan avocado oil mayo|
|1 1/2tbsp tomato paste|
|1pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half|
|1/2cup fresh dill sprigs, chopped|
Fill a stockpot three quarters of the way full with water. Season generously with 2 tbsp of kosher salt, or the measurement of salt according to the box. Heat on high and bring the water to a boil.
Place a large, deep skillet on a burner that's set to medium heat. Season with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, then add the pimentos. Season with a pinch of salt and stir.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until 2 minutes before the box says it's al dente. One minute before you reach 2 minute before al dente, add the green beans to the pot and blanch for 1 minute.
Transfer the pasta and green beans to the pot with the pimentos. Stir together.
Adjust the heat to low. Add the vegan cheddar and 2 tbsp of vegan mayo. Toss together until melted and combined. If the cheese and mayo are too sticky and not *saucy,* add about 1 tbsp of pasta water and continue mixing until nice and saucy. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Taste to make sure you like flavor.
TASTING NOTES: If you want more sweetness, add more tomato paste. If you want more pimentos, add more. If you want more saltiness, add more vegan cheddar OR more pasta water. Don't make it super salty because the rest of the mayo is coming in later.
Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. If serving quickly thereafter, put the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes to bring the temperature down. If serving the next day or in 2 days, just cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
Right before serving, add 3 more tbsp of mayo and mix. Add dill and cherry tomatoes and combine until all ingredients are evenly spread thorughout. If you would like the pasta salad to be creamier, add more vegan mayo to your taste, preferably 1 tbsp at a time. Enjoy!!