Easy taco pasta salad (vegan)
This taco pasta salad is an easy and filling dinner or side dish to take to a summer bbq or picnic. Filled with pasta, beans, tofu taco filling, corn, fresh cilantro, tomatoes and topped with a delicious creamy dressing made with lime, salsa and dairy free sour cream.
This simple recipe is a creative and fun spin on the classic taco salad. It’s full of protein, carbs and healthy fats, so it can be used as a complete meal.
This cold salad is great to cool down a large crowd at a potluck or summertime family reunions. This is also a great alternative to taco night. Taco fans will love this easy summer dinner full of classic taco flavor.
This recipe is
- vegan, vegetarian and dairy free
- can be made gluten free
- great for a summer lunch or to take to a potluck
- quick and easy
- Pasta – use whole wheat pasta to make this a little healthier. I love using rotini pasta, spiral pasta or bowtie pasta. The rotini has a lot of crevices for the sour cream dressing to sit in.
- Tomatoes – fresh tomatoes are best, even better if they’re home grown. This is a great way to use up tomatoes in your summer garden. Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes taste amazing in this.
- Corn – this adds a nice sweetness and texture to the pasta salad.
- Black beans – this will add some nice plant based protein to the meal and make you feel fuller, longer.
- Onions – red onions taste great in this easy recipe. If you’d like to make it more mild, you can use sweet onions like vidalia.
- Cilantro – this is optional if you don’t like cilantro. Use can also use fresh oregano.
- Tofu taco meat – Instead of ground beef, we’re using tofu. Just fry up some crumbled, extra firm tofu in a pan with some oil and season it with a packet of taco seasonings, soy sauce, vegetable broth and a little tomato paste. You can also use any vegan ground beef alternative, or just leave this out. It tastes great with just veggies.
- Sour cream dressing – to make the dressing, just use a dairy free sour cream, then add fresh lime juice, some salt and a few dollops of salsa. Stir it well, then pour over the pasta salad.
To make this delicious dish
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Make the vegan ground beef by sauteing extra firm tofu in a large skillet with taco seasonings.
- Make the sour cream dressing.
- Add the cooked pasta to a large bowl and mix in all of the beans, veggies, seasonings and dressing. Mix well, chill and serve.
This pasta salad also tastes great if you add some of your favorite taco toppings like dairy free cheddar cheese or dairy free Mexican cheese or sliced black olives into it.
Avocado would also be a great idea, but it will get a little brown if you’re making this ahead of time. Wait until serving to add the avocado, or chop it up and drizzle some lime juice on the cubes. That will prevent some browning.
You can also add some iceberg lettuce to this, but it will wilt if you’re making this ahead of time.
Add in some tortilla chips, tortilla strips or corn chips for a little crunch.
If you don’t want to use a sour cream dressing, you can use a bottled French dressing.
Storing and making ahead
Fridge – This will last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days. It tastes best the next day, after it’s had a chance to marinate. I don’t like the way the tomatoes get mushy when they’re in the fridge, so if you’re making a batch ahead of time, leave the tomatoes out until you’re ready to serve.
Freezer – I haven’t tried freezing this yet. The only thing that wouldn’t freeze well would be the tomatoes. They are full of a lot of water and would get mushy. I don’t think this salad would freeze that great in general. But if you try it, let me know in the comments below.
Making ahead – To make this ahead, just boil the pasta and make the vegan ground beef. Set them in the freezer until you’re ready to assemble everything into a large mixing bowl.
To make this gluten free
You can easily make this pasta salad gluten free by using a gluten free pasta like brown rice pasta.
The texture will be different, but it will still taste delicious. Just make sure the taco seasoning and any seasonings you use are gluten free as well, if the person has celiac disease.
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Vegan taco pasta salad
- 1 pound rotini pasta
- 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- ½ cup corn
- ½ cup tomatoes (diced)
- 1 avocado (optional)
- ½ red onion (diced)
Tofu ground beef
Sour cream dressing
- 1 cup dairy free sour cream
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 2 tablespoons salsa
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Boil the pasta water and cook the pasta, following the directions on the pasta package. Strain and set aside.1 pound rotini pasta
Make tofu mixture
- While the pasta is boiling, make the tofu ground beef. Heat a skillet on medium low heat. Add the oil and let it heat up for one minute.1 tablespoon oil
- Take the tofu out of the package and bring it over to the sink. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the tofu. It's ok if it breaks a little. Crumble the tofu into the skillet on the stove.
- Add the taco seasoning, water, soy sauce and tomato paste to the tofu mixture and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes, and crumble up the tofu with the back of your cooking spoon, if the chunks are too large. Set aside when done.14 ounces extra firm tofu, 1 packet taco seasoning, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- In a small mixing bowl, add the sour cream, lime juice, salsa, garlic powder and salt and stir well.1 cup dairy free sour cream, 2 tablespoons salsa, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 lime
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked pasta, the tofu crumble, beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, onion. Drizzle over the sour cream dressing and stir well. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add in some fresh, chopped cilantro.1 pound rotini pasta, 1 can black beans, ½ cup corn, ½ cup tomatoes, 1 avocado, ½ red onion
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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