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This colorful Mediterranean Pasta Salad recipe is a delicious collaboration of hearty ingredients, aromatic seasonings, and a vibrant aesthetic. Made with marinated tofu, roasted vegetables, fusilli pasta, and a sundried tomato and herb dressing, it is a nutritious and satisfying anytime meal.

An overhead shot of a bowl of Mediterranean pasta salad with basil.

This recipe was written on November 7, 2018. It was updated with additional recipe information on June 14, 2024.

If you’re looking for a light and flavorful warm-weather dish, you’ll love this healthy pasta salad. It is easy to prepare and bursting with Mediterranean flavors! Protein-rich tofu is marinated in tangy red wine vinegar and herbs for maximum flavor. Combined with roasted zucchini and al dente pasta, the mixture is tossed in extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, sundried and fresh tomatoes, and olives. Each bite of this fragrant vegan pasta salad is a Mediterranean getaway! 

This healthy summer pasta salad is great for meal preparation. Whip up a match to enjoy quick, grab-and-go lunches or light dinners throughout the week. Mediterranean pasta recipes also make the ultimate picnic treat! 
For more vegan pasta recipes, try my avocado pesto pasta, spring veggie pasta, or vegan pasta salad.

An overhead shot of all of the ingredients for Mediterranean pasta salad.

Ingredients

Red Wine Vinegar: Adds a tangy depth to the Mediterranean pasta salad dressing. Use high-quality red wine vinegar for the best flavor. Alternatively, substitute for balsamic vinegar for a sweeter, richer flavor. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Essential for the tofu marinade and pasta salad vegan dressing. Choose a cold-pressed, extra virgin variety for the richest flavor and maximum health benefits. Alternatively, swap with avocado or walnut oil for a different, yet complimentary flavor. 

Dried Herbs: Dried basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary are a classic blend for Mediterranean pasta, adding aromatic complexity to the dish. Fresh herbs can be used if available, just use three times the amount of the dried herbs. 

Black Pepper: Ground black pepper adds a subtle warmth that compliments the other flavors. Use a peppermill to freshly grind black peppercorns or opt for pre-ground pepper for convenience. 

Red Pepper Flakes: Add a hint of extra heat and spice. Adjust the amount to suit your heat preference. For a smoky flavor, swap the pepper flakes for smoked paprika.

Salt: Enhances all the flavors in the healthy pasta salad recipe. Use sea salt or kosher salt for a cleaner, smoother taste. 

Zucchini: Provides a pop of color and sweet, savory essence to the dish. Choose firm, unblemished zucchini. Alternatively, swap for equal parts butternut squash for a heartier texture and sweeter flavor. 

Fusilli Pasta: Fussili is ideal as it holds the pasta salad Mediterranean dressing well. Cook al dente according to package directions for the best biteable texture. If desired, use another short pasta shape like rotini or penne, or a gluten-free alternative to suit dietary needs.  

Green Olives: Add a briny, savory punch to the pasta. Choose pitted olives for convenience. You can also use black olives or Kalamata olives for a flavor variation. 

Sundried Tomatoes: Elevates the flavor of the salad with a sweet-tart note. Look for sundried tomatoes packed in oil for a richer taste or dry-packed for a less oily option. 

Vine-ripened Tomatoes: A fresh vine-ripened tomato adds juiciness and freshness to the vegetarian pasta salad. Select a bright red and firm tomato for the best flavor. If you can’t find ripe tomatoes, use canned diced tomatoes, drained. 

Fresh Basil: Provides a fresh, peppery flavor that brightens the pasta salad. Look for vibrant green leaves for the best flavor. If desired, substitute with fresh parsley or cilantro for a twist.

How to Make Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • Marinate Tofu. Combine the red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, basil, oregano, black pepper, chili flakes, thyme, rosemary, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk or stir well to combine. Add the cubed tofu to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Set it aside on the counter or refrigerator to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients. For best results, marinate the tofu overnight if you have the time.
An overhead shot of a blue patterned bowl of marinating tofu cubes.
  • Roast Veggies. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Place the zucchini or butternut squash on the baking sheet and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Cook Pasta. Cook the pasta in heavily salted water according to the package instructions. Drain the cooked pasta, then toss immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Spread it evenly on a baking sheet to cool until ready to use.
  • Toss Salad. Once the veggies are roasted, transfer them to a large mixing or salad bowl. Then add the pasta, tofu with its marinade, olives, sundried tomatoes, and raw tomatoes. Stir well to coat, and season to taste with salt if needed. 
An overhead shot of a patterned blue bowl with pasta, veggies, and marinated tofu.
An overhead shot of a brown hand stirring a bowl of Mediterranean pasta salad.
  • Garnish. Serve immediately or set it aside to cool and marinate more. Top with fresh basil before serving.

Recipe Pro-Tips

  • Thoroughly press the tofu. Make sure to press the tofu well to remove excess water before marinating. This helps the tofu better absorb the marinade and achieve a firmer texture. Use a tofu press or wrap it in a clean kitchen towel, place a heavy object on top, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. 
  • Marinate the tofu overnight. The longer the tofu soaks in the marinade, the more flavorful it will become, giving it maximum flavor.
  • If possible, use fresh herbs. Fresh herbs can significantly enhance the flavor of the vegan pasta salad recipe. If you find them fresh, use them instead of dried, and triple the quantity of the dried herbs listed in the recipe. 
  • Cook pasta al dente. Follow the package instructions to cook the pasta in heavily salted water until just al dente, so it has a firm, biteable texture. This helps the noodles absorb more of the dressing and have the best texture in the salad. 
  • Completely cook the pasta. Allow the cooked pasta to cool completely before mixing it with the other ingredients. This prevents the salad from becoming mushy and helps meld the flavors. 
  • Customize the veggies. Feel free to switch up the roasted veggie of choice depending on what is in season. Great alternatives are bell peppers, mushrooms, and eggplant. You can also use a combination of different veggies.
An up-close side shot of a blue patterned bowl of Mediterranean pasta salad.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy this pasta salad as a light lunch, dinner, or snack. Or, pair it with some of our favorite recipes below for a full Mediterranean-inspired spread at your next backyard get-together:

Storage Directions

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Consider storing the fresh herbs and veggies separately, as they may wilt, and adding them to the salad just before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pasta salad healthy?

This pasta salad recipe is a healthy meal option, as it’s made with whole ingredients and balanced nutrients. Tofu provides a plant-based protein and pasta (choose a whole-grain pasta for the healthiest option) and vegetables provide dietary fiber. Using plant-based ingredients, it is low in saturated fats, and extra virgin olive oil provides healthy monounsaturated fats.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes! This salad can be made up to three days in advance. Prepare the dairy-free pasta salad as outlined in the recipe, reserving the fresh veggies and herbs (if using). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to stir in the vegetables and herbs and serve.

What can I use instead of tofu?

If you prefer not to use tofu, substitute it with tempeh, cooked chickpeas, or lentils for a different protein source. Adjust the marinating time as needed for the best flavor absorption.

More Vegan Pasta Recipes

Recipe Card

5 from 1 vote

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

By: Jenné Claiborne
This easy Mediterranean Pasta Salad is a vibrant, flavor-packed dish perfect for warm-weather days! Made with marinated tofu, roasted veggies, herbs, fusilli pasta, sundried tomatoes, and olives, each bite will transport you to the Mediterranean while being nutritious and plant-based!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Marinated Tofu

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 14-ounce package tofu, pressed, drained, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Roasted Vegetables

  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced; or 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil

Pasta Salad

  • 8 oz fusilli pasta, or other short pasta
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup green olives, pitted & halved, or black olives
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, drained if packed in oil, diced
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or thinly sliced

Instructions 

  • Combine the red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, basil, oregano, black pepper, chili flakes, thyme, rosemary, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk or stir well to combine.
  • Add the cubed tofu to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Set it aside on the counter or refrigerator to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients. If you have the time, marinate the tofu overnight in the refrigerator if you have the time.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Place the zucchini or butternut squash on the baking sheet and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of avocado or olive oil. Spread the vegetables out evenly and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta in heavily salted water according to the package instructions. Drain the cooked pasta, then toss immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Spread it evenly on a baking sheet to cool until ready to use.
  • Once the squash is roasted, transfer it to a large mixing or salad bowl, then add the pasta, tofu with its marinade, olives, sundried tomatoes, and raw tomatoes. Stir well to coat, and season to taste with salt if needed.
  • Serve immediately or set it aside to cool and marinate more. Top with fresh basil before serving.

Notes

Storage Directions
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Consider storing the fresh herbs and veggies separately, as they may wilt, and adding them to the salad just before serving. 
Recipe Pro-Tips
  • Thoroughly press the tofu. Make sure to press the tofu well to remove excess water before marinating. This helps the tofu better absorb the marinade and achieve a firmer texture. Use a tofu press or wrap it in a clean kitchen towel, place a heavy object on top, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. 
  • Marinate the tofu overnight. The longer the tofu soaks in the marinade, the more flavorful it will become, giving it maximum flavor.
  • If possible, use fresh herbs. Fresh herbs can significantly enhance the flavor of the vegan pasta salad recipe. If you find them fresh, use them instead of dried, and triple the quantity of the dried herbs listed in the recipe. 
  • Cook pasta al dente. Follow the package instructions to cook the pasta in heavily salted water until just al dente, so it has a firm, biteable texture. This helps the noodles absorb more of the dressing and have the best texture in the salad. 
  • Completely cook the pasta. Allow the cooked pasta to cool completely before mixing it with the other ingredients. This prevents the salad from becoming mushy and helps meld the flavors.
  • Customize the veggies. Feel free to switch up the roasted veggie of choice depending on what is in season. Great alternatives are bell peppers, mushrooms, and eggplant. Or, use a combination of different veggies.
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Jenne

I’m a Georgia Peach living in Los Angeles (by way of NYC), with an insatiable love of sweet potatoes, travel, animals, and cooking. On Sweet Potato Soul you’ll discover hundreds of delicious and easy-to-make vegan recipes.

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