Italian Summer Pasta {Vegan Pasta Salad}

Italian Summer Pasta for hot summer days! This vegan pasta salad is tossed with hand-crushed tomatoes, herbs, and olives, with a drizzle of olive oil and some vinegar to brighten things up. It couldn’t be easier to make or more delicious to eat.

A wooden bowl with pasta tossed with tomatoes and olives, with some fresh mozzarella on top

Anyone else hate turning their oven on when it’s hot outside?

We’ve been having a heat wave in Stockholm which has been wonderful and glorious and has brought with it the bounty of summer but man oh man, I do not want to turn my oven on.

I naturally find myself reaching for more simple meals these days – both simple to make, because it’s too hot to be sweating away in the kitchen, and simple flavours, because the produce at this time of year deserves a chance to shine.

This Italian Summer Pasta ticks all of the boxes. It celebrates all of the best flavours of summer with fresh tomatoes and herbs, and takes no longer to make than it takes you to boil up a pot of pasta.

It doesn’t require any cooking other than the pasta either; you just get busy crushing the tomatoes in your hands, tear up some herbs, and add a splash of oil and vinegar, and you’re done. You can serve this dish warm from the heat of the pasta, or cold or at room temperature for a simple vegan pasta salad.

Tomates, herbs, onion, garlic, olives on a grey background

What’s in this Italian Summer Pasta?

Glad you asked! You’re going to need to grab some:

  • Pasta! –> Choose your favourite pasta shape – I used corkscrews.
  • Tomatoes –> Little cherry tomatoes or baby plum tomatoes are best for this vegan pasta salad.
  • Olives –> I used salty black olives, but you can sub in your favourite.
  • Red onion –> optional, if you like a bit more kick to your pasta.
  • Garlic –> Sliced thinly AF.
  • Herbs –> Fresh basil and oregano are going down here.
  • Olive oil –> Use your good stuff here.
  • Red wine vinegar –> For a l’il bit of tang.
  • Salt and pepper –> For flavour and whatnot.

tomatoes, herbs, and garlic in a wooden bowl

How do you make Italian Summer Pasta?

Start by putting a pot of water on to boil. Salt it well, add your pasta, and cook it to al dente.

While your pasta is cooking, slice the tomatoes in half. Then, place them into a serving bowl and get in there and squish the ish out of them with your hands. It’s dinner making and stress reduction all rolled into one!

Add the olives, herbs, garlic, onion (if using) vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the tomatoes. Give everything a good stir, and let the flavours meld together while the pasta finishes cooking.

When the pasta is finished, drain it well and pour the hot pasta directly on top of the tomato mixture.

Toss everything together, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

That’s it! You’re done!

crushed tomatoes in a bowl with herbs and olive oil

What’s so great about this Italian Summer Pasta recipe?

The produce is uncooked, which means this is a one-pot meal. In-season cherry tomatoes and spinach are tossed with torn leaves of basil, salty black olives, and slivers of punchy garlic. A splash of red wine vinegar and a glug of the best olive oil you’ve got brighten the flavours and let the summer produce shine as it should.

Italian Summer Pasta is a perfect summer evening meal, preferably eaten outside. For a vegan pasta salad, the leftovers pack well for picnicking, or for packed lunches if you like.

Another thing I love about this Italian Summer Pasta is that it’s great served warm – just toss the hot pasta directly in with the tomatoes – but it’s equally good served cold or at room temperature.

The recipe as written is totally vegan, but if cheese is your thing (it’s most definitely my thing) I heartily endorse tearing up a ball of good buffalo mozzarella (or burrata, if you can get your hands on it) to scatter over top.

Want to add more protein?

Want to add more protein to your vegan pasta salad? Try swapping in legume pasta (I like this chickpea pasta) for half or all of the pasta here. You can also add some cubes of tofu feta or some chickpeas.

Eat gluten free?

Use rice, quinoa, or legume pasta instead of regular.

Want to bump up the vegetable content?

Add in a few big handfuls of in-season greens. They’ll wilt down to next to nothing when you add in the hot pasta.

Can this recipe be made in advance?

It sure can! This meal really doesn’t require much in the way of prepping or chopping, but you can certainly enlist help for the tomato squishing job. It’s a perfect task for little hands, too.

Your vegan pasta salad is perfect cold or at room temperature, so it can be made up to a day in advance and just chill in the fridge till you’re ready to serve.

Summer pasta dish with olives, tomatoes, and herbs in a wooden bowl

Hey Nutrition Lady, are tomatoes good for you?

Funny story, I have a friend who up until recently thought that tomatoes weren’t all that nutritious because they’re not green. Folks, tomatoes are juicy little bombs of nutrition.

Tomatoes are known for their antioxidant content, notably lycopene – which can help reduce your risk of prostate cancer, fellas!

Other antioxidants include vitamin C, and beta carotene. As far as phytonutrients go, tomatoes are at the top of the charts. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and glycosides to name just a few.

Eating tomatoes has also been shown to be beneficial for the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been linked to reduced total cholesterol, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels. This makes our hearts happy!

Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, and phosphorus.

overhead photo of pasta with tomatoes, olives and herbs in a wooden bowl with wooden serving spoons to the side

Other pasta dishes you might enjoy:

Tortellini Pasta Salad
Vegan Rice Noodle Bowls
Very Green Vegetable Pasta
Orecchiette with Broccoli and Lemon
One-Pan Vegetable Gnocchi Bake with Ricotta

overhead photo of pasta with tomatoes, olives and herbs in a wooden bowl with wooden serving spoons to the side
5 from 2 votes
Print

Italian Summer Pasta {Vegan Pasta Salad}

Italian Summer Pasta for hot summer days! This vegan pasta salad is tossed with crushed tomatoes, herbs, and olives, with a drizzle of olive oil and some vinegar to brighten things up. It couldn't be easier to make or more delicious to eat.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 405 kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 14 oz rotini pasta regular or whole wheat
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives halved
  • 1 clove garlic thinly sliced or crushed
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves about 1/2 cup torn
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Put a large pot of water on high heat. When it has come to a rolling boil, salt generously and place the pasta in to cook until al dente - about 10-15 minutes depending on your pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prep everything else.
  3. Add halved cherry tomatoes to a large bowl, then scrunch them with your hands to break down a bit.

  4. Now add torn basil, oregano, crushed garlic, and red wine vinegar, and olive oil.
  5. When the pasta has finished cooking, drain, and immediately add the hot pasta to the waiting vegetables.
  6. Toss well to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only. 
Nutrition Facts
Italian Summer Pasta {Vegan Pasta Salad}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 405 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Sodium 188mg8%
Potassium 340mg10%
Carbohydrates 54g18%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 530IU11%
Vitamin C 18.4mg22%
Calcium 57mg6%
Iron 2.2mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Originally published August 2014. Last updated June 25, 2019.

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Comments

  1. Sustainable Cooks - Sarah says

    I had absolutely everything I needed for this dish in my pantry or garden (<—humble brag), including a giant ball of burrata from Costco of all places.

    This was the best summer dish that filled us up without making us feel gross.

  2. Deena Kakaya says

    Your summer seems utterly idyllic, from the sleeping and eating to the family and friends and you mums garden. The stuff of dreams. The pasta looks juicy and fresh, light and clean. What a smily post xx

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