This vegan sunflower pesto pasta salad recipe is quick and tasty. By the time the fusilli pasta is done boiling, the rest of the ingredients are ready to go. Not only that, sunflower basil pesto doesn’t need nutritional yeast. This nut free vegan pesto has enough flavor from the sunflower seeds and garlic to carry the flavor of the entire pasta salad.
While there is vegan parmesan in this recipe, it is completely optional. It adds a little additional flavor, but is not necessary to get the most from this dish. Take or leave it.
This cold vegan pesto pasta salad with artichoke hearts works well for lunch, dinner, or a side dish. It pairs so nicely with Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches with Kalamata Olive Tapenade, Avocado, Tomato and Arugula.
As always, I’m so grateful you stopped by UVK, and hope you enjoy this recipe 😊
Sunflower Pesto Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts, Grape Tomatoes and Black Olives
16 ounce package of dry fusilli pasta
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ cups fresh basil, stems and leaves
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup lemon juice
½ tsp salt
2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2.25 ounce can of sliced black olives, drained
¾ cup marinated quartered artichoke hearts
Vegan parmesan, to top – optional
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the fusilli pasta, and lower the heat to medium-high. Boil for 9-11 minutes, or according to the directions of your package. Drain and rinse with cold water until the pasta is cold.
2. While the pasta is boiling, start making the sunflower pesto. In a small skillet, add the olive oil and garlic over high heat. When the oil starts to bubble around the edges of the garlic, lower the heat to medium-high, and move the garlic around in the oil for 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from heat and allow to cool. The garlic will flavor the oil, and give the vegan pesto richer flavor.
3. In a high speed blender (like a Vitamix or Ninja), add the basil, raw sunflower seeds, lemon juice, & salt. When the garlic and olive oil are cooled, add them as well. Blend.
4. In a large mixing bowl, add the fusilli pasta, sunflower pesto, grape tomatoes, black olives, marinated artichokes hearts, and some vegan parmesan (if using). Mix together. Taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed (salt? lemon juice?). Serve.