Welcome to recipe #3 of my Thanksgiving Week Extravaganza!
That’s what I’m calling it because it’s everything I would ever want to eat at Thanksgiving and it’s all happening in 1 WEEK. I know, it’s a lot to take in. Are you prepared for all this deliciousness?
Originally I had planned to make a traditional pasta salad modeled after this Vegan Macaroni Salad, but when I made the dressing it just wasn’t the quite flavor combination I had in mind. I had a craving for pesto and decided to switch directions.
This pasta salad is vegan and gluten free, comes together in about 30 minutes, and requires just 9 ingredients! This could be one of the last things you prepare for your Thanksgiving feast, or you can even make it ahead of time and let it rest while everything else finishes up as the flavors seem to improve the longer it hangs out.
The base is gluten free penne (I share my favorite brand below!), roasted tomatoes (use parchment paper while roasting unless you want a sad, blackened baking sheet like mine), and an insanely delicious and simple pesto dressing. Classic flavors, easy preparation, big flavor.
I hope you all love this recipe! It’s:
This is another simple side dish for Thanksgiving. Just a touch of pasta on the table while keeping things sophisticated. This would also be delicious year-round, especially when tomatoes are abundant.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Penne Pasta Salad (30 minutes!)
- 2 cups (300 g) cherry/baby tomatoes, halved
- 12 ounces whole-grain or gluten-free penne pasta (I love Bionaturea Gluten-Free Penne)
- 2 cups semi-packed (~120 g), fresh basil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp or 12 g)
- 1/4 cup (33 g) toasted pine nuts, plus more for serving (or sub raw walnuts)
- 1 lemon, juiced (~3 Tbsp or 45 ml)
- 1/4 cup (20 g) vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Pinch sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil (extra virgin is best), plus more for pasta
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add tomatoes to the baking sheet and drizzle with a little oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Arrange cut side up and roast for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and slightly shriveled. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous pinch of salt. Once boiling add pasta of choice and cook according to package instructions. Then drain and set aside. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss to prevent sticking.
Make pesto by adding basil, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, vegan parmesan cheese, and salt to a food processor and blending to combine. Stream in the olive oil until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. If too dry, add a little water. It should be thick but pourable (see first photo).
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, vegan parmesan cheese for cheesiness, salt for saltiness, or garlic for bite/spice. Set aside.
Add cooked pasta and roasted tomatoes to a mixing/serving bowl and top with pesto. Toss to combine and enjoy immediately. Garnish with extra vegan parmesan cheese and/or fresh parsley or basil (optional).
Best when fresh, though leftovers keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Enjoy at room temperature for best flavor/texture.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 6 servings calculated with whole-grain penne and all of the pesto and tomatoes but no additional toppings.
*Pesto adapted from my Vegan Pesto Parmesan Breadsticks.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 6)
- Calories: 352
- Fat: 19.7g
- Saturated fat: 2.7g
- Sodium: 116mg
- Carbohydrates: 37.3g
- Fiber: 1.6g
- Sugar: 1.6g
- Protein: 9.6g