My buddy Kat likes to relate the tale of how this pasta salad saved my life. Well, maybe not “save” it, per se, but given it was the only thing I could keep down after an epic bout of food poisoning earlier in the week, it was the Most Delicious Thing I Had Ever Eaten. And eat it I did, for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days. Even better, we were group camping at a far away weekend event and I was her ride. Kat’s original intention was to bring the gigantic Ziploc bag of pasta salad (and one of potato salad as well) to share with our friends, but once she realized that her pasta salad was all I wanted, she gave me the whole thing.
She’s a good egg. 😊
Needless to say, this dairy-free pasta salad has a place in my heart for keeping me sane and well-nourished during that long weekend, and I’m pleased to bring you her recipe, only slightly modified to accommodate a few additions I’ve come to enjoy as well. This recipe can absolutely be made vegan by substituting vegan mayo and a vegan pasta, and gluten-free by using a gf pasta.
Kat’s Dairy Free Pasta Salad
YIELD: 6-8 servings | PREP: 10 mins | COOK: 8-10 mins (pasta)
- 1 750g bag dry medium-sized ridged pasta of choice (rotini, macaroni, farfalle, etc.)
- 1 cup/237mL pickle juice
- 2 cups/440g good quality mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp/16g Dijon mustard (smooth or grainy)
- 1 tbsp/15mL each garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika
- 2 medium garlic dill pickles, minced
- Two stalks celery, diced small
- One medium sized carrot, peeled and diced small
- ½ red onion, minced
- 1 bell pepper (any colour), diced small
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Heat heavily salted water in large pot until boiling rapidly; cook pasta according to package directions, until 1 minute shy of al dente (DO NOT OVERCOOK). When pasta is done, immediately drain in colander and flush with cold water until it is no longer warm. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, stir all sauce ingredients together until fully combined; sauce should be fluid but slightly thickened. Add vegetables and stir to coat.
- Combine sauce thoroughly with cooked and cooled pasta; it should be a little runny at this point. Chill covered a minimum of 1 hour (though overnight is best); Stir occasionally to ensure pasta has absorbed all remaining sauce. Prior to serving, taste one last time for seasoning and adjust if necessary; depending on your pasta and chosen veggies you may need a little more salt, pepper or even pickle juice to thin it out.
Will keep well covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.