This Caesar Pasta Salad Is Completely Vegan

Traditional caesar salads are far from vegan - but it's easy to make a plant-based version


2 Minutes Read

A bowl of vegan pasta caesar salad made to a dairy-free recipe This pasta salad is completely free from animal products - Media Credit: Rebecca Hincke

There’s nothing quite like a delicious pasta salad. As the summer months draw closer, you may be on the hunt for a collection of vegan pasta salad recipes to make for the hot weather. This vegan caesar pasta salad is a great one to try.

Read more: 15 High Protein Vegan Lunch Ideas

The recipe comes from Rebecca Hincke, author of The Vegan Pasta Cookbook. It shows you how to make a plant-based take on a traditional caesar salad, and adding pasta into the mix makes it a filling and substantial dinner option.

If you like cooking your food from scratch, this recipe is for you – as it shows you how to make both the dressing and the garlic croutons. The recipe also calls for tofu bacon crumbles, but you can substitute these for your favorite vegan bacon if you’d like.

Caesar salads traditionally include ingredients like eggs, Worcestershire sauce, chicken, and parmesan cheese, none of which are vegan. A growing number of plant-based chefs are creating vegan versions of the salad that taste just like the real thing, and this recipe is no different.

Read more: 15 Vegan Breakfast Ideas

It’s perfect for lunch, dinner, and picnics, and is sure to impress guests if you’re planning a summer party. Here’s how to make it. (Note: you can find out how to make almond parm here, or you can sub this for a shop-bought dairy-free parmesan)

Vegan caesar pasta salad

For the longest time, caesar salad was one of my top restaurant orders. It didn’t matter if it was a starter or main, if it was on the menu, I wanted it. It was also one of the dishes I really missed with plant-based eating, so after a few years of lamenting the lack of good vegan caesar dressings on the market, I finally decided to just make my own!
For this dish, I decided to take caesar salad one step further and add pasta! Say hello to the pasta salad you never knew you needed: crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy herb and garlic croutons, smoky tofu “bacon” crumbles, and creamy cashew caesar dressing, all tossed with chewy penne and garnished with homemade Almond Parm.
A bowl of vegan pasta caesar salad made to a dairy-free recipe
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Servings5 people


For the dressing
  • 1 cup (146g) whole raw cashews, soaked in water
  • ½ cup (120ml) cold water
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½  tsp flaked sea salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp (8g) almond parm
  • 1 tbsp (18g) white miso paste
For the garlic croutons
  • 2 thick slices sourdough bread (or other rustic, crusty loaf)
  • tbsp (38 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for tossing pasta
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (or ½ tsp dried parsley and ¼ tsp each dried oregano and basil)
  • ½ tsp flaked sea salt
For the Salad
  • 6 oz (170 g) dried penne or fusilli
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, ripped or chopped
  • ½ cup (120 ml) cashew caesar dressing, plus more to taste
To Serve
  • ½ cup (75g) tofu bacon crumbles
  • Almond Parm
  • Pepper, to taste


For the dressing

  • Soak the cashews in water overnight or in boiling water for 1 hour if you’re pressed for time. 
  • Drain the water and add the cashews to a blender, along with the cold water and the rest of the ingredients for the dressing.
  • Blend until smooth, then transfer to a jar and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  • You can make the dressing ahead of time and keep it refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.

For the croutons

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Cut the bread into large cubes or rip it into chunks. 
  • Add them to a mixing bowl, along with the olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt. 
  • Toss well so the bread is evenly coated in the seasoning, then spread across a large baking tray and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden and crunchy, flipping the croutons halfway through.
  • Let them cool completely before adding to the salad.

Make the salad

  • Put the pasta on to cook in a pot of boiling, salted water. 
  • Cook to al dente or a little softer, if you prefer, then drain and rinse with cold water, until the pasta is completely cool. 
  • Transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss with a little olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together.
  • Add the lettuce to the bowl with the pasta, then toss with the dressing, until everything is well coated. Feel free to add more if you like.
  • Add ½ of the croutons and fold into the salad, along with ½ of the Tofu Bacon Crumbles.
  • If you’re serving the salad in individual bowls, divide the salad and top each bowl with more croutons, Tofu Bacon Crumbles, and Almond Parm. 
  • Otherwise, transfer it to a serving bowl and add the rest of the garnishes to the whole salad.
  • Add pepper to finish it off and dig in!

This recipe was republished with permission from food photographer and recipe developer, Rebecca Hincke. You can find her Instagram here and her cookbook The Vegan Pasta Cookbook here.

Read more: How To Make A Vegan Version Of The Famous ‘Tunacado’

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