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Get some use out of your grill with our grilled vegetable pasta salad – made with fusilli pasta, asparagus, zucchini, artichoke hearts, fresh basil, and more.
The grill has no season
Okay, maybe I’m just saying that because I live in the desert, but if I can grill outside when it’s 120 degrees, you can grill outside when it’s cold. Hah! Either way, I am obsessed with our grill and use it year-round for all sorts of things. Although this is my first grill-specific recipe, there are a few different ways grilled vegetable pasta salad can be prepared even if you don’t own a grill.
The first way is by investing in a grill pan. I have this little one by Lodge and it comes in handy if I run out of propane. And best of all, it’s very affordable too! The only drawback is that it literally takes forever to grill all of the bits and pieces because the pan is so small.
The second way to modify grilled vegetable pasta salad is by simply roasting the veggies. You won’t get that same grill flavor, but it will still taste delicious. As always, I recommend roasting everything with parchment paper just so it doesn’t stick to the pan or you can use my favorite invention of all time – silicone baking mats.
What ingredients do I need to make grilled vegetable pasta salad?
Okay – so now you know which method you’re going to go with grilling, a grill pan, or roasting. Now it’s time to source your ingredients.
Pasta: You can’t make pasta salad without pasta! For this recipe, I went with a fusilli shape but you can really choose whatever kind of pasta you’d like. If you’re going gluten-free I’d go with Barilla red lentil or Banza.
Asparagus: One of the main vegetables in grilled vegetable pasta salad is asparagus. Who doesn’t love grilled asparagus? I prefer to get medium-width spears as the thin ones can burn fairly easy on the grill.
Zucchini: For this recipe you’ll also need two medium-sized zucchinis. I love the extra texture and flavor these bring to the pasta salad. You could also use one yellow squash instead if you’re looking for a bit of color.
Artichoke hearts: I absolutely love grilled artichokes but they are a labor of love. This recipe calls for a simple can of artichokes and you can place them in a grill basket so they don’t fall into the grill.
Extra virgin olive oil: The key to grilling any vegetable is a healthy amount of oil. I sometimes am surprised by how much oil is needed to grill, but in the end, it’s worth it. Personally, would rather have a well-oiled grill than uncooked veggies. In this recipe, I use extra virgin olive oil but you can use whatever high-smoke point oil you’ve got lying around.
Garlic: You’ll need a few minced cloves of garlic for the dressing. Bonus points if you lightly grill the cloves too. (I wish I would have thought about that! I will do that next time I make this for sure)
Lemon: Acid is an important component to this recipe. It really brightens up the asparagus and zucchini. You will need the juice of one lemon or ½ of a lemon.
Dijon mustard: For some extra bite, I love to add dijon mustard to my grilled vegetable pasta salad. If you’re not a big mustard fan or are sensitive to spice, you can leave this out or use yellow mustard instead.
Nutritional yeast: Nooch is the source of all things cheesy and good. Nutritional yeast gives this pasta salad a nice nutty flavor and contrasts the acid of the lemon and dijon. If you have vegan parmesan cheese on hand, you could use that too.
Fresh basil: Basil looked super good at the store so I went with that for my fresh herb. If your basil looks sad, feel free to swap this out for another herb like dill. I also think Italian parsley would taste lovely. Maybe even tarragon. Also, thyme would be awesome too. If all else fails, you can use dried spices too.
Salt and pepper: As always, you’ll need some salt and pepper. I strongly recommend using salted pasta water to help flavor your pasta throughout. You’ll need some additional salt at the end to season your veggies and pepper for finishing the job.
How to make grilled vegetable pasta salad
To make grilled vegetable pasta salad you’ll need a few kitchen tools – the first and most obvious is a grill! If you don’t own a grill, you can use a grill pan (I’ll be honest – I use this when I get lazy) or simply roast the veggies in the oven instead. In addition to a grill, you will need a sheet pan, a grill basket, a knife, a cutting board, a few paper towels, measuring spoons, a large pot, a small mixing bowl, a whisk, and a pair of tongs.
Light up your grill to medium-ish heat. Every grill is different so keep in mind that you’ll want to allow your veggies to cook for 2-4 minutes on each side without turning to char.
Start by trimming the ends of the asparagus and slicing the zucchini into ¼ inch slices. Line across a baking sheet. Then, drain the can of artichoke hearts and slice them in half. Use a few paper towels to blot the excess water from the artichokes. This helps them not stick as much in the grill basket. Next, spread a tablespoon of olive oil across the veggies and use your hands to incorporate the oil into the asparagus, zucchini, and artichoke hearts.
Take your baking sheet to your grill along with the tongs and grill basket. Line the asparagus and zucchini across the grill and spread the artichoke hearts across the basket. Close the lid on the grill and flip the veggies 3-4 minutes later. Remove the veggies once browned and place them back on the baking sheet.
Return to your kitchen and place the veggies in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to cool. Next, salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the fusilli noodles and cook until aldenté. In the meantime, slice some fresh basil leaves and set them aside. Additionally, in a small bowl, whisk together a few garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, extra virgin olive oil, and dijon mustard to make the dressing. Once the noodles are ready, drain and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking and bring down the temperature.
Bring the cold vegetables out of the freezer and chop them into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces. Then, it’s time to assemble the grilled vegetable pasta salad. Using the same pot you boiled the noodles in or a large bowl, combine the grilled veggies, noodles, fresh basil, and dressing. Use tongs to gently toss until the dressing is evenly coated across the veggies. If the dressing is too thick, add a small splash of water. Lastly, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the pasta salad immediately or chill in the refrigerator for later use. The basil will start to wilt after a day, so if the texture is unappealing, you can always withhold the basil and sprinkle it on top right before serving.
Substitution ideas and more
Add mock meat: If you’re looking to add some protein to this grilled vegetable pasta salad, you can’t go wrong with grilling up a few mock meat patties or sausages and adding them in. I think Alpha chicken patties or Beyond Meat Brats would taste delicious.
Make it spicy: Add a grilled jalapeño or serrano to crank up the heat.
Roast the veggies instead: If you don’t have a grill or if your grill is inaccessible this time of year, simply roast the asparagus, zucchini, and artichokes in the oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until brown.
Use a different herb: If basil isn’t your thing, consider substituting a different herb like thyme, rosemary, oregano, or tarragon. Whatever you have will taste delicious!
Add more veggies: I try to make my recipes pretty simple hence the use of 3 main veggies, but if you have others on hand, feel free to toss them in. Grilled onions, bell peppers, carrots, brussels sprouts, etc. All of those would taste amazing!
Add vegan parm: If you haven’t had Follow Your Heart’s parmesan shreds, you’re missing out! Add them to this pasta salad for extra cheesy goodness.
Want more recipes?
If you liked our grilled vegetable pasta salad recipe, you might like some of my other noodle-forward recipes like
- Brothy orzo with kale and mushrooms
- Miso butter noodles
- Winter vegetable pasta salad
- Pumpkin pasta with soyrizo
- Butternut squash orzo bake
- Chipotle corn pasta salad
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make grilled vegetable pasta salad! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is Voulez-Vous Danser by Ace of Base.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
- cutting board
- grill basket
- baking sheet
- Large pot
- small bowl
- measuring spoons
- Light your grill to medium-ish heat. Every grill is different, but you should plan to roast the veggies for about 3 minutes on each side without them turning black.
- Remove ends from asparagus, slice zucchini into 1/4 inch pieces, and slice artichoke hearts in half. Add to baking sheet, then gently blot the artichoke with paper towels.1 bunch asparagus, 1 can artichoke hearts in water, 1 zucchini
- Add 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil across the asparagus, zucchini, and artichoke hearts. Use your hands to incorporate the oil evenly across the veggies.1 + 1 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Carefully place the zucchini and asparagus on the grill along with the artichokes in a grill basket. Shut the grill and let the veggies cook for 3 minutes. Then flip and repeat.
- Remove the grilled veggies and bring them inside. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to cool. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta until aldenté. Then, drain and rinse with cold water until the pasta reaches room temperature.8 oz fusilli pasta
- While the pasta cooks, add the minced garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, and remaining 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Then, slice the basil and set aside.3 cloves minced garlic, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard, 1/4 cup fresh basil, 1 + 1 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Remove the veggies from the freezer and chop into smaller bite-size pieces. Then, add to the veggies large pot along with the noodles, dijon dressing, and fresh basil. Use tongs to gently toss and season with salt and pepper.salt and pepper
- Serve the pasta salad immediately or chill in the refrigerator for later use. The basil will start to wilt after a day, so if the texture is unappealing, you can always withhold the basil and sprinkle it on top right before serving.