This vegan dill pickle pasta salad recipe is designed to satisfy with its bold and tangy flavors. It features macaroni noodles, dill pickles and a creamy tahini dressing, creating a blend of tastes and textures that will leave you craving more.
Whether you're hosting a summer gathering, looking for a satisfying lunch option, or simply seeking a flavorful side dish, this recipe has got you covered.
Get the Veg Out newsletter for vegan recipes + nutrition content!
This post contains affiliate links (including Amazon Associates) and I earn from qualifying purchases.
Ingredients for Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
The following ingredients are what I like to use for this tasty recipe. While it may seem like a lot of ingredients, they should all be easy to source from a typical grocery store.
Dill Tahini Dressing
- Tahini: Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, serves as the creamy and flavorful base for your dressing. It adds richness and depth to the salad, while also providing a good source of healthy fats without using mayonnaise.
- Fresh dill: Fresh dill is a key ingredient that infuses the dressing with its distinct and refreshing flavor. It complements the tanginess of pickles and brings a burst of brightness to the dish.
- Green onion: Green onions (scallions) contribute a mild onion flavor to the dressing. They provide a subtle sharpness and a touch of freshness that enhances the overall taste.
- Lemon juice and zest: Lemon adds a zingy citrus note to the dressing, elevating its flavor and giving it a vibrant and kick. This recipe uses both the juice and zest of a large lemon.
- Liquid sweetener: Liquid sweeteners like maple or agave syrup help to balance the acidity of lemon and adds a touch of subtle sweetness to the dressing.
- Dijon mustard: Dijon mustard brings a slightly spicy kick to the dressing, enhancing its overall complexity. It adds depth and a hint of heat.
- Garlic powder: This lends a mild garlic flavor to the dressing, adding depth and an aromatic element to the overall taste.
- Salt: Salt helps to bring out the flavors of other ingredients and balances the taste of the dressing. Adjust the amount according to your personal preference.
- Cold water: Water helps to thin out the tahini, creating a smooth and creamy dressing that coats your pasta salad ingredients evenly.
Pasta Salad Base
- Macaroni noodles: Macaroni noodles provide a base to hold the dressing and create a satisfying bite in every forkful. You can use any small shaped pasta you prefer if you don’t have macaroni noodles on hand.
- Dill pickles: Dill pickles are the star ingredient that gives this salad its unique and vibrant flavor. Their tanginess provides a refreshing and zesty contrast to the other ingredients, making every bite taste amazing.
- Carrot: Carrots add a pop of color, a crisp texture and a hint of earthiness that complements the tangy dressing and pickle flavors.
- Celery: Celery contributes a refreshing crunch and mild flavor to the salad.
- Red onion: Red onion adds a sharpness and a touch of bite that complements the tanginess of the pickles and brings depth to the salad’s taste profile. Other types of onions can work as well.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas make this salad more filling and satisfying by providing a boost of plant-based protein. Other beans or lentils could be used as well.
- Fresh dill: Fresh dill, used again in the salad itself, brings extra vibrant freshness to this salad. This additional dill is optional but I love to go all-in on the fresh flavor of dill when I have it on hand.
How to Make Vegan Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
In less than 30 minutes you can cook your pasta, prepare the other salad ingredients, make a salad dressing from scratch, and mix it all together! This recipe comes together quickly, so have fun and enjoy all the plant-based flavors coming together into one epic dish.
Step 1: Cook Pasta
Cook your macaroni noodles according to the package instructions. Typically, this requires bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil and adding the macaroni.
Cook until al dente, usually around 7-9 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking. Once cooked, drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water to cool them down. This will stop the cooking process and helps maintain a firm texture.
Step 2: Prepare Remaining Salad Ingredients
While your macaroni cooks, prepare your remaining salad ingredients.
This includes finely dicing some dill pickles, carrots, celery, red onion, and chopping some fresh dill. It’s also a good time to drain and rinse a can of chickpeas.
Once your pasta has finished cooking and you’ve cooled it under cold water, place the macaroni and fresh salad ingredients into a large mixing/serving bowl.
Step 3: Prepare Dill Tahini Dressing
Next, prepare a simple dill dressing.
In a small blender, combine the tahini, fresh dill, green onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, liquid sweetener of your choice (such as maple or agave syrup), Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and cold water.
Blend until the ingredients are well combined and the dressing is smooth and creamy. To achieve the desired consistency, you may need an extra small splash of water. The dressing should be pourable but not too thin.
Step 4: Toss and Serve Salad
Pour the dressing you just prepared over the salad ingredients. Gently toss everything together until the dressing coats all the ingredients evenly.
Next, take a moment to taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more salt for a stronger savory flavor, a squeeze of additional lemon juice for a tangier taste, or liquid sweetener to balance the flavors.
To help the flavors to meld together and chill further, cover your bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the salad to an airtight container. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until it's thoroughly chilled. This resting time will enhance the taste of your salad but isn’t necessary if you need to serve it sooner.
Once the salad is chilled, you can garnish it with some extra fresh dill or a sprinkle of black pepper if desired.
How to Serve a Balanced Vegan Meal
This salad is a great side dish or can be enjoyed as a meal on its own. It contains some protein from chickpeas and tahini, healthy fats from the tahini, and plenty of vegetables loaded throughout the salad. Of course, there’s also no shortage of carbohydrates coming from the macaroni pasta.
Vegan Dill Pickle Pasta Salad Variations
If you’re looking to enhance this pasta salad recipe, consider some of these easy upgrades:
- Protein Power: Add extra plant-based protein such as grilled tofu, tempeh, or seitan. These can be marinated in complementary flavors like lemon, dill, and garlic to enhance the overall taste.
- Greens Galore: Serve the salad on a bed of fresh mixed greens or spinach leaves to increase your variety of veggies. You can also add some sliced avocado for extra creaminess and healthy fats.
- Nutty by Nature: Sprinkle the salad with a handful of chopped nuts or seeds like almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds.
If you’d like to try other vegan salads that aren’t lettuce-based, I’d also recommend looking into my recipes for:
How to Keep Leftover Pasta Salad Fresh
To store leftover dill pasta salad, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. When ready to enjoy the leftover salad, take it out of your fridge and toss gently to mix the ingredients.
You may find that the salad tastes even better when eating it as leftovers since the pasta will have time to absorb the tahini dill dressing and become infused with fresh flavor!
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Delicious Dill Pickle Pasta Salad (Vegan)
Dill Tahini Dressing
- ½ cup tahini (120 grams)
- ½ cup fresh dill , packed (10 grams)
- ¼ cup green onion (20 grams)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
- 3-4 tablespoons lemon (juice of 1 lemon, 45-60 milliliters)
- 1-2 tablespoons liquid sweetener , of your choice (15 – 30 milliliters)*
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (5 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt , or to taste
- ⅓-½ cup cold water **
Pasta Salad Base
- 2 cups macaroni noodles (300 grams dry pasta)
- 1 cup dill pickles , chopped (160 grams)
- 1 cup carrot , diced (about 2 medium carrots, 130 grams)
- ½ cup celery , diced (about 2 ribs of celery, 85 grams)
- ⅓ cup red onion , diced (about ½ medium onion, 55 grams)
- 2 ¼ cups chickpeas , (15 ounce can, drained and rinsed)
- ¼ cup fresh dill , chopped (8 grams)
Step 1: Cook Pasta
- Cook macaroni pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain the water and place your pasta in a bowl, into the fridge to cool.2 cups macaroni noodles
- To speed the cooling process, your pasta can be run under cold water until chilled.
Step 2: Prepare Remaining Salad Ingredients
- While the pasta cooks and cools, prepare your remaining salad ingredients by chopping dill pickles, carrots, celery, red onion and dill. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas.1 cup dill pickles, 1 cup carrot, ½ cup celery, ⅓ cup red onion, ¼ cup fresh dill, 2 ¼ cups chickpeas
- Get all these other salad ingredients into the mixing/serving bowl along with your cooled pasta.
Step 3: Prepare Dressing
- Add all dressing ingredients to a blender (a small blender works well) and blend until the dressing is smooth and creamy.½ cup tahini, ½ cup fresh dill, ¼ cup green onion, 2 tablespoons lemon zest, 3-4 tablespoons lemon, 1-2 tablespoons liquid sweetener, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅓-½ cup cold water
- You may need to scrape the edges of the blender down once or twice to make sure everything is fully blended.
Step 4: Toss and Serve
- Once smooth, pour the dill dressing over your pasta salad base and toss together to combine all the ingredients.
- Serve cold.
**Could use pickle juice from the jar of dill pickles for extra flavor. Accuracy of nutrition information cannot be guaranteed (certain ingredients may not have all nutrients listed in the database); amounts may vary (and will vary depending on brands of ingredients used); all nutrition fact values rounded to the nearest whole number.
More Vegan Salad Recipes
Like this recipe? You should also try:
About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.