Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Salad

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Salad | Veggie and the Beast

Despite my love for outdoor dining, I shy away from the large-batch pasta salads that seem to always be part of the menu. I love the idea of a cold pasta salad, but they’re usually drenched in mayonnaise, and I just…can’t do mayonnaise. I don’t know if it’s because it includes raw eggs, or because of the strange jiggly consistency, or maybe a little bit of both (definitely a little bit of both…), but I avoid it at all costs.

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Salad | Veggie and the Beast

I know many people dislike mayonnaise, but I’m particularly annoying about it. At work lunches I’ve been known to scrape off the inner-most layer of bread from my sandwich and remove any and all pieces of sandwich filling that have been in contact with the white stuff. This usually means that I end up eating bread crusts and a single cucumber for lunch. Worth it.

For my high school graduation party my poor mom had to call caterer after caterer in search of mayo AND meat-free pasta salad options. This reminds me that I probably owe her a 9-year-late apology. Whups.

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Salad | Veggie and the Beast

Despite the fact that most pasta salads fall on the do-not-touch list because of mayonnaise (or “aioli” if we’re being fancy), I’m often tempted. I like carbs, I like creamy things, I like eating outside, and pasta salad usually involves all those things. Clearly the conclusion here is that I need to just make my own and stop whining.

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Salad | Veggie and the Beast

sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, tomato paste, Greek yogurt and olive oil blend together to create a thick, creamy, mayo-free sauce that clings the whole wheat shells. The pasta and sauce would be great on their own, but I added some Great Northern beans for protein and texture, red cabbage and onion for some crunch and color, feta for a bit of tang, and some tomatoes to complement the sun-dried tomato dressing. Even if you like those mayo-based salads, you need to give this simple and healthy version a try.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Creamy Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad
Prep time
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A delicious and simple pasta salad that has all the creaminess you want, but no mayo! Perfect for picnics, pot lucks, or nights dining al fresco.
Recipe type: Pasta, Healthy
Serves: 8
Tomato Basil Pasta Salad
  • 1 package whole wheat shells (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomatoes, diced (if you only have small tomatoes use 2 or 3)
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cups sliced red cabbage
  • 1 15-ounce can great northern beans
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • Sun-dried tomato dressing, recipe follows
  • Basil for garnish
Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Dressing
  • ½ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (if they are packed in oil then give them a good rinse)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup - 1½ cups Greek yogurt (depending on desired level of creaminess)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅛-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and basil until mostly smooth. Add the Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, and cayenne, and pulse until it's incorporated with the sun-dried tomatoes and spices. Slowly add the olive oil while the processor is running.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, veggies, beans, feta, and dressing. Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. Top each serving with some fresh basil leaves for garnish.
  5. Optional: drizzle with hot sauce for some extra kick!

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Salad | Veggie and the Beast

A fresh, flavorful and super healthy pasta salad completely void of the jiggly ingredients? Done. Summer picnics here I come!


9 Responses to “Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Salad”

  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — June 11, 2013 @ 4:36 pm (#)

    This sounds seriously dreamy!! Love this idea!

  2. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef — June 11, 2013 @ 5:01 pm (#)

    Even though I have a love affair with mayonnaise, I adore your pasta salad!

  3. Taylor @ greens & chocolate — June 11, 2013 @ 8:24 pm (#)

    I don’t mind a touch of mayo in my pasta salads, but I can’t stand the kind that is loaded with it….ack!! This looks like something I need to try..I love everything about it!

  4. Sarah — June 12, 2013 @ 6:47 am (#)

    I hate mayo too and have been known to do the same thing with sandwiches. ;-)

    This pasta salad looks lovely – I’ll have to try it!

  5. Martha — June 12, 2013 @ 7:46 am (#)

    What about vegan mayonaisse? Like the one you make out of soymilk and oil, does that gross you out?

    Also, Cooking Light has often come up with great potato salads that have simple herb-oil combinations. This looks delicious.

    • Veggie — June 12, 2013 @ 8:56 am (#)

      I actually haven’t tried vegan mayo before, other than the kind I’ve made at home (I use silken tofu). Perhaps I would like it, but it depends mostly on the texture. That will have to be the next things I try! :)

  6. suskr — March 23, 2014 @ 3:06 am (#)

    Oh my, I just made this for my lunches and it tastes delicious. Apologies but I do love mayo (especially w corn chips – don’t ask) so had to snack on a few in the prep process to make up for it. I added sour cream to the yoghurt mixture and it creamed up nicely. Thanks!

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