pasta salad in a bowl

Picnic Pasta Salad (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

  • Author: Shannon
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 6-8 1x



Marinated Tofu “Feta”

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse grain sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 7.75 oz extra-firm tofu (I used this brand), drained


  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp coarse grain sea salt

Pasta Salad

  • 12 oz uncooked brown rice pasta* (vegan/gluten-free variety)
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (halved or quartered; size-dependant)
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced (I used an English cucumber, but any variety will do)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh oregano leaves for topping


  1. Marinate the tofu. Use a fork to crumble the tofu into small pieces. (No pressing necessary.) Add the lemon juice, olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and coarse grain sea salt. Gently stir to combine. Set aside. 
  2. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside. 
  3. Cook the brown rice pasta according to package directions; rinse in cold water and drain. Place the pasta in a large bowl.**
  4. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, parsley and red onion to the bowl. Add the tofu and pour the dressing over the salad. Gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a drizzle more of olive oil or lemon juice to taste as desired. Garnish with oregano leaves for something fresh.


  • *Any shorter pasta variety will work (bowtie, penne, etc.). Avoid long/large pasta varieties here!
  • **Let your pasta cool completely before tossing it with the other ingredients.
  • The dressing has a bright lemon flavor. It will mellow once it coats the pasta and has a chance to settle.
  • This salad can be made in advance. To freshen things up before serving, simply add a drizzle of olive oil or a splash of lemon juice and gently stir. Garnish with fresh oregano leaves.