Faux Tuna Pasta Salad

The main ingredients

Easy to prepare cold dishes are my favorite during the hot summer days!  Although this one does involve a pot of boiling water for the pasta, you don’t need to slave all day in the kitchen to whip this satisfying recipe up.  The multicolored veggies and pasta make this dish a lovely add to any picnic and it is also very versatile– eat it as is,  on a bed of greens, or put it in a sandwich.  It is also a great source of zinc, folate, and protein, thanks to the chickpeas we use to make “tuna”.

This is a slightly modified version of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe from her amazing cookbook, The Vegan Table They have very kindly given me permission to re-post this recipe.  I highly recommend this book– the recipes are interesting and the book is filled with colorful photos as well as tips for a great dinner party and delicious menu ideas.  I also love the way she discusses veganism for the people who have chosen this lifestyle and those who are a part of their lives.  You can learn more about Colleen and check out her other books and work over at Compassionate Cook.

Here is the recipe, try it out and let me know how you like it!

Faux Vegan Tuna Pasta Salad

Faux Tuna Pasta Salad

Reprinted with permission from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

You will need a food processor for this recipe.  (I love my Ninja blender set!)

Feel free to substitute out any of the ingredients or add more of what you like!

– 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed OR 3 cups of fresh beans soaked and cooked from scratch
– 1/2 – 1 cup of cooked multi colored shell pasta
– 1/2 cup eggless mayonnaise (I love Follow Your Heart’s Veganaise, it’s yummy and even better than the real thing because you don’t have to feel weird about eating raw eggs now!)
– 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
– 1/2 small yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
– 1 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
– 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
– 2 TBSP fresh or dried parsley, finely chopped
– 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
– 1 TBSP relish
– 1 – 2 TBSP of Herbs de Provence
– Salt and pepper to taste

Prep the chickpeas.  Grind chickpeas in a food processor or blender down to small flaky pieces.  (It only took me a few pulses to get it to this texture.)

Mix it up.  In a large bowl mix the chickpeas with the veggies, condiments, and seasonings.  Add the pasta.  Mix well so that the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Taste test, add more seasoning if desired.  Enjoy!

Olive, Spinach, Tomato Pasta with Chunky Meatless Marinara

This might not be the fanciest dish or the most unique, but that is kind of what makes it so great!  You can easily find or get these ingredients, none of which are very expensive, and make a delicious, healthy, and easy meal that can feed you, a friend or a two, or a whole brood.  All you need to know is how to boil a pot of water!  Sometimes I forget about these simple recipes when I am trying to figure out what to eat and this one is a great staple that you can make over and over again, add different ingredients to change it up, and be satisfied at the end of your meal.  It’s also a great way to get greens into your diet, which is always an on-going goal of mine!

The ingredients provide pretty colors and great texture which makes it that much more appealing!  Lately when I am cooking, I have found myself asking, what color does this dish need or what texture can I add to it?  I feel like it has definitely helped me make dishes more complete and healthy, and given me ingredient ideas I may not have come up with.

Here is an ingredient breakdown for this dish:

– Whole wheat pasta is the staple and provides carbohydrates which fuels your body as well as fiber
– Spinach gives bright pops of green to the dish and also contains many nutrients such as vitamin K, A, C, iron, calcium, and even a bit of protein
– Tomatoes lend some sweetness and lots of flavor to the dish, and is also a source of vitamin C and rich in the antioxident lycopene
– Meatless soy grounds give this dish a protein boost
– The green olives adds some zest to the pasta the high monounsaturated fat content of olives has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

Ready to make it? Let’s get started…

Olive, Spinach, Tomato Pasta with Chunky Meatless Marinara

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of this recipe only.

This recipe serves about 2 generous servings and 4 moderate servings.

- 8 oz (about 1/2 a bag as they usually come in 16 oz bags) of whole wheat fusilli pasta (you can use any kind)
– 1/2 a bag of pre-packed baby spinach, rinsed
– 3 large tomatoes, diced
– 1/2 cup of green olives, sliced (you can use more or less depending on your taste, I try to make sure the ingredients are proportional to one another)
- 16 or 18 oz jar of organic marinara sauce
– 1 pkg (which is usually about 1 lb.) of meatless grounds which you can find at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Add pasta.  Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.  Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Cook as directed on the package, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, in a small saucepan, heat up the marinara sauce with the meatless ground.  Use a wooden spoon to break the meatless ground into smaller pieces.  Stir the sauce and let it simmer until it is heated through.

At around the 8 minute mark I will taste test and stop cooking when it is just about done, so still a little hard when biting.  Turn off the heat.

With the pasta water still in the pot, add the spinach.  Stir until spinach is wilted.  During this time the pasta should have had time to finish cooking, you can taste a piece to check.  If it is still hard, cover the pot for a few minutes to finish cooking the pasta.


Add the olives and tomatoes, toss to mix.  Serve with sauce and a side of olives.