Vegan Lemon Blueberry Thyme Pasta Salad


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(Note: this post was originally published on August 17, 2021. It has since been updated with some tweaks.)

A Vibrant Lemon Pasta Salad for Summer

Do you ever stumble upon a very simple combination that yields magical results? This vegan pasta salad is definitely one of those cases. The combination of bright zippy lemon, sweet summer blueberries, fragrant thyme, and crunchy pistachios is a little bit unexpected and entirely delightful.

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity. Because there aren't many ingredients, the flavors really stand out. It's also a breeze to make, so I'm confident you'll want to come back to this unique blueberry pasta again and again all season long.

A beautiful vegan pasta salad with star-shaped pasta, blueberries, thyme, and pistachioss

How to Make a Vegan Pasta Salad

When you think about pasta salad, do you envision a dish with elbow macaroni, tons of mayo, and cheese? Sorry if you're a fan of that version, but to me it's a bummer to make a pasta salad heavier (and more perishable!) by adding loads of eggs and dairy. Let's re-imagine pasta salad in a way that's plant-based, lighter, and fresher.

There are a lot of ways to make a vegan pasta salad. Most importantly, you'll want to choose a dressing that's flavorful and vibrant. You'll see that this lemon pasta salad uses a simple dressing of robust olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh thyme, and generous salt and pepper. However you can also make pasta salads with many other dressings including vinaigrettes. Other than that, just toss in whatever veggies, fruits, beans, and nuts you love.

If you want to make this dish more nourishing and meal-appropriate, use a bean-based pasta. There are wonderful chickpea and lentil pastas available, which will add great protein and fiber to this recipe. I've shown red lentil pasta in the photos here. Thanks to all that protein, this blueberry pasta easily functions as a main course.

Bowl of vegan lemon pasta salad shown with lemon halves and thyme sprigs

Blueberry Pasta Variations

Pasta salads are generally easy to vary based on your own tastes, and this lemon pasta salad is no exception. I usually like to keep this one pretty simple, but you can certainly mix in a few veggies if you prefer. Anything that goes well with lemon (e.g., blanched broccoli, grilled asparagus, or raw sugar snap peas) makes a nice addition. I also sometimes like to toss arugula into this pasta; its peppery flavor is a nice counterpoint to the sweet blueberries. If you want to add more protein, use a bean-based pasta and/or stir in some chickpeas.

Thanks to the robust ingredients (and also the lack of highly-perishable mayo or dairy), this vegan pasta salad travels well. It's a great option for bringing on a picnic or to a potluck. Got leftovers? They'll make a great portable lunch.

Make-Ahead Tips

This summery blueberry pasta salad is entirely make-ahead friendly. You can cook the pasta a day or two ahead, make the dressing, and even toss the pasta with the dressing and thyme. Store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Just keep the blueberries and pistachios aside until you're ready to serve, since both will get soggy if they sit in the dressing.

Bowl of lemon pasta salad, shown with a serving spoon and a bowl of blueberries

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here's what you'll need for this lemon pasta salad, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Pasta. I prefer to use a bean-based option to make this vegan pasta salad feel meal-worthy. Opt for a short cut of pasta (e.g. rotini, gemelli, or the cute star shapes shown here) so that you can mix the ingredients well.
  • Olive oil. Choose something robust and flavorful.
  • Lemons
  • Fresh thyme
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Blueberries
  • Pistachios. Roasted salted pistachios work beautifully in this blueberry pasta. For a less pricey option, opt for roasted salted almonds.

Vegan pasta salad made with star-shaped red lentil pasta

Closing Thoughts

I was reluctant to share this recipe because I was afraid it was too simple. But sometimes simple is okay, right? We love this dish for a warm summer evening and I hope you will too.

How will you enjoy this lemon pasta salad? Will you bring it on a picnic or to a party? Will you add some veggies or keep it simple? However you choose to enjoy this summery dish, it pairs nicely with a wide variety of different flavors, so it's a recipe you can come back to all season long.

Summer pasta salad with a lemon dressing, blueberries, thyme, and pistachios

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Honey Fig Gin and Tonic

Spring Asparagus Salad with Grilled and Raw Greens

Loaded Lemon Hummus

Grilled Corn, Snap Pea, and Blueberry Salad

Blueberry Lemon Tahini Oat Flour Blender Cake

Vegan Lemon Blueberry Thyme Pasta Salad

This unique lemon pasta salad features sweet blueberries, fragrant thyme, and crunchy pistachios. It's perfect for a seasonal BBQ, party, or picnic.



  • 12-oz or 16-oz box of short-cut pasta
  • 2 tbsp high-quality, flavorful olive oil
  • Zest and juice of two lemons
  • Leaves from 8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Generous flaky sea salt (e.g. fleur de sel) and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1.5 c blueberries
  • 0.5 c roasted salted pistachios


  1. Cook the pasta according to the box directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it, then transfer it immediately to the mixing bowl while still hot. The residual heat from the pasta will help release the flavorful oils from the lemon zest and thyme. Toss until evenly coated.
  4. Cover the pasta and put it in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
  5. To serve, remove the pasta from the fridge and gently stir in the blueberries and pistachios.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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Jessica H
June 16, 2023
What a creative pairing I never would have through to add berries to a pasta salad. My family will love this.
September 1, 2022
Pamela- I LOVE your bulgur idea! I bet this would be great with farro too... now you're making me want to try that. Thanks for the inspiration!
September 1, 2022
What a unique flavor combination! I never would have thought to combine these things.
August 28, 2022
This is perfect salad on a warm evening and when fresh blueberries are abundant out of the garden. I change it up a bit with bulgur and lime, and top it with salty feta.
September 8, 2021
Anonymous pasta lover- personally speaking, I tend to think of pasta salads as using shorter cuts of pasta. But you do you! If you want to use a longer cut, I'd maybe go with angel hair since it's sort of delicate and summery.
September 7, 2021
Do u think this would work with long pasta
August 19, 2021
Oh my gosh that pasta is beyond adorable!