Gluten-Free Sunflower Pasta Salad

  • Author: 'Becca Stallings
  • Category: Main Dish


This high-protein, vegan, versatile recipe is a delicious way to eat plenty of vegetables! Serve hot or room-temperature.


  • Pasta (see below for gluten-free recommendations)
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables–at least as much as pasta, up to twice as much
  • Lots of olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)–about 1/2 cup per pound of pasta
  • Onion–about 1 small or 1/2 large onion, or 2 green onions, per pound of pasta
  • Fresh or dried herbs like dill, parsley, rosemary, oregano, tarragon–enough to generously sprinkle into the oil, about 1 Tbsp. total herbs per pound of pasta
  • Nutritional yeast flakes–enough to generously cover the top surface of the cooked pasta and veggies
  • Shelled sunflower seeds (or chopped nuts)–enough to top each portion
  • Salt, if seeds/nuts are not salted
  • Tomato (optional)


1. Fill a big pot with water, cover, and bring to a boil.

2. Cut up all the veggies and divide them into two categories:

  • The ones that will get boiled with the pasta are those that are in big, dense chunks: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, big pieces of carrots and zucchini, etc. (Another option is to steam these separately.)
  • The ones that will get cooked in the oil are those that are thin and cook quickly: spinach, thin slices of carrots and zucchini, kale (shredded with stems removed), mushrooms, etc. Spinach or any shredded vegetable can be cooked in the oil even if it’s frozen; just break it into chunks as much as possible before adding it and then break it up with the spoon as it thaws. Note that when you cook veggies in the oil, their flavor and vitamins go into the oil, instead of partly going down the drain with the boiling water.

3. When water boils, add pasta and boilable veggies. Cook until they reach desired tenderness. Drain

4. Meanwhile, put olive oil, onion, and fryable veggies in the other pot over medium-high heat. When oil starts bubbling, reduce heat. When onion begins to brown, add herbs and salt (if needed). Simmer until onion is fully cooked and beginning to brown.

5. This step can be done in the pasta pot or on your plate: Cover top surface of pasta with yeast flakes. Add oil mixture. Stir thoroughly until yeast flakes dissolve into oil, making a sauce that coats pasta and veggies. Top with sunflower seeds and optional tomato.


To use leftover cooked veggies or pasta, just toss them into the pan with the olive oil mixture when the onions are almost done, and stir until warmed.