Vegan dill pickle pasta salad, oil-free, with creamy dill pickle ranch dressing, tofu bacon, tomatoes, celery, onions, fresh dill, and yes, more pickles!
Dill Pickle Pasta Salad [Vegan]
For the Tofu Bacon:
- 8-ounce block of firm tofu
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Dill Pickle Ranch Dressing:
- 1 cup raw cashews, ground in a spice grinder or soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight
- 1/4 cup pickle juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup plant milk
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
For the Salad:
- 3 cups dry small shells or macaroni noodles
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 stalks celery, diced small (1 cup)
- 1 small red onion, finely diced (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup dill pickles, diced
- Note: you can use a spice grinder to break the cashews into a powder or alternatively, soak them in water for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain the cashews and use as directed to make the dressing.
- Cut the tofu block into quarters and then press out the moisture by placing it between 2 plates (or another flat surface) and weighting the top or use a tofu press. Allow the tofu to press for about 20 minutes.
- In a shallow dish, make the marinade by combing the soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, onion and garlic powder, and black pepper.
- When the tofu is pressed, cut it into small cubes and toss it in the marinade to coat it. Cover the dish and allow the tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes ). Toss it halfway through so it is coated on all sides.
- While the tofu does its thing, make the dressing by draining the cashews and adding them plus the pickle juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, plant milk, garlic powder and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. You may want to add more plant milk depending on the consistency you desire.
- Transfer the dressing to a bowl and stir in the dill and chives.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F
- While the oven heats, start a big pot of water boiling for the pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender, but firm.
- Place the tofu on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Use a spatula and turn the cubes over. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until the tofu is firm. The amount of time you need will depend on the size of the cubes.
- Drain the pasta and allow it to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients (tomatoes, celery, onion and dill pickles). Add them to a medium salad bowl. Add the pasta and add the dressing and tofu cubes. Mix well.
- Serve immediately or chill and serve later.