Heat a large skillet over medium low flame and add the onion with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil or a splash of water or white wine. Saute until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes, mushrooms and eggplant and toss to coat well. Saute together until softened (about 10 minutes).
Add the roasted bell peppers, artichokes and olives together with the smoked paprika and toss everything to coat well.
Using a wooden spoon or spatula push the veggies to the sides of the skillet making some room in the center for the garlic. Add the minced garlic and cook about 30 seconds just enough to release its flavors and taking care not to burn it.
Add the vinegar and parsley and give everything a good stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings with more sea salt and spicy pepper flakes. Mix in the parsley and refrigerate up to one week or freeze in a glass container until needed.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted water until al dente according to the directions on the package. Do not overcook it! Reserve one cup of the pasta water then drain and immediately rinse it with cold water until chilled. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and top with the veggie La Bomba sauce. Toss to combine well and add another drizzle of olive oil or some of the reserved pasta water to get things moving smoothly. (Omit oil on a WFPB diet).
Adjust seasonings with more sea salt and refrigerate for a couple of hours for the flavor to marry. Serve with the fresh basil and hemp seeds on top.
WFPB + Plantricious
You could entirely ditch the olive oil here and make it whole foods plant-based compliant. Simply saute your veggies in a splash of water or white wine instead. Also, make sure to use artichoke hearts packed in water instead of the marinated ones. Puree half of the veggies into a smooth sauce to toss with the pasta and help bind everything together smoothly. It's also mandatory that you use a whole grain pasta like whole wheat, lentil, quinoa or brown rice.
Storage - Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days. If you’re ok with freezing it, place in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Let it warm up on its own instead of forcing the thawing.
Reheating - There’s no need to reheat this vegan Italian pasta salad recipe if you’re going for the traditional chilled version. If you’re serving it in the winter, heating it up or serving it right out of the pan is a huge yes! Reheat over the stove or in the microwave.
Make it oil-free - You could entirely ditch the olive oil here and make it whole foods plant-based compliant. Simply saute your veggies in a splash of water or white wine instead. Also, make sure to use artichoke hearts packed in water instead of the marinated ones. Puree half of the veggies into a smooth sauce to toss with the pasta and help bind everything together smoothly.
Make it for a crowd - This recipe travels well, can be prepared the night before, and also makes wonderful leftovers. It’s super easy to double or even triple the recipe to make larger portions.
Add-ins - If you want to add even more flavor and substance to your salad, one of these add-ins would do great! Choose from pepperoncini, sun-dried tomatoes, basil pesto, green peas, vegan mozzarella, tofu, roasted broccoli, roasted asparagus, avocado, squash, zucchini, etc.
What pasta to use? - Choose a short shaped pasta like penne, conchigliette (shells), ditali (small thimbles), cavatappi (corkscrew), elbow pasta, orecchiette (little ears), fiorelli, chiocciole, fusilli, or bowtie. Gluten-free pasta made from rice or lentils works great too, just make sure not to overcook it.