This Vegan Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is loaded with tofu bacon, romaine, cherry tomatoes, homemade croutons, avocado, red onion and creamy vegan ranch!
This post is sponsored by Nasoya.
Summer might be coming to an end, but if there is one summer food I can eat year round, it is pasta salad! Crispy tofu bacon, homemade croutons, crunchy veggies and the BEST vegan ranch. Trust me, this salad is a crowd pleaser!
How to make tofu bacon
The star of this salad is the tofu bacon! And to make it I used my favorite tofu - Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu Twin Pack! This twin pack is great if you don't need a whole block of tofu and want a smaller serving! You can save the unused portion in a sealed container or use the whole thing. But trust me, for this recipe, you are going to want ALLLLLL of the tofu bacon you can get your hands on! Check out their store locator to see where you can pick some up!
Press the tofu and then crumble it into a bowl. Combine the marinade ingredients and pour it over the tofu. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour. The longer you marinate, the better it will taste!
The best method for getting that crispy "bacon-like" texture is to pan fry the tofu in some oil. Pour the tofu into the oil and let it sit untouched for a few minutes. The less you touch it, the faster it will crisp up. Once the marinade has all been absorbed and the tofu is browned, you know it is done.
How to assemble Vegan Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
While the tofu is marinating, whip up some super simple homemade croutons and blend the dressing. Dice up the veggies, cook the pasta and you are ready to assemble.
Add the pasta, tofu bacon, croutons, romaine, cherry tomatoes, red onion and avocado to a large bowl. Pour over the vegan ranch and toss to coat everything. And now, my friends, you are ready to eat. I like to eat this pasta at room temperature, but you can also chill it in the fridge!
Need more recipe inspo? Check these out:
Vegan Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
FOR THE TOFU BACON
- 1 15.5 oz pack Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu Twin Pack drained and pressed
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- oil for frying
FOR THE CROUTONS
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup ciabatta cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
FOR THE VEGAN RANCH
- ½ cup vegan mayo
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1 tablespoon dried chives
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- salt if needed
- water or non-dairy milk, to thin
FOR THE PASTA SALAD
- 8 oz fusilli pasta dry
- 1 head romaine chopped
- ½ red onion diced
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 avocado diced
- Add all of the marinade ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Crumble the pressed tofu into a bowl and pour the marinade over it. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prep the croutons, dressing and pasta. Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the bread & garlic salt and toss to coat. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the bread is toasted on all sides. Set aside.
- Add all of the dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until combined, adding water as needed to thin. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Heat some oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu pieces to the pan. Allow the tofu to sit untouched for 3-5 minutes. Toss and continue to cook until the marinade is absorbed and the tofu is crispy.* Set aside and allow to cool.
- To assemble, add the pasta, croutons, tofu bacon and the rest of the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
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