Elevate your summer gatherings and family get-togethers with this delightful Poppy Seed Pasta Salad with Corn and Avocado (Vegan). This easy-to-make pasta salad is a perfect side dish for summer cookouts, combining the nutty crunch of poppy seeds with the creamy textures of avocado and sweet corn. This gluten-free and vegan side dish or main dish is a refreshing and delicious addition to any summer cookout.
This recipe was inspired by my Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing, a delicious, creamy dressing that can do more than just elevate salads! It's easily whipped together in a bowl or jar and then poured over chopped veggies and al dente noodles.
A sprinkle of vegan feta cheese and jalapeños (if you likely it spicy), then it's ready to be served for an easy summer dinner or your next summer picnic.
In this post, I share the following:
- How to cook corn perfectly with your stovetop.
Use this section to jump to areas of interest within the post.
This recipe is a delicious and refreshing twist to traditional pasta salads. Whether you use simple ingredients from your local farmer's market or fresh vegetables from your garden, this pasta salad makes the perfect meal for a summer evening.
- Sweet corn - either on the cob or canned
- Gluten-free spiral pasta noodles - my go-to gluten-free noodles are Jovial brand
- White onion & ripe avocado - diced
- Jalapeños - sliced super thin
- Fresh basil - best fresh but dried can also be used
- Vegan feta cheese - my go-to brand is Vio Life
- Homemade Vegan Poppy Seed Dressing - takes 5 minutes to whip together! You can make it ahead of time or during the prep.
See the recipe card for full quantities and instructions.
- Poppy seeds
- Vegan mayo or vegan plain yogurt
- Dijon mustard
- Lemon juice & lemon zest
- Rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Onion powder & sea salt
This delicious salad is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed as a side dish or a light main course. Add in extra proteins like cannellini beans or roasted diced tofu for a heavier meal. Or keep it light as a side dish with in-season vegetables. Diced zucchini, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, or fresh peppers sound like great additions!
You can also substitute corn on the cob with 2 cups of canned corn.
Charring the corn in a large skillet elevates this easy pasta salad not only with flavor but the texture too. Once that's done, cook the noodles, dice and slice the veggies, and prep the homemade poppy seed dressing. Soon you'll be sitting down with this delicious pasta salad!
While the noodles boil per package directions, warm a skillet over medium-high heat and rub olive oil over three of the four corn cobs. Set aside the fourth to add to the pasta salad later.
Place the cobs in the hot skillet and cook, turning them every few minutes until all sides are browned. Once cooked, remove them from the skillet and cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife, including the fourth cob, which adds a crunchier texture.
Prep the vegetables in a large bowl and make the creamy poppy seed dressing.
Add the noodles to the mixing bowl and gently fold them in. Pour the dressing on top and mix again until fully combined. Top with fresh basil and vegan feta cheese.
For this great recipe, you'll need a large skillet that holds 3 cobs of corn and a sharp knife for prepping the corn and vegetables.
Store leftovers of this pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Salt the pasta water just before it starts to boil. Add in 2 tablespoons of salt - yes, it sounds like a lot, but it will mostly be poured down the drain. Well-salted noodles elevate the flavor of this dish since the dressing falls on the sweeter side.
Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time?
You can, but I'd make it the same day you plan to eat it for the best results. If you want it served cold, make it 1-2 hours beforehand; otherwise, it will be warm from the cooked noodles.
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Poppy Seed Pasta Salad with Corn and Avocado (Vegan)
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:
- 1 package gluten-free rotini pasta noodles
- 4 ears sweet corn on the cob
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup white onion, diced
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 jalapeño, sliced thinly
- ½ cup vegan feta cheese, finely grated
- Start by boiling water for the noodles. Then cook per the package's directions, typically 10-12 minutes. If not already prepared, prep the salad dressing during the time that the water is boiling.
- Warm a large skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Lightly oil 3 of the 4 corn cobs and coat the skillet with olive oil. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the corn rotating every 3 minutes or until you see the kernels browning. This should take about 10-12 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Prep the avocado, white onion, and jalapeño by dicing and thinly slicing, then add them to a large mixing bowl.
- Cut the corn off the four cobs. Three have been browned, and one is left fresh for texture and flavor. Add the corn kernels to the mixing bowl.
- Next, top the vegetables with the al dente cooked noodles and fold them in. Pour the Vegan Poppy Seed Dressing over top and mix everything together.
- Give the salad a taste test and add salt if needed. Serve topped with ripped fresh basil leaves and grated vegan feta cheese.