vegan cheeseburger pasta salad

I don’t know about you, but I’m just itching to get outta the house and leap into BBQ season! So I think this vegan cheeseburger pasta salad should be part of your week’s meal plan, no matter what happens with the weather.

vegan cheeseburger pasta salad_hot for food

I’m so over boring store-bought side dishes, so I’m bringing you a couple of finger lickin’ ways to wow your pals all summer long. Last week I shared my antipasti bread salad recipe to kick off the BBQ sides series on the YouTube channel and this is idea #2.

Obviously cheeseburgers are a staple for summer grilling, so I thought why the hell not turn ’em into a ridiculously tasty vegan cheeseburger pasta salad?! Two classic BBQ staples in one dish = mind-blowing. Especially the minds of your omni friends!

I went right down to the details with this recipe. That means it’s got classic ingredients like thousand island dressing, dill pickles, and (vegan) cheddar cheese. This vegan cheeseburger pasta salad even includes veggie ground round to give that meaty taste and texture, while still being 100% vegan! Serve this dish up at a BBQ this summer and your friends will be asking you to PASTA recipe over to them! Ha ha ha, maybe omit the bad joke. But all jokes aside, everyone will fall in love with this recipe. You won’t even think twice about buying store bought pasta salad anymore!  Anyhoo, let’s jump into how to make this badass BBQ side dish!

vegan cheeseburger pasta salad original recipe hot for food

vegan cheeseburger pasta salad_hot for food
4.48 from 17 votes
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vegan cheeseburger pasta salad

This will be the star of every BBQ you go to this summer! It's everything you love about a classic cheeseburger put into a creamy vegan pasta salad.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword pasta, pasta salad, thousand island, vegan cheeseburger
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cool 30 minutes
Servings 7 to 8 cups
Author Lauren Toyota


cheeseburger pasta salad

  • 3 C / 280g small pasta shells
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 C veggie ground round, such as frozen Gardein beefless ground round
  • 1 1/4 C white onion, finely diced, divided (¼ C diced, as raw garnish)
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 C cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 C cubed vegan cheddar cheese, from a block or slices stuck together
  • 1 1/4 C garlic dill pickles, finely diced, divided (1/4 C diced as garnish)
  • 1/4 C + 2 tbsp chives, finely diced, divided (2 tbsp as garnish)
  • 3 C iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (as garnish)
  • fresh ground black pepper (as garnish)

thousand island dressing

  • 1 C vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C green relish
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek (chile paste), or hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp pickle brine
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


  1. In a cast iron pan over medium-high heat, add vegetable oil, veggie ground round, 1 cup of diced white onion, garlic powder, sea salt and ground black pepper. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring every so often until the ground round is golden and the onion is soft. Set aside.

  2. Add dried pasta shells to a pot of salted boiling water and boil for 7 to 8 minutes until cooked al dente. Drain but do not rinse.
  3. To make the dressing, combine vegan mayonnaise, green relish, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, sambal oelek, pickle brine, onion powder, chives, sea salt and ground pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl add cherry tomatoes, vegan cheddar cheese, 1 cup diced garlic dill pickles, 1/4 cup chives, the cooked vegan ground round mixture and the cooked pasta. Pour 1 cup of dressing over top and toss to combine. Set aside to cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before topping with lettuce.

  5. Just before serving, top the cooled pasta with the shredded lettuce and the remaining 1/4 cup of white onion, the remaining ¼ cup of pickles and the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped chives. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and freshly ground black pepper. Toss and serve with extra thousand island dressing on the side.

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12 thoughts on “vegan cheeseburger pasta salad”

    1. I made this more of a “hash”… with some fried potatoes and had lettuce tomatoes and pickle on top. It was amazing!

  1. Lauren. A treasure. We are so fortunate she lives on this planet, because her food so awesome and delicious!!! Thank you Lauren.

    1. This was good! I made it for a 4th of July party and it was (mostly) a hit! The only other vegan there didn’t like it, but everyone else did.

  2. Nicole Lamoureux

    Love it! So addicting! I come back to this post to get the special sauce recipe for burgers all the time! Recently I tried substituting half the mayo with soft tofu to make it lower in fat. It still turned out awesome! As always great recipe!

    1. pickled cucumber and peppers, mustard seed, sugar, and other spices. Just pick up a jar in the condiments section of your grocery store!

  3. This is so, so, so, so, good. I don’t usually include the lettuce but regardless, this is one of my favorite recipes of all time.

  4. Brandy Chandler

    Made this recent for a birthday party.
    Everyone loved it!!!! Told them it was vegan, you have 3 new people, major meat eaters, enjoying your recipes now! Everyone else is still in 😲

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