Creamy pasta salad with crunchy carrots and chickpeas

I make pasta salads really often, especially in Summer. Like when it's hot outside, but I still want to eat something more filling. There are tons of variations to make a great pasta salad. This salad is basically another version of this recipe. It comes together really quickly. When the pasta and sunflower seeds are boiling, you can already chop up the raw ingredients and in 20 minutes you will have a bowl full of creamy and crunchy deliciousness. 

Usually carrot, chickpea and celery rib combo is used when making mock tuna sandwiches. This combination works really well in this salad too. Chickpeas are just wonderful and so filling. Carrots and celery give a nice juicy crunch and homemade sunflower sour cream sauce makes everything even more better. If you can't or don't want to use sunflower sauce, you can replace it with vegan mayo. And if you are not a fan of celery, you can leave it out or replace it with apples or pickles or whatever you fancy. It's a pretty versatile recipe, so don't hesitate to experiment. 

I guess I don't even have to mention that it's also perfect to serve at Summer barbecues. It would go great with some smoky veggie skewers. My boyfriend loved this salad so much, that he basically ate it all. He has to taste and eat SO much of my food creations, so when he likes something that much, I know I have to make a recipe. So here you go. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!

PS! Here is also a great pasta salad recipe with an orange and mustard vinaigrette.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6-8 people


For the pasta and veggies:
  • 3 cups / 14 oz / 400 g uncooked pasta (smaller kind)
  • 3 bigger carrots
  • 1 smaller onion
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 14 oz / 400 g canned chickpeas

For the sunflower sour cream sauce:
  • 1 cup / 150 g peeled sunflower seeds
  • 1 ½ cup / 360 ml cold water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano


Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente. In the meantime, also boil the sunflower seeds for 15 minutes. While the pasta and sunflower seeds are boiling, peel the carrots. Using a vegetable peeler, cut thumb length ribbons out of the carrots and then tightly squeeze the ribbons. They will be a bit more tender and juicy that way. Thinly chop onions and celery ribs. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Take a bigger salad bowl and mix carrot ribbons with onions, celery and chickpeas. 

Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water, until it has completely cooled down. Pour the pasta into the salad bowl. Drain and rinse sunflower seeds with cold water. Add them to a blender along with cold water, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, curry powder and oregano. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the sauce over the salad and mix carefully. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve right away.

Tip: if you want to serve the salad later, you can mix the salad ingredients together and keep it in the fridge. And just right before serving, mix the salad with sunflower sour cream sauce.

Tip: if you are not a fan of celery, replace it with apples, pickles or whatever you fancy.

Tip: when you can't or don't want to use sunflower sour cream, just use vegan mayo, where you can add the herbs and spices mentioned in the sunflower sauce ingredients.