As the only vegan in my family and among most of my friends, I am often asked to “BYO Vegan Food” to an event. As such was the case for my best friend’s baby announcement luncheon. This was an extremely important event, especially due to her infertility journey leading up to it. I wanted to make sure whatever I brought would not only be delicious, but special and made with lots of love!
My friend was told by her doctor that she would not be able to conceive naturally and therefore, had been through two rounds of freezing her eggs. Just prior to a third round, she and her partner became pregnant the old-fashioned way. They were shocked and overjoyed but sadly, she suffered a devastating miscarriage at 7 weeks.
A couple months after her loss, she found out she was pregnant a second time with her rainbow baby (a healthy baby born after losing a baby due to miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death). The term comes from the idea of a rainbow appearing in the sky after a storm, or after a dark and turbulent time.
Which brings me back to this incredibly special day. Most of the invited guests did not know she was pregnant. Instead, she told them she was having a surprise anniversary party for her parents. When everyone arrived, they were greeted by a sign that read, “Plot Twist… the surprise is on YOU!” Friends and family were elated, and the backyard bash went off without a hitch.
Before I get to the recipe, there were several factors that led to its creation. The event was outdoors, so food could not be reheated. Thankfully, this dish tastes best at room temperature. Second, I did not know what other foods were on the menu, so it had to go well with a variety of dishes. Third, I wanted to prepare it in advance in case I needed to tweak anything. Bonus points – it becomes more flavorful after a day or two! Lastly, I wanted to add a personal touch and tie in the significance of the event.
With the above in mind, “Rainbow Pasta Salad” was born. For this precious rainbow baby, I used so many colorful veggies. You can literally taste the rainbow! It’s not creamy or tangy… it’s both! I was flip flopping between using oil and vinegar or a vegan mayonnaise base. I finally made my decision to use veganaise and go the creamy pasta salad route but on a whim, I added a splash of marinade from the artichoke hearts jar. This was a risky move, but it paid off. It was the extra punch it needed, and dare I say, the secret ingredient?!
A nice surprise, only second to the pregnancy announcement, was that it was devoured by all. I was asked for the recipe several times over, even by the pickiest of eaters. When I saw it was the only dish that didn’t have leftovers, I took a photo of the empty bowl and captioned it, “When veganism is winning!” I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did on that wonderful day.
Author: Jamie Lynne @jamielynne24
Recipe Type: Salad
1 pound bowtie (farfalle) pasta
1 medium orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
½ large red onion, finely chopped
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
14.5 oz marinated artichoke hearts, quartered (reserve marinade)
1/2 cup marinade from artichoke hearts
6.75 oz sliced black olives
1 ½ cups vegan mayonnaise
½ tsp Italian seasoning or dried oregano, basil and thyme
Salt & ground black pepper to taste (I use pink Himalayan sea salt generously)
½ tsp paprika
For garnish: extra halved tomatoes, fresh chopped basil
1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions for al dente.
Drain and set aside to cool.
2. In extra large bowl mix together peppers, onion, tomatoes, olives,
artichoke hearts, vegan mayonnaise and seasonings.
3. Add cooled pasta to mixed vegetables, separate any pasta that is stuck
together, add marinade, and mix well. Add more seasonings as needed.
4. Pour into serving bowl and top with fresh chopped basil, and halved
5. Refrigerate at least four hours before serving.