Easy, creamy vegan macaroni salad

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This easy, oh-so-creamy vegan macaroni salad is the perfect combination of crunchy veggies, including carrots, celery, and sweet red peppers, with al dente macaroni pasta, all tossed in a flavorful vegan mayo dressing that will have you wanting more to come back .

Large bowl of vegan macaroni salad with pasta, peas, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, tossed in dressing.

This vegan macaroni salad recipe is easy to make and includes a tangy mayo dressing made with pickle juice, red wine vinegar, some Dijon mustard, and just a touch of maple syrup for balance. It’s so good that vegans and non-vegans alike will enjoy it. It’s also perfect for packing in a lunch box or taking to a potluck or picnic. So if you’re looking for an easy, delicious vegan macaroni salad recipe that will be a hit with everyone, look no further! This Creamy Vegan Macaroni Salad is it. Enjoy!

Why You’ll Love This Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad

  • Ideal for school lunch boxes. Macaroni Salad is great cold and gives kids carbs for energy and healthy veggies packed with vitamins while they’re at school.
  • Uses leftover veggies you have on hand. I often make this recipe with whatever veggies I have on hand. It’s a great way to use up leftover veggies before they go bad.
  • Great way to use up leftover pickle juice. Don’t throw away the pickle juice when you run out of pickles. Work it into the dressing for this macaroni salad and you’ll love the salty-sweet flavor it imparts.
  • The perfect potluck or picnic dish. This creamy vegan macaroni salad is always a hit at potlucks and picnics. It is easy to transport and can be served cold or at room temperature.
  • It’s budget friendly. Macaroni pasta is relatively inexpensive, and this recipe uses pantry staples for the dressing.

Ingredients for Creamy Vegan Macaroni Salad

  • Elbow pasta: I like to use elbow pasta for this recipe, but you can use any type of small pasta shape.
  • Celery: I love the crunch that celery adds to this salad, but feel free to omit it if you’re not a fan.
  • carrots: I like to use grated carrots in this recipe, but you can also dice them finely.
  • Red pepper: I love the sweetness and color that red peppers add to this salad, but you can use any color of pepper you have on hand.
  • Frozen peas: No need to cook them. The frozen peas will thaw quickly when added to the salad.
  • Dressing: The dressing is vegan mayo, pickle juice, red wine vinegar, some Dijon mustard, and just a touch of maple syrup, salt, and pepper. It is so good!
Pre-prep recipe ingredients: Dijon mustard, maple syrup, uncooked elbow noodles, whole red peppers, pickle juice, red wine vinegar, spices, frozen peas, vegan mayonnaise, 2 whole carrots, and 2 stalks celery.

How to make this vegan macaroni salad recipe

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the vegan mayonnaise, pickle juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
  2. Mix until well blended.
  3. Add drained macaroni to dressing along with celery, carrots, peppers and peas.
  4. Swirl well to combine.
4 picture collage of mixing dressing and tossing with pasta and veggies in a bowl.

Tips for making vegan macaroni salad with vegan mayo

  1. Cook the macaroni just al dente. Overcooked pasta will become mushy when tossed with the dressing. Rinse the cooked noodles with cold water. This step will help stop the cooking process and also prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  2. Cut the vegetables into even pieces. This will help the salad look nice and also ensure that each bite has a little bit of everything.
  3. Finally add the frozen peas. Frozen peas only take a few minutes to thaw, so add them right before you’re ready to serve the salad.
  4. Don’t overmix the salad. Once all the ingredients are added, stir everything together gently until evenly blended.
  5. Serve at room temperature or chilled. This salad is best served cold or at room temperature. If you’re serving it right away, you can serve it at room temperature. Otherwise, chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving.

popular substitutions and additions

  • Add onions. Red onions, spring onions or shallots go great with this salad.
  • Throw in some beans for extra protein. Chickpeas, white beans or black beans are great in this salad. You can even add some tofu if you like.
  • Make it spicier. Diced jalapeƱo pepper would be a great addition to the veggies, or you can toss a little cayenne or crushed red pepper into the dressing.
  • Add fresh herbs. Chopped parsley, dill or basil go great with this salad.
  • Use whatever small pasta you have on hand. I like elbow pasta, but clams, rotini, or even orzo would work well in this salad.
Close-up of recipe with spoon dipped in pasta with carrots, peas, celery and bell pepper.

what to serve with macaroni salad

How to store macaroni salad

If you have a glass container with a lid, this is the best way to store this salad. Otherwise, any airtight container will work. You should store any leftover macaroni salad in the fridge.

How long does macaroni salad keep in the fridge?

This salad will keep in the fridge for up to four days. After that, the noodles will start to break down and become mushy.

Can I freeze macaroni salad with mayo?

I don’t recommend freezing this salad as vegan mayonnaise doesn’t freeze well and the fresh veggies get mushy. The texture disappears when thawed.

frequently asked Questions

How do I keep my macaroni salad from getting watery?

The best way to avoid a watery macaroni salad is to make sure the pasta is cooked al dente and rinse with cold water and drain after cooking. You can also lightly salt your vegetables after slicing. You should let them sit on a plate on a paper towel for 15 to 30 minutes to give the excess moisture time to drain.

My macaroni salad is too dry. What can I do?

If your salad is too dry, all you have to do is add a little more dressing. If you’ve used all of your dressing and are having this problem, cut the original recipe in half and start from there. Remember, you can always add more – you can’t take anything away.

How can I make my macaroni salad creamier?

The best way to make your salad creamier is to add an avocado. You can use more mayo, but if you’re trying to keep the mayo flavor light, an avocado will do. Blend in blender or food processor for a creamy consistency before adding to your macaroni salad.

Vegan macaroni salad in two bowls

Well, there you have it – a vegan macaroni salad that’s creamy, flavorful, and easy to make! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. If you try it, let me know how it turned out in the comments below.

More Pasta Salad Recipes:

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This Vegan Macaroni Salad recipe was originally posted on July 9th, 2018. The recipe has not been changed. but the post now has new step-by-step photos for making the macaroni salad.

preparation time 10 minutes

cooking time 10 minutes

total time 20 minutes

  • Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add elbow macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Put aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together vegan mayonnaise, pickle juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.

  • Add drained macaroni to dressing along with celery, carrots, peppers and peas. Swirl well to combine. Serve immediately at room temperature or chill in the fridge before serving.

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Change the vegetables as you like. It works very well with corn, peas, bell peppers and allspice peppers.
  • If you can’t find vegenaise, you can use any other mayonnaise or mayonnaise substitute that can be found at most grocery stores on salad dressing island.

Portion: 1G, Calories: 268kcal, Carbohydrates: 39G, Protein: 7G, Fat: 9G, Saturated Fatty Acids: 1G, Polyunsaturated fat: 1G, Monounsaturated fatty acids: 1G, Sodium: 396mg, Potassium: 299mg, Fiber: 4G, Sugar: 6G, Vitamin A: 4265ie, Vitamin C: 37mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg

The nutritional information given is an estimate. It depends on the cooking method and the specific ingredients used.

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