Enjoy this vegan macaroni salad just like you remember it! Made with elbow macaroni and filled with carrots, celery, bell pepper, and peas. Tossed together in a garlicky cream sauce for a classic pasta salad. Made in 20 minutes.
If you haven’t already noticed, I’ve been dishing out the summer recipes recently. First, there were these BBQ Jackfruit Sliders. Then I shared my recipe for my Hawaiian Teriyaki Tofu Skewers followed immediately by this Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream. I mean, we could just about have a proper summer potluck here.
But what’s a summer potluck without a good old fashion macaroni salad? Creamy, zesty, and crunchy, this is the ultimate summer comfort food.
Typically macaroni salad is far from vegan. It is usually filled with boiled eggs, hard cheese, and sometimes even chicken. Then, of course, it’s slathered in a mayonnaise-based dressing. This vegan macaroni salad takes a healthier spin on a family recipe, omitting the eggs, dairy, and meat and adding just a touch of vegan mayonnaise for that classic taste.
Let’s take a closer look.
How to make vegan macaroni salad
The ingredients for this vegan macaroni salad are pretty straight-forward; it’s likely you already have them on hand!
Better yet, this salad is wildly versatile. You can swap out the vegetables if needed and customize the salad dressing to your liking. When swapping out vegetables, aim for subtle-flavored crunchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or radishes.
Let’s break this down in three easy steps.
Step one – cook the pasta
To begin, boil the elbow pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Stir in the elbow pasta and cook for 10-12 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Remove it from heat and strain the water through a colander. Rinse it with cold water until the pasta has cooled down.
If you plan on serving your vegan pasta salad immediately, this is an important step so that you are not serving a warm salad.
Step two – chop the vegetables
While the pasta is cooking, chop the vegetables and parsley. Whisk together the ingredients for the salad dressing and set aside.
Step three – assemble the salad
Once your elbow pasta is cooled, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables and salad dressing. Toss it all together until the salad dressing completely coats the pasta. Cover the salad and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Tips for making the BEST vegan macaroni salad
- Chop your vegetables small. You want to make sure they are the same size or smaller than the elbow pasta so that they do not overwhelm the salad which raw vegetables easily can do.
- Feel free to make adjustments to this salad. You can replace any of the vegetables. Crunchy, subtle-flavored vegetables work best. Consider adding broccoli, radishes, or scallions
- If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or white wine vinegar will also work.
- If you can’t find vegan mayonnaise, you can make your own following this recipe.
- This salad should be served chilled. It’s best when it has at least 4 hours to chill before serving. Once you are ready to serve, taste and adjust seasonings.
- Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Can this salad be gluten-free?
Why, yes, it can! Gluten-free pasta is now pretty easy to find. If you can’t find gluten-free elbow pasta at your local grocery store, you can always pick some up online. This is my favorite gluten-free pasta.
Can this salad be made in advance?
Again, yes! This salad is actually better the day after you make it. It allows the flavors to sink into the pasta and lets the salad thoroughly chill. This pasta is best 4-48 hours after it’s made. After that, it will continue to last for another 2-3 days. Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
More Vegan Summer BBQ Recipes
Now that we’ve got salad covered, let’s make sure the rest of our BBQ is figured out. Here are a few of my favorite summer BBQ recipes:
- BBQ “Chicken” Sandwich with Caramelized Onions
- Hawaiian Tofu Skewers
- Grilled Margarita Pizza
- Vegan Potato Salad
- Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream
It’s going to be a DELICIOUS summer!
Enjoy this classic vegan macaroni salad just like you remember it! Made with elbow macaroni, filled with carrots, celery, bell pepper, and peas, then all tossed together in a garlicky cream sauce, it just like the original! Made in 20 minutes.
Keyword: Vegan Macaroni Salad
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 150 kcal
- 2 cups elbow macaroni pasta, uncooked
- 1 cup carrots, diced (about 2 small or one large carrot)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/3 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, diced
- 3 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
- salt and pepper, to taste
Heat 2 quarts of water in a large pot over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add pasta and stir so that it doesn't stick together. Return to a boil and boil for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente. Once pasta is done, drain it through a colander and rinse it with cool water until the pasta has cooled down.
While the pasta cooks, chop and mince all your vegetables. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine vegan mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, garlic, and cayenne. Mix until well blended.
Once the pasta has cooled, transfer it to a large bowl. Add vegetables and herbs and toss together with dressing until it is thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
This salad should be served chilled. It's best when it has at least 4 hours to chill before serving. Once you are ready to serve, taste and adjust seasonings.
Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.