This Vegan Macaroni Salad recipe is pretty classic, but the calories aren’t so classic! A typical macaroni salad that you’d find at a summer bbq has 1 cup of mayonnaise for 8 oz of pasta, which is like 1500 calories! I don’t want to discriminate against mayonnaise, but I’m just saying…that’s a lotta calories!
Not in this version though!
What I do instead in my vegan macaroni salad is put a hint of vegenaise (by the way, hint in this case is 1 tablespoon). Vegenaise is just like mayo but made with vegan ingredients, which means less fat and less calories in this case. Then I add pickle juice, olive oil and Dijon mustard – that’s a burst of flavor right there that won’t have you missing mayo. That makes it a perfect light and fresh salad for summer picnics that won’t leave you feeling too heavy for extra curricular activities!
This is such a great use of leftover pickle juice. I mean why let that good stuff go to waste just because the pickles in the jar are gone? If you’re in a pickle for what to do with your leftover pickle juice, this vegan macaroni salad will be the gracious host to that pickle juice. By the way, you can also use it to brine chicken like I did with these Pickle-Brined Baked Chicken. So good! So yeah, don’t throw away that juice you guys. Work it into this recipe and you’ll love the salty kick it gives this vegetarian macaroni salad.
Once I whisk it all together, I pour it all over cooked macaroni pasta.
And throw in some colorful crispy vegetables including carrots, celery, pickles and green onions. You can also add corn, peas and peppers if you’d like!
Why I love this Vegan Macaroni Salad
- Great way to use up pickle juice (duh)
- It works with any leftover vegetables you have on hand.
- Packs well for lunchboxes
- Great for picnic, BBQs and all summer shindigs
- Stays good in the fridge for up to 5 days
- Feels light and fresh
- Less than 200 calories per serving!
My favorite occasion for this macaroni salad is for lunchboxes. Usually when I make it in the beginning of the week, I can throw it in my kids’ lunchboxes for 2-3 days. It tastes great cold, gives them carbs for energy and some healthy veggies loaded with vitamins while they’re at school.
I hope you love this feelgood vegan macaroni salad. If you make it, please leave me a comment below telling me how you like it, or use hashtag #feelgoodfoodie on Instagram so I can see (and regram!) your recreations.
Vegan Macaroni Salad
- 8 oz macaroni pasta or other pasta of choice
- 1/4 cup pickle juice
- 2 tablespoon vegenaise vegan mayo
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- 2 long carrots finely chopped
- 4-5 pickle slices finely chopped (optional)
- 1 long green onion finely chopped (optional)
- Cook macaroni pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the pickle juice, Vegenaise, olive oil and Dijon mustard and salt/pepper to taste and whisk to combine well.
- Add the cooked pasta to the dressing, then add the celery, carrots and onions and toss to combine.
- Chill for a couple hours before serving to allow the flavors to set and the dressing to thicken.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Switch up the vegetables according to what you like. It works really well with corn, peas, bell peppers and pimento peppers.
- If you can’t find vegenaise, you can use any other mayonnaise or mayonnaise substitute, which can be found in the salad dressing isle at most grocery stores.