Vegan Macaroni Salad

4.95 from 18 votes

Vegan Macaroni Salad with a creamy, tangy vegan mayo dressing tossed with crunchy veggies. Add in some beans for extra protein and you're good to go!

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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 noodles all tossed in a tangy vegan mayo dressing that will have you coming back for more.

Large bowl of Vegan Macaroni Salad with pasta, peas, carrots, celery, red pepper, tossed in dressing.

This vegan macaroni salad recipe is simple to make, and it features a tangy mayo dressing made with pickle juice, red wine vinegar, a little dijon mustard, and just a touch of maple syrup for balance. It’s so good that it will please vegans and non-vegans alike. 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, tasty 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

  • Great for school lunchboxes. The macaroni salad tastes great cold, and gives the kiddos carbs for energy and some healthy veggies loaded with vitamins while they’re at school.
  • Uses up leftover vegetables 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 vegetables before they go bad.
  • Great way to use up leftover pickle juice. Don’t throw away that 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 lends.
  • The perfect potluck or picnic dish. This creamy vegan macaroni salad is always a hit at potlucks and picnics. It’s easy to transport and can be served cold or at room temperature.
  • It’s budget-friendly. Macaroni noodles are relatively inexpensive, and this recipe uses pantry staples for the dressing.

Ingredients to make 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 like 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 shredded carrots in this recipe, but you could also dice them into small pieces.
  • Red bell pepper: I like the sweetness and color that red bell pepper adds to this salad, but feel free to use any color bell 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 made up of vegan mayo, pickle juice, red wine vinegar, a little dijon mustard, and just a touch of maple syrup, salt, and pepper. It’s so good!
Ingredients for recipe before being prepped: dijon mustard, maple syrup, uncooked elbow pasta, whole red pepper, pickle juice, red wine vinegar, seasonings, frozen peas, vegan mayo, 2 whole carrots, and two celery stalks.

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 everything is well combined.
  3. Add drained macaroni to the dressing, along with celery, carrots, red pepper, and peas.
  4. Toss well to combine.
4 image collage on how to mix dressing and toss with pasta and veggies in one bowl.

Tips for making vegan macaroni salad with vegan mayo

  1. Only cook the macaroni to al dente. Overcooked pasta will become mushy when tossed with the dressing. Rinse the cooked noodles with cold water. This step helps to stop the cooking process and also prevents the noodles from sticking together.
  2. Cut the veggies into uniform pieces. This helps the salad to look nice and also ensures that each bite has a little bit of everything.
  3. Add the frozen peas last. Frozen peas only need 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 of the ingredients are added, gently stir everything together until it’s evenly mixed.
  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 an hour or so before serving.

popular substitutions & additions

  • Add onions. Red onions, green onions, or shallots would all be great in this salad.
  • Throw in some beans for added protein. Chickpeas, white beans, or black beans would all be great in this salad. You could even add some tofu if you’d like.
  • Make it spicier. Diced jalapeño pepper would be a great addition to the veggies or you can throw in a little cayenne or crushed red pepper into the dressing from some kick.
  • Add fresh herbs. Chopped parsley, dill, or basil would all be great in this salad.
  • Use any small pasta you have on hand. I like elbow pasta, but shells, rotini, or even orzo would work well in this salad.
Close up of recipe with spoon dipped into pasta with carrots, peas, celery, and red peppers.

what to serve with macaroni salad

how to store macaroni salad

If you have a glass container with a lid, that’s the best way to store this salad. Otherwise, any airtight container will work. You’ll want to store any leftover macaroni salad in the fridge.

how long will macaroni salad last in the fridge?

This salad will last 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 because vegan mayonnaise doesn’t freeze well, and the fresh veggies will become mushy. The texture will be off 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 that the noodles are cooked to al dente and rinsed with cold water after cooking, and allowed to drain. You can also lightly salt your veggies after cutting. You’ll want to let them sit on a plate on top of a paper towel for 15-30 minutes, so the excess moisture has time to weep.

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

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

How can I make my macaroni salad creamier?

The best way to make your salad creamier is by adding in an avocado. You can use more mayo, but if you’re trying to keep the mayo flavor light, an avocado will do the trick. Puree it in the blender or food processor for a creamy constancy before adding it 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 give it a try, be sure to let me know how it turns out in the comments below.

More pasta salad recipes:

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This Vegan Macaroni Salad recipe was originally published on July 9, 2018. The recipe has not been modified, but the post now includes new step-by-step photos for how to make the macaroni salad.

Vegan Macaroni Salad

Vegan Macaroni Salad with a creamy, tangy vegan mayo dressing tossed with crunchy veggies. Add in some beans for extra protein and you're good to go!
5 from 18 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Salad
Calories 268
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces elbow pasta
  • 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper finely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed

Dressing

Instructions

  • 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. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the vegan mayonnaise, pickle juice, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
  • Add drained macaroni to the dressing, along with celery, carrots, red pepper and peas. Toss well to combine. Serve immediately at room temperature or allow to cool in the fridge before serving.

Notes

 
  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 268kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 396mg, Potassium: 299mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 4265IU, Vitamin C: 37mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Large bowl of Vegan Macaroni Salad with pasta, peas, carrots, celery, red pepper, tossed in dressing.

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Comments

  1. My family loved this! The dressing made the salad so delicious! I don’t like a macaroni salad that has too much mayo and this was perfect! Thank you!

  2. Perfect salad for BBQ and delicious too! I made it today and had all the ingredients on hand, didn’t even have to go to the store.

  3. It is a good.recipe. Better to parboil the carrots.By the way it is difficult to type in a comment because of pop ups that appear. Sorry to say I will not do any more comments

    1. Thank you! I will take that feedback into consideration to make the experience more user friendly!