Vegan Macaroni Salad
Vegan Macaroni Salad- all you need is 10 ingredients to make this dairy-free version of classic macaroni salad! (gluten-free option)
With the return of BBQ season, my craving for macaroni salad is at an all-time high. The creamy texture, the tangy flavor, the elbow macaroni…it’s the quintessential picnic food.
I used to love buying containers of it from Publix to enjoy outside in the fresh air. Honestly I would still buy it if they had a dairy-free option because I’m not ashamed to cut corners if what I’m buying tastes good. But, as with many prepared foods in the southeast, it can be near impossible to find your favorites sans dairy. The good news is that making your own is ridiculously simple and so much more rewarding. Especially because you can make it gluten-free and dairy-free and I swear no one will be able to tell the difference!
Vegan Macaroni Salad Ingredients
- Whole Grain Macaroni– the benefit of making your own macaroni salad is that you can use a more nutritious pasta. Opt for whole wheat or whole grain gluten-free (this is my favorite brand).
- Dairy-free Mayonnaise– using store-bought vegan mayo helps keep this recipe quick and easy. I like Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise as it’s made from chickpeas but any kind will work.
- Distilled White Vinegar– vinegar is what gives the salad it’s scrumptious tangy flavor. I prefer white vinegar but you can sub red or white wine vinegar if that’s what you have on hand. You could also use apple cider vinegar, just keep in mind it may result in a sweeter macaroni salad.
- Dijon Mustard– just a hint of mustard adds depth and rounds out the flavor profile. I like to use Dijon here but regular yellow mustard is fine too.
- Red Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Carrot, and Celery– the vegetables you add-in are totally customizable but I prefer this combo for a good balance of texture and flavor.
How to Make Vegan Macaroni Salad
As I said before, the beauty of this salad is that it is super easy to make! It’s also great for prepping in advance as it holds up well in the fridge for several days.
- First step- cook your pasta! When it’s tender, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Second step- chop your veggies! Add the veggies and the cooked pasta to a large bowl.
- Third- prep the dressing! Whisk together the mayo, vinegar, and mustard with salt & pepper. Taste test to see if you like more tang (add more vinegar), more mayo, or a hint of sweet. The sweetness of the carrot and bell pepper is enough for me so I leave out sugar in the dressing but everyone’s palate is different!
- Last step– pour the dressing overtop the pasta and veggies then stir to combine.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve!
The whole thing comes together in less than 30 minutes! It’s perfect to prepare for a picnic, day at the beach/lake, or barbecue. All of which I hope you get to enjoy this summer!
More picnic friendly recipes:
- Snap Pea Radish Slaw
- Fresh Mushroom Salad with Cashew Parmesan
- Quinoa Almond Tabbouleh
- Spring Potato Salad
- Creamy Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad
- Garden Fresh Lentil Cucumber Salad
Vegan Macaroni Salad
- 8 ounces macaroni, whole grain or gluten-free
- 1½ cups dairy-free mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the macaroni as directed per the package. Once tender, strain excess fluid then rinse with cold water.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by combining the mayonnaise, vinegar, and mustard. Whisk together then set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked macaroni with chopped vegetables. Pour in the dressing, sprinkle with salt and pepper then stir to combine. Taste test to see if you prefer more salt, vinegar, etc. Refrigerate until ready to serve.