This easy vegan macaroni salad has a classic delicious taste and lots of texture from crunchy vegetables, creamy dressing, and tender noodles. It’s wonderful as-is or customize it to make the best vegan macaroni salad with whatever odds and ends you happen to have on hand.
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Video Tutorial for Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe
Watch the video tutorial above to see how easy this mac salad recipe really is! If it looks familiar, that’s because this recipe first appeared in “What I Ate #102” where I also made Japanese Souffle Pancakes and Nashville Hot Tofu.
Ingredients for Vegan Macaroni Salad
A classic macaroni salad consists of cooked macaroni noodles, a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing, and some crunchy vegetables. So it’s fairly easy to veganize. Most dry pasta noodles are accidentally vegan. Just check the ingredients list to see that there’s no egg-product. To make your macaroni salad safe for gluten-free diets, choose gluten-free pasta noodles like rice-based noodles.
The basic ingredients
Vegan mayonnaise is pretty easy to find in big grocery stores. But if you can’t find it in your area, you can make your own creamy vegan mayo. Try my aquafaba mayo recipe for a vegan mayonnaise that’s very similar to classic mayo in taste and texture. Then, I like to add a bit of mustard for kick, lemon juice and vinegar for tang, and maple syrup for sweetness.
For soy-free diets, make sure to choose a vegan mayo marked soy-free or double-check the ingredients. Or make my soy-free aquafaba mayo recipe.
As for vegetables, I love the classic combination of celery, red peppers, and onion. Plus, I love to add a bit of whatever other vegetables need to get used up from my fridge. In this recipe, I added chopped tomato which added lovely savory flavour and spinach for those extra greens.
Kick it up a notch!
Mix it all up and taste it. This is when you really make this macaroni salad all your own! Open your cupboards and see what you want to add/use up. I always use some garlic and onion powder, and cayenne. In the video, I also use some freeze-dried Italian herbs that I hardly ever use. If you, like me, have some dried herbs that have been in the cupboard forever, it can be hard to know how strong or weak they will be in your dish. To work with them, add a bit at first and rest a couple minutes before you taste. Repeat until you get the taste you’re after. If the flavour is a bit flat, add some more lemon juice or more vinegar to enhance it. A bit of white or black pepper can also liven things up. Finally, don’t forget to add salt which will elevate all the flavours in your salad.
Together, this macaroni salad made the most delicious side dish for my Vegan Nashville Hot Tofu! What will you have your macaroni salad with? Let me know in the comments!
- 2 cups cooked cold macaroni noodles (equivalent to 1 cup dry)
- 1 tablespoon chopped red onion
- 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1/2 pepper)
- 1/3 cup chopped celery (about 2 sticks)
- 1/3 cup chopped ripe tomato (about 1/2 tomato)
- 1 cup packed chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients except salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix very well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve the next day.
Add time to cook your pasta noodles if you don't already have leftovers. Make sure to cook your pasta noodles softer than you'd normally enjoy when hot. The noodles become firmer when they've cooled. Quickly chill freshly cooked macaroni by rinsing in cold water in a colander or mesh sieve. Drain very well before using in your vegan macaroni salad.
What I Ate #102: Weekend Edition Video
This recipe first appeared in “Vegan Japanese Souffle Pancakes / What I Ate #102, Weekend Edition.