It’s getting hot out here! So, that means oven meals are being switched for cool and refreshing dishes. And one of our family favorites has to be pasta salad.
Pasta salads are hearty, filling, refreshing, and COLD. It’s the kind of summer grab-and-go meal that works well for the warmer weather.
Why You’ll Love This
- It’s super easy to make! All you need to do is chop your veggie, boil your pasta until al dente, and combine all of your ingredients. It’s that simple!
- We’re using FRESH ingredients! This recipe is loaded with traditional macaroni salad ingredients.
- This macaroni salad is easily customizable. If you prefer different kinds of vegetables - go for it. If you’re really into mayonnaise, feel free to add more.
The History of Macaroni Salad
You might be familiar with macaroni salad as a summertime side treat made with elbow macaroni, chopped veggies, and mayonnaise as the main components of the dish.
And you’re right. It’s a creamy, wholesome type of pasta salad that is popular in many places.
Macaroni salad has its roots in Europe, specifically in Italy (with pasta) and France (with mayonnaise). Although rooted in Europe, pasta salad is popular in the United States, and the Philippines.
Like many dishes, macaroni salad can be made in a variety of ways, using different ingredients. Because of this, it’s the perfect dish to experiment with and customize.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Elbow macaroni: This is the most common pasta type for this kind of pasta salad. However, you can go with any short pasta shapes you enjoy. This includes farfalle (bow tie), fusilli, ditalini, conchiglie (pasta shells), or rotini.
- Celery: Great for that crunchy texture and refreshing flavor. If you’re not into celery, green bell peppers are also a great option.
- Red Bell Pepper: For a bit of sweetness and color!
- Red Onion: We chose red onion for its flavor. However, green onions may also be used for a more mild onion flavor.
- Carrot: Chop ‘em small! Carrots are great for a subtle sweetness and crunch.
- Vegan Mayonnaise: Use any brand of vegan mayonnaise you enjoy. You can also use cashew cream in place of mayo.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar may also be used in place of apple cider vinegar.
- Sugar: To add a bit of sweetness to balance out the flavors.
- Dijon Mustard: Yellow mustard works fine, too.
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
What To Serve With Vegan Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is typically served during summer gatherings or get-togethers, but it can also be enjoyed as a summer lunch side.
My favorite way to serve macaroni salad is with protein. So, sometimes I’ll switch it up and throw air fryer tofu onto my plate.
More ideas to serve with macaroni salad:
- Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
- Cucumber Tomato Onion Salad
- Tofu Bean Chili
- Creamy Rigatoni
- Any Veggie/Plant-Based Burger
- Vegan Hot Dogs
- Potato Salad
- Corn on the Cob
- Fruit Salad
- Summer Soups
Where To Find Vegan Mayonnaise
Vegan mayo has become quite popular! You can typically find it next to non-vegan mayonnaise at big-box stores like Target and Walmart.
Just Mayo is one of our favorites!
How Long Is Vegan Macaroni Salad Good For
It can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, for about 3-4 days. If you’re planning to serve macaroni salad for a party, I recommend making the salad at least a day in advance.
This way, you allow the flavors to mingle and for the dish to cool. This dish does not freeze well.
Tips For The Best Macaroni Salad
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Cooked any longer and you'll have a mushy, soggy macaroni salad.
- Use salted water to cook the pasta for added flavor.
- Allow the macaroni salad to cool off and absorb all of the flavors for a few hours, or up to 24 hours before serving.
- Chop the vegetables small and in uniform sizes.
How To Store
This macaroni salad may be stored for leftovers! Store the salad in an airtight container or reusable silicone bag for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
More Summertime Recipes:
- Cannellini Bean Burger
- Puerto Rican Rice
- Puerto Rican Beans
- Strawberry Mint Popsicles
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Tried out this Vegan Macaroni Salad recipe?
Creamy Vegan Macaroni Salad
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni pasta
- 1 celery
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and minced
- 1 carrots minced or shredded
- Boil elbow macaroni noodles in salted water, until al dente (see pasta’s packaging for boiling time). Drain water from noodles. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
- Macaroni Salad Dressing: While macaroni is boiling, prepare the macaroni salad dressing. Combine vegan mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar, dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Add the celery, bell pepper, onion, and carrots to the macaroni. Toss to combine. Pour the dressing over the macaroni salad and combine well.
- Cover the bowl and allow the macaroni salad to chill for at least an hour.
- This recipe uses 8 ounces of macaroni pasta, which yields about 8 servings. However, if you need more, double up the recipe.
- Use salted water when boiling your pasta. You also want the pasta cooked al dente. Don’t overcook, or it’ll be mushy!
- Nutritional information is a rough estimate.