Who doesn’t love a classic macaroni salad? It’s the perfect side dish for summertime barbeques and get-togethers. Today I’m going to show you how to make a vegan macaroni salad that will wow your tastebuds.
This dish is so similar to its non-vegan counterpart – I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.
To make this amazing feat happen I substituted traditional mayonnaise, which has egg yolks in it if you aren’t aware, with vegan mayo. In my opinion, vegan mayo tastes just like “regular” mayo, but even better to me.
Fun fact, I actually hated mayo before going vegan, but I love vegan mayo!
Getting into the heart of the recipe, I add vegetables to my macaroni salad to add both texture and nutrients. I mean… they are covered in vegan mayo, but at least there are some bit of vegetables involved!
I love to add carrots, celery, red onion, black olives, and jarred pimento peppers to my macaroni salad. The pimento peppers are in my husband’s family recipe and they add a little something extra that I adore. They go so well with all of the other ingredients and they are so tasty!
And of course, I keep it classic with elbow macaroni. You’re free to use any pasta shape your heart desires, but there’s something perfect about macaroni in this dish.
This vegan macaroni salad has the perfect balance of richness from the vegan mayo, bite from the vegetables, and tang from the black olives and pimento peppers. It’s a crowd-pleaser and your friends and family, vegan or not, are sure to love it!
Without further ado, and drool, let’s get into how to make this recipe!
I always stick with traditional elbow macaroni when making this recipe.
What you’ll want to do is bring a stockpot of water to a boil and then add a generous amount of salt (a few tablespoons). Then cook the pasta according to the package instructions for al dente. Make sure not to overcook the pasta to prevent it from getting too overdone in the dressing later.
When the pasta has cooked drain the hot water from the pot and refill it with very cold water. This stops the cooking process so that the pasta doesn’t get mushy later and it cools down the pasta so that you can mix it into the dressing.
Once it’s cooling you can set it aside and move on to the other parts of the recipe.
Vegan Mayo Dressing
This recipe is actually pretty simple to veganize when you substitute vegan mayo for traditional mayo. My absolute favorite vegan mayo to use in this recipe is Follow Your Heart Original Veganaise. It’s classic and has the perfect flavor combination.
You can use any vegan mayo you can find, but if FYH is a choice, definitely pick that!
To make the dressing base it’s actually just three simple ingredients! Vegan mayo, apple cider vinegar, and white sugar. Easy peasy!
The white sugar adds a perfect balance to the salty olives and pimentos and it cuts through the richness of the vegan mayo. Don’t skip this ingredient!
I also wanted to add in here that not all white sugar is technically vegan. Brown sugar is processed with bone char (literally charred animal bones) to turn it white. Because of that process, most vegans consider white sugar processed with bone char to not be vegan.
Check the package of your sugar to see if it’s vegan. It won’t say “not processed in bone char”, but it will say vegan. It doesn’t cost much more than other white sugar and it’s simple to make this swap! I love the Zulka sugar because it’s affordable and it works great!
I make my macaroni salad with carrot, celery, red onion, black olives, and pimento peppers. That’s just the classic family recipe that I like to follow. You can definitely get creative here.
Try adding in some bell pepper, cucumber, fresh herbs, etc. Just make sure to finely dice the vegetables and you’re good to go!
You can dice your vegetables by hand or use your food processor, whatever tickles your fancy. I actually like chopping vegetables by hand, so I usually stick to that. Plus the food processor is a pain to clean!
Vegan Macaroni Salad
When you have cooked and cooled your pasta, have your dressing mixed, and your vegetables are diced it’s super easy to bring everything together.
Simply add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and combine them well.
Place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator and let the macaroni salad cool for 1-2 hours. It’s even better if you let the dish refrigerate overnight. Everything comes together and the vegetables become perfectly tender.
Serve this vegan macaroni salad cold as a side dish, or heck, make it the main event!
Without further ado, let’s get into this recipe!
As always please share your recreations on social media and don’t forget to tag me! I love to feature your recreations on my Instagram stories!
- 16 oz elbow macaroni
- 1 long carrot
- 2 stalks celery
- ¼ medium red onion
- ½ can black olives
- 4 oz jar pimento peppers
- 2 cups vegan mayo
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
Bring a pot of water to a boil
Salt the water generously and add macaroni
Cook following package instructions for al dente finish
While pasta is cooking, dice the carrot, celery, onion, and olives
When the pasta has finished cooking drain the hot water and fill the pan with cold water (this stops the cooking process and cools down the pasta)
In a large mixing bowl, add the vegan mayo, apple cider vinegar, and sugar
Mix to combine well
Add the carrot, celery, onion, olives, and pimento peppers to the mixture
Stir until well combined
When the pasta is cooled to at least lukewarm add it to the dressing mixture
Stir well to combine
Refrigerator the macaroni salad for at least 1-2 hours (it is even better if you make it the night before and refrigerate it overnight)