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Vegan Macaroni Salad

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The Vegan Macaroni Salad is super tangy and zippy! More savory than sweet, this is a perfect side for BBQ, Picnic, or Potluck!

I’ve never been a huge fan of Macaroni Salad, and I think I know why. When researching recipes for this Vegan Macaroni Salad, I saw that people usually put a ton of sugar in it. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but especially when it comes to something like Macaroni Salad! This is definitely more on the savory side, in fact there’s no added sugar at all!

I also found macaroni salad to be drowning in mayo, and it was usually served lukewarm too. Not my favorite thing! I call for 1 cup of vegan mayo per 8 oz. of dried pasta. Add or subtract more to your taste, but for me it was the perfect amount. You can also use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out and make it creamier too.

vegan macaroni salad ingredients

  • Pasta – Naturally we need pasta! I just get the standard elbows, but Cavatappi would also work well. Just make sure you stick to something that’s not too big, and will hold on to the dressing.
  • Vegan Mayo – Another main component! You can also try adding in some vegan sour cream, or even unsweetened vegan yogurt for something lighter.
  • Acid – For some added tang we are gonna use red wine vinegar, dijon and dill relish. You can use white vinegar, or apple cider. And if you want it sweeter, use some sweet relish!
  • Fresh Herbs – I’m using some chives and dill, but feel free to add whatever you like.
  • Fresh Veggies – Same with the red bell pepper and celery. You can add onions, or jalapeño peppers for a kick. Just make sure you dice them relatively small so you don’t end up with giant chunks of raw veggies.
  • Seasonings – I call for nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powder and some salt and pepper. As always season to taste!

tips for vegan macaroni salad

  • Salt the bejesus out of your water. Macaroni salad is served cold and colder foods need to be seasoned more (because science!). I recommend 1 Tbsp of salt per quart of water. For 8 oz. dried pasta I used 2 quarts water and 2 Tbsp salt. It sounds like a lot, but it’ll make it taste better in the end!
  • Over cook your pasta by a few minutes. This will make them softer and should help them soak up the dressing more too.
  • Reserve some pasta water. You can use it to thin out and emulsify the dressing if needed!
  • Cool the pasta on a baking sheet with some oil. Rinsing the pasta under cool water will strip away the starch layer, and it will make them rubbery. The oil will help them from sticking to each other and clumping up too.
  • Dice your veggies and herbs finely! Nobody likes giant chunks of raw veggies and herbs in their pasta salad!
  • Use as much mayo as you’d like! Some people like theirs absolutely swimming in mayo, but I prefer it a little less goopy!
  • When serving, you can keep the pasta salad cold by getting a big bowl, filling it with some ice, and then putting the pasta salad in a smaller bowl and setting that on top of the ice.


You can totally make this a day before, in fact it’s usually better! You may need to add a bit of vegan mayo to rehydrate it a bit, but the flavors will be more intense! Store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

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Vegan Macaroni Salad

Thee Burger Dude
4.92 from 12 votes
Servings 4 -6 Servings


  • 8 oz dried macaroni


  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 Tbsp dill or sweet relish
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped chives
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup celery diced
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Bring 2-3 quarts of water up to a boil Add 2-3 Tbsp of salt. Cook your pasta 2-3 minutes past package instructions for al dente. Check every minute to make sure you don't over cook and make them mushy. They should be soft but still have a bit of chew.
  • Once cooked, drain your pasta (reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water) then add it to a baking sheet. Squirt about 1- 2 Tbsp worth of olive or a neutral oil and then toss to coat, and spread evenly on the baking sheet to cool.
  • Combine the ingredients for the dressing. Whisk thoroughly and then adjust to taste.
  • In a bowl, combine the dressing and cooled macaroni, mix well to coat! Add some pasta water to thin out the dressing and make it creamier if needed. I only used about 2 Tbsp worth.
  • Adjust seasoning if needed and ENJOY!
Keyword vegan macaroni salad
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  1. Heyyy! I cannot find your jalapeño popper macaroni salad in your website anymore. Perhaps this is now in your cookbook? :)I know you want to simplify your recipes but I really liked the complicated one hehe.


    1. Hi, it’s basically this recipe just add jalapenos and vegan bacon and some cheese! I’ll remake it when the weather gets warmer!

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