Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (2024)

Last modified: . Originally posted: By Sophia DeSantis

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Try this easy creamy vegan macaroni salad recipe made with fresh, healthy ingredients. Gluten free and perfect for picnics and barbecues!

This recipe tastes just like the classic deli style but it's healthy and made with plant-based ingredients. The homemade dressing is simply the best ever!

Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (1)
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (2)

This post was originally published on April 17, 2017.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of truRoots. The opinions and text are all mine.

This amazing dairy free creamy dressing is also the base of my vegan potato salad, another amazing side dish made healthy!


The classic dressing for macaroni salad traditionally uses a mayo type base, so I set out to find a way to make a macaroni salad without mayo, but still have the same tangy creamy flavor that mayo brings.

I nailed it, and when mixed with everything else it is spot on. I don't even think it's a stretch to call this the best vegan macaroni salad recipe ever!

Salad Base:

  • Macaroni
  • Peppers
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Pickles
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Creamy dressing:

  • Cashews
  • Potatoes
  • White beans
  • Pickle juice
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Ground mustard seed
  • Water

This combo makes a perfect mayo like taste and texture that would fool just about anyone! After mixing the toppings and pasta in the macaroni salad dressing it was pure joy to shovel into my belly!

Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (3)
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (4)

How to Make Macaroni Salad

This is a fairly simple recipe that requires 3 main parts to be made, then mixed together and you're done!

  1. Cook macaroni.
  2. Make the creamy dressing.
  3. Sauté peppers.
  4. Add everything into a bowl.
  5. Mix well, refrigerate to let it get cold if preferred.
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (5)
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (6)
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (7)
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (8)
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (9)

What kind of pasta is best?

The classic pasta shape for macaroni salad is in the name, macaroni! However, you can also use other shapes if you want, and call it vegan creamy pasta salad instead!

In order to make this a gluten free macaroni salad, all you need to do is choose your favorite gluten free pasta.

Because this is a cold type of pasta recipe, I needed a macaroni that kept its great texture in the fridge. With gluten-free pasta that isn't easy to find. There are a few go-to brands I love and TruRoots pastas are one of them!

The texture is perfect for salads and such that you want to serve later that day or even the next day. Plus they are Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and gluten-free.

Also awesome, they come in Spaghetti, Penne, Elbow, and Fusilli varieties. Woot woot! Because where there is more pasta, there should always be more pasta.

Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (10)
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (11)

Ideas for Mix-ins

You can definitely change this up to make it your own. The ingredients I use here are to capture that spot on deli flavor, but you can add in even more. Load up this vegan macaroni salad with vegetables, herbs, and more for added flavor and nutrition. Here are some ideas:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Olives
  • Green onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
  • Tomato
  • Peas
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh parsley
  • Cubed or shredded cheese - plant based or standard
  • Hard boiled eggs (this would make this a recipe for vegetarian macaroni salad)
  • Meat eaters can add in chopped bacon, salami, or ham.

What to Serve with Macaroni Salad

There are so many amazing dishes that go with this healthy macaroni salad! I literally can have it with anything but generally, think picnics and barbecues. Here are some of our faves:

  • Potato Salad
  • Black Bean Burgers
  • Lentil Veggie Burgers
  • Vegan Panini
  • Portobello Mushroom Steak
  • Baked Beans
  • Grilled Romaine Salad
  • Apple, Arugula and Smoky Tempeh Sandwich
  • BBQ Tempeh Sandwich
  • BBQ Chickpea Sliders
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (12)

How to Make Vegan Macaroni Salad in Advance

This macaroni salad without mayo is a great dish to make ahead of time! In fact, letting it rest in the refrigerator allows the ingredients to marinate together longer, which will allow for even more flavorful bites! Which makes this perfect for a vegan picnic.

  • Make the vegan macaroni salad dressing, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Chop the veggies and keep together in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Sauté the peppers up to 3 days in advance.
  • The pasta can be boiled up to 2 days ahead of time.
  • Day of serving, mix everything and go!
  • You can also completely make the macaroni salad, but that should only be done a day or so ahead of time since it will start to get soggy.
    • Use a solid pasta brand, some pastas will break down too much as they sit.

Storage Tips

  • Keep this macaroni salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • It will be best to eat within 2-3 days, but safe to eat for up to 5.
  • It will keep out of the refrigerator longer than the traditional mayo filled kind, but you're not going to want it to sit out for more than a few hours. Let's be honest, chilled macaroni salad always tastes better than room temperature!

Common Questions

Is macaroni salad healthy?

Usually macaroni salad is made with mayo and sometimes even sugar, making it not very healthy. This healthy macaroni salad recipe, however, uses all plant based ingredients to make a healthier version!

What's the difference between macaroni salad and pasta salad?

Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, and technically both are in the pasta salad category. However, macaroni salad has a creamy base, whereas pasta salad the dish is dressed with a vinaigrette.

How long is macaroni salad good for?

Typically macaroni salad can be safely refrigerated for up to 3-5 days. See above for more storage tips.

Can you freeze macaroni salad?

Technically yes, however it won't be quite as good once defrosted since the texture might change. Your best bet is to mix up the dressing and freeze that separately. When you are ready to serve simply defrost the dressing, give it another blend if it separated, then mix with the pasta!

More Vegan Salad Recipes

This macaroni salad without mayo goes to show you can transform all kinds of classic dishes to a plant based version without sacrificing flavor. Whether it's a family cookout at home or a big potluck, these plant based recipes will have everyone coming back for seconds!

  • Greek Farro Salad
  • Vegan Traditional Greek Salad
  • Mediterranean Orzo Salad
  • Vegan Watermelon Feta Mint Salad
  • Easy Mexican Street Corn Salad
Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (13)

Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (14)

Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe

Sophia DeSantis

Try this easy creamy vegan macaroni salad recipe made with fresh, healthy ingredients. Gluten free and perfect for picnics and barbecues!

5 from 13 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe Shop Ingredients

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 15 minutes mins

Total Time 30 minutes mins

Course 30 Minutes or Less, Main Course, Side Dish

Cuisine American

Servings 6

Calories 446 kcal



Creamy dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews , see note
  • ¼ cup cooked potato , see note
  • ½ cup cooked white beans , rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice , from the jar
  • 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons sea salt , adjust for your preference
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard seed

Shop Ingredients on Jupiter


  • Cook pasta according to package directions.

  • Once pasta is done, rinse in cold water then add it to the bowl with the veggies below.

  • Saute chopped sweet pepper over medium heat using veggie broth or oil and a dash of salt. Cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, put celery, red onion, dill pickles, pickle juice and black pepper in a large bowl.

  • Next, make the creamy dressing by putting the ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy and smooth.

  • Add the creamy dressing to the bowl and mix. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. I needed an extra ½ teaspoon.

  • Place in the fridge while you clean up to allow it to get cold and so the flavors can marinate completely.

  • Once ready, garnish with ingredients of choice and devour!


  • Any sweet pepper variety works, or a combo of all.
  • Soaking the onion helps takes the bite out of it. This step is optional but it helps reduce the strong onion flavor.
  • I like putting the extra pickle juice in the bowl with the veggies to help them marinate in the flavor while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • If you don’t have a high speed blender, soak the cashews overnight to soften them. You can also boil them for 20-25 minutes if you forget. Another method is using a coffee or spice grinder to grind them dry (not soaking) into a very fine powder.
  • I used red potatoes but any starchy potato will work, just don’t use sweet. It also won’t work to substitute with something that is not an actual potato (such as another root vegetable).

Tips to prep ahead:

  • Chop veggies. Saute red pepper. Soak or grind cashews if not using a high speed blender. Cook potato. Make creamy dressing.

Baby/toddler food idea:

  • Make sure pasta is well cooked and veggies are finely chopped.

Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.


Calories: 446kcalCarbohydrates: 72gProtein: 15gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 954mgPotassium: 560mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 190IUVitamin C: 93.6mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.

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Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (15)

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Reader Interactions


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  1. Alex

    This recipe is very, very good! It tasted just like deli-style macaroni salad!


    • Sophia DeSantis

      I am so thrilled you like it Alex!!


      • Alex

        I'm making this one for the second time tonight!

      • Sophia DeSantis

        Amazing!!! So happy you like it!

  2. Elizabeth Belden Handler

    Please don’t rinse your pasta in cold water! Instead, mix it while just drained and still hot with the dressing. It will infuse the pasta with flavor. Then continue when it’s cooled.


    • Sophia DeSantis

      Hi Elizabeth! I prefer to rinse with cold water as it makes for a better texture and I am very picky with my pasta texture. But feel free to do what works for you! Also, with gluten free pasta, rinsing helps even more because of the gluten free nature and frothing some of them give. You don't want that in your pasta salad.


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Easy Vegan Macaroni Salad Recipe - Veggies Don't Bite (2024)


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