An easy Vegan Macaroni Salad recipe that's made with no mayo, but tastes just like the classic! Rich, utterly delicious, and prepared with whole food plant-based ingredients. A crowd-pleasing summer side dish and great for potlucks! (Vegan, oil-free, gluten-free option.)
This macaroni salad has all the good stuff! Crunchy veggies, tender pasta, and a luscious creamy sauce.
It's just as delicious as the traditional version, but made healthier with whole food plant-based ingredients.
The dairy-free creamy dressing is tangy, sweet, and utterly delicious. Plus the salad is simple to prepare in just 30 minutes.
It's a family favorite and I hope you enjoy it as well!
Ingredients for Vegan Macaroni Salad
For this recipe you will toss together in a large bowl:
- Elbow noodles: Be sure to use gluten-free pasta if needed. Banza also makes elbow macaroni noodles that are rich in protein.
- Celery: Just a couple ribs celery adds great crunch to the salad.
- Roasted red pepper: I like the flavor of jarred roasted bell peppers, but you can substitute a fresh red bell pepper instead if desired.
- Red onion
- Fresh dill: This adds so much flavor and freshness to the dish!
- Pickle relish: You can either use sweet relish or dill relish depending on preference. (Sweet relish has added sugar, while dill relish typically does not.) I purchase organic whenever possible and seek out brands without high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
- Cashew mayo: I use this oil-free homemade Cashew Mayo. It's so creamy, rich, and absolutely delicious. (I often make it a day or two in advance for convenience and quicker prep time.) You can also replace this with your favorite store-bought vegan mayo, but be aware they generally contain oil.
- Apple cider vinegar: Or you can substitute another vinegar such as distilled white vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
- Pure maple syrup: Just a tablespoon adds a hint of sweetness to the dressing. Feel free to adjust the amount as desired.
- Dijon mustard: Or you can use yellow mustard or stoneground mustard.
- Salt: I use fine grain salt for this recipe. You can also add black pepper to taste.
Vegetables: Include other veggies as you see fit! Try grated carrot, green peas, black olives, green onions, etc.
Flavors: Stir in other seasonings as desired. Garlic powder, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, pickle juice, diced pickles, or other fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or chives.
Add "eggs": Diced hard-boiled eggs sometimes appear in macaroni salad, so you could include some of this Eggy Tofu if you'd like a substitution. (I find it's not necessary however.)
Or for a fun variation, try this Mexican Macaroni Salad tossed in a creamy southwest dressing!
Make a batch for your picnics, potlucks, BBQs, a light lunch, or simply a summer side dish to enjoy at home!
Chilling: You can serve this pasta salad immediately or chill in the fridge for at least an hour to let flavors further blend.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I find it keeps for about 4 days.
Want more? Check out this oil-free Vegan Potato Salad!
For more inspiration also check out all vegan side dish recipes.
Vegan Macaroni Salad (Oil-Free!)
- 8 oz. elbow noodles (gluten-free if desired)
- 2 celery ribs
- 1 roasted red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
- 1/4 cup pickle relish
For the dressing:
- 3/4 cup Cashew Mayo
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. salt (or less to taste)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, leaving al dente (slightly firm, not mushy).
- Meanwhile, dice celery and roasted pepper. Finely dice onion. Chop dill. Place in a large mixing bowl with the relish.
- Make the dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well to combine.
- When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse. Immediately add to bowl with veggies. Add dressing and toss well. Serve immediately or chill for an hour to let flavors combine further.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
If you are enjoying this healthy vegan macaroni salad with no mayo, also check out: