This vegan macaroni salad is loaded with colorful veggies and topped with a creamy, flavorful dressing. Your summer barbecue won’t be complete without this delicious side salad!
What comes to mind when you think about macaroni salad? Pale white salad with lots of mayo? Maybe a stray pea or two tossed in there?
Usually when I see macaroni salad at a party or at the store, it seems kind of light on the vegetables and heavy on the dressing, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
What if I told you that you can make macaroni salad that’s vegan and gluten free, and tastes better than the traditional version?
This vegan macaroni salad is loaded with lots of fresh vegetables. All those extra peas and peppers add a lot of color to this vegan macaroni salad, making it a pretty addition to the table. The dressing is simple but flavorful, and everyone who tries this salad loves it!
Macaroni Salad for Vegans
You might be surprised to find out how easy it is to make macaroni salad with vegan mayonnaise. There are a lot of different brands of vegan mayo.
You’ll need to choose the brand that works best for your dietary needs. We like Earth Balance plant based mayonnaise, but you can use any brand you like.
But as long as you use vegan mayo, and leave out any animal products like tuna, bacon, or eggs, you’ll have an easy and tasty plant-based macaroni salad that everyone will love.
- Pasta – Use any type of macaroni noodle that works for you! I like Jovial brand or Ancient Harvest brand gluten free pasta. You can read about some of the different brands of gluten free pasta here. Make sure you don’t overcook the pasta – you don’t want the noodles to be too soggy.
- Vegetables – Peppers, shredded carrots, peas, celery, and onion are flavorful and colorful in this salad. I like to shred the carrots so that they blend in nicely with the rest of the salad texture. You can also use red onion, chopped zucchini, or broccoli in this salad.
- Pickle Relish – Dill pickle relish makes a nice, tangy addition to the dressing. If you’re used to a sweeter dressing, you will want to use sweet pickle relish.
Step by Step Instructions
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, then allow it to cool
- Add the chopped veggies to the bowl.
- Mix up the salad dressing in a small jar or bowl.
- Add the dressing to the bowl, stir it all up, and it will be ready to serve.
Tips for Success
- Don’t overcook the noodles – you don’t want mushy, soggy macaroni. Be sure to follow the package instructions – the cooking time will vary based on the type of pasta you use.
- If you want to make this salad ahead of time, keep the dressing separate, then mix it in just prior to serving.
- Be creative – add different vegetables if you like, or try sweet pickle relish – it’s up to you!
This macaroni salad is perfect for all those upcoming summer barbecues and picnics. It’s colorful, full of flavor, and suitable for a variety of special dietary needs. If you need more ideas for your next BBQ, check out the suggestions below!
Serve this pasta salad alongside these dishes:
More Vegan Salads
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
The Best Simple Vegan Macaroni Salad.
Simple, tasty, and colorful, this vegan macaroni salad is perfect for a summer barbecue! You'll love the flavorful dressing and the delicious variety of veggies in this dish.
- 12 ounces macaroni I used gluten free macaroni
- 1 large red pepper chopped
- 1 small sweet onion chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 ½ cups frozen peas thawed and drained
- 2 carrots grated
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise I used Earth Balance Mindful Mayo
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup dill pickle relish
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ⅓ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
Cook the macaroni according to package directions.
Once the macaroni is cooked, drain and rinse it under cold water to cool down.
Put the vegan mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, pickle relish, sugar, salt, pepper, and onion powder in a small bowl or jar. Stir well until combined.
Place the cooled macaroni in a large bowl. Add the all of the vegetables and toss to combine.
Add the dressing and stir until everything is coated.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Use whatever type of pasta you like! If you prefer a different shape, go ahead and use that. If you are gluten free, gluten free pasta will work very well in this recipe.
If you’re making the salad ahead of time, keep the dressing and the other ingredients separate, then mix them when it’s serving time.
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Super yummy! Followed recipe as is. So good! Thank you!
So glad you enjoyed this! Thank you for letting me know!
When making the day before, keep all the veggies separate as well? or can those all be mixed together along with the noodles?
Put the veggies and pasta together, but keep the dressing separate until serving.
Oops, I use Fusilli pasta not Rollatini.
This recipe has become a staple this summer. I use GF Rototini, which I think holds the mayo dressing well because, , unlike most GF pasta, the noodles don’t get hard in the fridge. This allows me to make a double batch, which I just did! I also add cubes baked tofu pieces for protein. On top of a summer salad, this really is the best macaroni salad ever.
Oops, Fusilli pasta…
Just made this recipe last night to go with some vegan burgers we were grilling. It turned out amazing! This is definitely going to be my husband and I’s go-to recipes this summer. :) Thanks!
my whole family loved this even the ones without dietary restrictions I just cut down on sugar and increased the dressing by half but its good without increase too.
Made this for dinner tonight. So good I added it to my “D**n Good, Make Again” file. LOL. Even my meat eating husband liked it.
Yay! So happy to hear that! :)
I’m so glad to hear that!
Thanks, Kelly! This was my lunch today. I had a green pepper (not a red one), so I threw in some chopped tomato to get a bit of color. I also added about half a small zucchini, all chopped up, to keep it veggin’. Very nice!
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely
I just love macaroni salad! It’s what I load up on the most at BBQ’s. Loving this vegan version Kelly!
genevieve @ gratitude and greens
Macaroni salad is so fun to eat! I swear my coworker is eating the exact same thing right now. Both of you are making me really want to make and eat a macaroni salad! Love the extra addition of veggies. Yum!
Well, you better make a macaroni salad, then! :)
This is actually my first time making macaroni salad, I just used what I had but it was delicious! Cant wait to try it with all the ingredients, I like how quick it is to make!
I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know!
Strength and Sunshine
The pasta salad of my dreams!
I cooked all weekend! Looks like you did some cooking, too! This salad looks soo delish, Kelly!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
What a pretty salad, Kelly! I love the veggies and dressing. Sounds so delicious!
Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven
What a gorgeous salad, Kelly! Such an nice alternative to the usual dressing-laden macaroni salads you usually see! I love that the emphasis is on the veggies. :)
So perfect!! I love that this is vegan and GF and won’t make me regret my decision to eat half the batch in one sitting.
It’s hard to stop, isn’t it? I have the same problem! :)