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Vegan Macaroni Salad in a dish

Vegan Macaroni Salad

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 14 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Creamy, crowd-pleasing and classic, this Vegan Macaroni Salad will be wolfed down by vegans and non-vegans alike at any gathering or meal.


Units Scale


  • 1 1/2 cups vegan mayo, homemade or store bought (see note 1)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (see note 2 for substitutions)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt, optional
  • 3 tablespoons sweet relish (see note 3 for substitutions)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or substitute 2 teaspoons yellow mustard)

Vegan Macaroni Salad

  • 1 pound (454 grams) dry elbow macaroni (or any pasta, use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion (or sub. red or green onion), very finely diced (1/4-inch)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, very finely diced (1/4-inch) (orange or yellow also fine, see note 4)
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas (or sub. corn)
  • 4 ribs celery, very finely diced (1/4-inch)
  • 7-8 ounces vegan cheddar cheese, diced (1/2-inch) or use shredded, optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped, stems removed


  1. Cook pasta: Cook one pound of pasta according to package instructions, then drain the cooked pasta. I like to cool mine down by rinsing it cold water, though I know this is somewhat of a no-no for some folks. To be fair, it’s the best way to stop the cooking process and ensure that the pasta does not become sticky or mushy.You can also cool it down by refrigerating it, though sometimes it may stick together so you may want to toss it with a small amount of olive oil. If your pasta is too hot when you toss it with the other ingredients, it can wilt delicate veggies like the dill and possibly melt the cheese.
  2. Chop veg: While you’re waiting, you can chop all the veggies.
  3. Make mayo: If you haven’t yet, make the vegan mayo (or skip this if using store-bought). I used my homemade oil-free vegan mayo, only I substitute about half the tofu for about ½-¾ cup soaked raw cashews or sunflower seeds. This provides a fattier sauce for the macaroni salad (which helps it keep better in the fridge). If your blender is being stubborn, add water a tablespoon or two at a time, and gently stir it to get it to blend. Once blended, throw it in the fridge or freezer to cool it down till you’re ready to use it.
  4. Make dressing: Make the dressing by stirring together the vegan mayo, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, celery salt (if using), sweet relish, and mustard. Stir until combined.
  5. Assemble: When the pasta is cooled, first toss all the veggies and cheese with it (except the dill). Pour in the dressing and mix well. Then gently stir through the dill. Taste, and add additional sea salt and black pepper if needed.
  6. Serve or chill: You can serve it immediately or even better, refrigerate for at least an hour and serve nice and cold. It does firm up a bit in the fridge, but the pasta should hold up for a couple days.
  7. Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. Note that GF pasta sometimes doesn’t hold up as long--I get the best results with the brown rice and quinoa type GF pasta, but use what you know you like. I’m not personally gluten-free so I normally cook with regular flour pasta (or whole wheat), but sometimes I cook for gluten-free people.


  • Note 1: Store-bought or homemade will both work fine. I used my homemade oil-free vegan mayo, only I substitute about half the tofu for about ½-¾ cup raw cashews or sunflower seeds. This provides a fattier sauce for the macaroni salad (which helps it keep better in the fridge). But use what you like! A fun twist? Try using my vegan ranch as the sauce for this pasta salad!
  • Note 2: I love the sweetness and the tang apple cider vinegar gives the salad, but I’ve heard a couple people say they do not like the taste. You can use any other vinegar, or lemon juice will work. The only thing I wouldn’t use is balsamic vinegar because it has a really strong flavor. If you like the idea of a balsamic vegan macaroni salad, go right ahead and try it!
  • Note 3: I have done a lot of research and sweet relish seems to be a common addition. I have to admit, I’m not a super huge fan of sweet relish normally but it’s quite delicious in the dressing for this dish. You could use any other kind, or mince a pickle or two if you prefer. Or leave it out, up to you.
  • Note 4: Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers are sweeter than green peppers. Out of all of them, red is the sweetest and also lends a nice color to the recipe. Feel free to use what you like and have available.
  • Note 5: I recommend no more than ¼ - inch dice for all your veggies. They tend to mix better when smaller, and once the salad is chilled, it will all stick together a bit better.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan Macaroni Salad, Vegan Summer Recipes