Vegan Macaroni Salad (quick & creamy)

 This quick and creamy macaroni salad is great for lunch boxes, picnics, BBQs and as a side salad.

Vegan Macaroni Salad

VEGAN MACARONI SALAD (QUICK & CREAMY)

I usually dress pasta salad in pesto or in a zingy dressing, but sometimes you just want something creamy and comforting.

This macaroni salad ticks all the boxes. 

  1. It's quick and easy to make
  2. It's full of salad vegetables
  3. It has a creamy vegan dressing
  4. It tastes great


A bowl of elbow macaroni

WHAT SHAPE OF PASTA IS GOOD FOR A SALAD?


Some pasta shapes work better than others in a salad.

Curvy elbow macaroni is a good place to start, but you could also use the straight type of macaroni.

Farfalle (bow-tie pasta) is also a good option, as is fusilli (the spiral pasta).

You don't want a larger pasta like penne or rigatoni in a salad they are too big. 

You want small bite-sized pieces of pasta that won't overwhelm the chopped up vegetables.


cooked elbow macaroni in a colander

PASTA COOKING TIPS


Follow these easy tips for the best pasta salad:

  1. Boil water in a large pan. 
  2. Have plenty of water in the pan. Don't just cover the pasta, it needs room to move about in the boiling water.
  3. Salt the water.
  4. DO NOT ADD OIL to the water. If you have plenty of rapidly boiling water and you give the pasta a good stir when it's added and a couple of times while it cooks, it will not stick.
  5. Cook the pasta until al dente. Check a minute before the packet instructions cook time, it should be firm but cooked. This is called al dente (with bite).
  6. Drain in a colander and cool with cold running water until the pasta is completely cold. This will wash away the starch, stop the cooking and result in firm glossy pasta for the best pasta salad.
  7. Shake the pasta until you have removed as much water as possible before dressing.


pasta salad ingredients

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE VEGAN MACARONI SALAD?


  • Dried macaroni  - cooked until al dente
  • Bell pepper - finely diced
  • Cucumber - finely diced
  • Sweetcorn - cooked (I used tinned)
  • Chickpeas - cooked (I used tinned)
  • Fresh basil - torn or chopped
  • Vegan mayo - you may add extra if you like
  • Salt and pepper - to season

WHAT OTHER VEGETABLES COULD YOU INCLUDE IN MACARONI SALAD?


  • Carrots - chopped or grated
  • Radishes - sliced
  • Sugar snap peas  - sliced
  • Red onion - thinly sliced
  • Celery sliced
  • Olives - pitted
  • Spring onions sliced



overhead shot of bowl of macaroni salad

WHEN TO SERVE MACARONI SALAD


Macaroni salad may be quick to make, but it's actually rather versatile. Here are a few ideas of when to serve it.

  1. On its own in a lunch box.
  2. One the side with pizza and a green salad.
  3. With a vegan burger and potato wedges.
  4. With kebab vegetables.
  5. As part of a picnic spread.
  6. As part of a BBQ table.
  7. As part of a buffet.
  8. With a puff pastry tart and baby potatoes.
  9. On the side with a vegan hot dog.

close up of macaroni salad topped with fresh basil leaves

HOW LONG WILL MACARONI SALAD KEEP?


You can keep this creamy macaroni salad in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

It's best to take it out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before you are going to use it. If it's eaten straight out of the fridge you lose some of the flavour and the joy. It's just too cold and you can't taste anything.

Once it has come up in temperature, give it a good stir before serving as much of the dressing will have dropped to the bottom of the dish.



CAN I FREEZE MACARONI SALAD?


No please don't freeze it, it will not be such a fresh, firm salad.

It's so quick to make and you can prep the veg while the pasta cooks. It's ready in 10 to 12 minutes, so there is no need to freeze. It's not going to save you much time.

If you have leftovers they will keep in the fridge a few days and this simple salad is so good, it won't last that long anyway.


Macaroni salad in a floral bowl next to a yellow linen napkin topped with a gold fork

MORE EASY VEGAN LUNCH BOX RECIPES TO TRY


Here are a few more ideas to perk up your lunchtime.



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Creamy macaroni salad in a yellow bowl



HOW TO MAKE VEGAN MACARONI SALAD


Scroll down for step-by-step photos followed by a printable recipe. If you don't have a printer, hit the print button on the recipe card and save as a PDF.

Vegan Macaroni Salad - Step 1 (cooked pasta)

STEP 1


Cook the macaroni until al dente (cooked but firm) and rinse under running cold water until cold and glossy. Set aside to drain.

Shake off as much of the water as possible.


Vegan macaroni salad -Step 2 (chopped red pepper and sweetcorn in a bowl)

STEP 2


Finely chop the red peppers into a small dice, then add to a bowl with cooked sweetcorn (I used tinned sweetcorn for convenience).


Vegan macaroni salad -Step 3 (chickpeas and cucumber added to bowl)

STEP 3


Add cooked chickpeas (I used tinned chickpeas) and diced cucumber.

I always cut my cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the wet seeds in the centre with a teaspoon. You are left with crisp cucumber without the wetness, which would just water down your dressing.


Vegan macaroni salad -Step 4 (pasta and fresh basil added to the bowl)

STEP 4


Realise your bowl is too small and add all the chopped vegetables, cooked pasta and fresh basil to a bigger bowl.

Shake your head at your stupidity!


Vegan macaroni salad -Step 5 (mayo and seasoning added)

STEP 5


Add vegan mayo (I like Hellman's) and season well with salt and pepper.

I added enough mayo for it to be lightly creamy, but you can add more if you like. If you are more you will need to be generous with your seasoning.


Vegan macaroni salad -Step 6 (dressing mixed in, ready to serve)

STEP 6


Give it all a good mix and taste to check the seasoning.

Serve and enjoy!


pasta salad, macaroni salad, vegan macaroni salad, dairy-free macaronis salad, vegan pasta salad. dairy-free pasta salad. lunchbox pasta, lunch recipe, vegan lunch recipe
lunch
vegan
Yield: 3-4
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
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Vegan Macaroni Salad

Vegan Macaroni Salad

This quick and creamy macaroni salad is great for lunch boxes, picnics, BBQs and as a side salad.
Prep time: 12 MinTotal time: 12 Min

Ingredients

  • 125g dried elbow macaroni (see notes for other pasta options)
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced and diced
  • 3 tbsp cooked sweetcorn
  • 3 tbsp cooked chickpeas
  • 6 tbsp vegan mayo
  • a small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook and rinse your pasta until it's cold and glossy.
  2. Prep your veg and add the pasta and veg to a large bowl.
  3. Add fresh basil and mayo to the bowl and season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Mix well and taste to check the seasoning.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes:

You can use straight cut macaroni, bow-tie pasta (farfalle) or spiral pasta (fusilli) instead of elbow macaroni.

Make sure your only cook the pasta until it is al dente (cooked but firm) and rinse under cold water until completely cold. This will result in glossy firm pasta for the best pasta salad.

You may use more mayo if you would like a thicker dressing but you may need more seasoning.

You can keep this pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

To serve allow to come to room temperature for 10 minutes before serving as the cold dampens the flavours.

Calories

194.70

Fat (grams)

10.70

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.68

Carbs (grams)

17.56

Fiber (grams)

1.50

Net carbs

16.05

Sugar (grams)

2.76

Protein (grams)

2.89

Sodium (milligrams)

149.64

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Created using The Recipes Generator

22 comments

  1. This salad looks so refreshing. I'll definitely give this a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh do try it. It's so quick to make and tastes really good.

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  2. This macaroni salad looks amazing. I can't wait to try your recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes it's really good. Actually it's a bit too moreish. It's easy to go back for another portion.

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  3. This looks so yummy. I never thought of making a salad with macaroni. I will buy some at the weekend and make this next week. Jill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, do try it Jill and let me know what you think.

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  4. This is perfect for lunch for my family right now while we are doing online school. Quick, easy, and delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, it's a perfect one for kids and a good way to get in some extra veg.

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  5. Oh yum! What a lovely salad. So light and delicious. I must give this a try. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is worth making and a nice change from sandwiches in the lunch box.

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  6. This looks like a great side dish. Can't wait to try it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it works great as a side dish or a lunch Hope you try it.

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  7. This is so easy to put together. I love pasta and the fact that you have used so many fresh veggies. I will definitely try it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh this is definitely the dish for you and it's so easy too.

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  8. I can't believe this recipe is vegan and I never knew you could get vegan mayo!!! Yum and yum and can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!!

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    Replies
    1. You would never know the difference. I use Hellman's mayo which is lush.

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  9. You can't beat a pasta salad for an easy lunch option. This vegan version looks delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know and it's rather a treat if you've got into the habit of sandwiches.

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  10. Love that this classic dish can so easily be enjoyed vegan. Can't wait to make this as it's such a great side dish to so many dinners!

    ReplyDelete
  11. what an awesome vegan side dish! It sounds just delicious and so easy to make. Can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete

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