Creamy, refreshing vegan mac salad complimented by crisp, fresh bell peppers make this the perfect side to compliment any meal.
Or if you're like me, this is the meal!
This macaroni salad is a hit at gatherings, parties, celebrations, get-togethers, BBQ's, holiday's, you name it. Everyone will ask you for this recipe, and your kids will absolutely love it!
Also, this pasta salad is a fantastic way to hide veggies just in case you've got picky little ones!
This recipe has it's own Webstory! Check it out here!
You can use any pasta you want, including gluten-free. Keep in mind that some gluten-free pasta's dry out quicker and your salad may not be so great the next day. The best way to work with gluten-free pasta is to keep the sauce and pasta separate so you can re hydrate the noodles as needed.
To re-hydrate gluten free pasta, simply add some water to the bowl and microwave until the water is hot, stir the pasta around for a few minutes, then drain. Rinse to cool, drain, and mix with the sauce!
Sugar, and relish are optional ingredients, skip them if you wish.
Use vinegar in place of relish, and also exchange yellow mustard for Dijon, if you're feelin' extra spicy.
If using frozen peas, you do not need to thaw or do anything with them. Just add them in frozen and they will naturally thaw.
In a medium sized bowl, add in all sauce ingredients: mayo, sugar, relish, mustard, lemon juice, & salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything well and set the sauce aside.
Cook's Top Tip
If you want to make this ahead of time, make the sauce and then cover it and place it in the refrigerator and store the pasta separate.
Once your pasta is cooked, rinse it under very cold water. You could also do an ice bath if you have access to ice. Mix the pasta and the sauce until your noodles are covered in dressing. Then, add in your veggies of choice and mix well again!
While I have used bell peppers and peas for the vegetables in this macaroni salad, you can change it up entirely and add just about anything you wish!
If you want to keep the crunchy factor:
Onions - This popular option is how most macaroni salads are made, however, bell peppers are a great option to add that familiar crunch if you can not stomach onions.
Broccoli - Y'all... back in the day I used to get a similar pasta salad at Walmart's deli. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyway, it was my favorite and it had broccoli in it! not the one with raisins, the with cheese and mayo.
Shredded carrots - Another great crunchy addition with the added nutritional benefits of carrots.
Cabbage slaw mixture - If you want to make this meal even easier and skip chopping anything, this would also make this recipe extremely kid-friendly, and just get a bag of pre-mixed coleslaw. I do this often when my body doesn't want to cooperate.
- Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
- Eat within 5 days.
- Do Not Freeze.
- If making ahead, store pasta and dressing separate.
Why you'll love this salad:
- Can be made gluten-free.
- Kid-friendly and approved.
- Ridiculously quick & easy to make.
- You can make it your own by adding any veggies you want.
- It can be made ahead of time.
❓Frequently Asked Questions
Around 4-5 days. Most food starts to lose flavor after day 3, and it is not recommended that you freeze this salad.
Your pasta needs to be nearly dry before you place them into the sauce, if the noodles are still wet, water will mix with the sauce and make it too runny. Also make sure you're not over cooking your noodles.
Creamy Vegan Mac Salad
- Start by cooking your pasta according to package directions.2 cups macaroni noodles
- While the pasta is cooking, grab a medium-size bowl and start making the sauce.
- To the bowl add: mayo, mustard, dill relish, sugar, salt & pepper, and lemon juice and mix well and until sugar is dissolved, then set aside. If serving next day, store dressing and pasta separately and mix the day of.1 cup vegan mayo,2 tablespoons mustard,1 tablespoon sugar,pinch of salt and pepper
- Next, cut up or prepare any veggies you are adding. In this case, dice up some bell pepper.
- Once the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat immediately and drain. Then run super cold water over them until they are completely cooled. Drain well.2 cups macaroni noodles
- Once the noodles are good and drained, add them to the dressing and mix until the noodles are coated in sauce.
- Throw in any veggies at this time and mix well once more.
- Serve and enjoy!
- For Gluten-free - use gluten-free pasta. Keep in mind that some gluten-free pasta's dry out quickly and aren't as great the next day.
- Want spicy? - Add a tablespoon of jarred or fresh jalapenos. I typically use the jarred just because of the extra juice and vinegar.
- To make things easier - use a bagged coleslaw mix in place of bell peppers. You get more options as well as the crunch factor!
- Do Not Freeze
- Refrigerate - up to 5 days in an air-tight container.
This post was originally published on Jan 5, 2021. It has been updated on March 13, 2022 with new photos and some changes.
Check out some of my other delicious salads!