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An easy-to-make Vegan Macaroni Salad with just 4 ingredients plus salt and pepper to taste! This gluten-free pasta salad is a perfect side for your favorite vegan summer fare including veggie burgers, tofu kebabs, grilled portobello sandwiches and more.
Is it grilling season where you live?
I wouldn’t exactly call the weather we are having in New Jersey “grilling season” per se, but we do get some intermittent good grilling days here and there. You know, in between bouts of temperatures in the mid 40s and crazy wind storms.
Luckily, if you want to enjoy some macaroni salad, you don’t need a grill to do so!
Of course, nothing beats the experience of enjoying an outdoor BBQ with friends and family, and this pasta salad is a perfect addition to your party menu.
So, basically what I’m saying is that you can enjoy this simple macaroni salad any time you’d like. 😉
Now for a little history…
So, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t give props to my dad for creating this macaroni salad. Of course, his was not gluten-free or vegan, but he laid the groundwork so I’ve got to give him a shout-out. So, thanks Dad! 🙂
Ingredients needed to make this vegan pasta salad
Unlike most traditional macaroni salads, there are no onions or bell peppers in this recipe. In fact, there are only 4 main ingredients aside from salt and pepper. They are: gluten-free elbow macaroni, vegan mayonnaise, carrots and scallions.
Truth be told, you just don’t need anything else. The sweetness of the carrots and the subtle onion-y flavor of the scallions complement each other perfectly. Throw in some salt and pepper for some balance and you’re all set!
What gluten-free elbow macaroni is best to use?
You can use any gluten-free elbow macaroni; however, not all brands are created equal. Some get a little too hard after being rinsed or soak up too much of the mayo after being refrigerated, especially for more than one day. Personally, my favorite brands to use for the best texture are Modern Table and Bionaturae.
Does the pasta shape have to be elbows?
No, this macaroni salad does not have to be made with elbow noodles. In fact, I’ve made it with Modern Table’s rotini shape as well as Chickapea’s shells. Feel free to experiment with shapes, but one thing I would recommend is to stick with shapes that are similar in size to the elbows.
How to make vegan macaroni salad
Start by boiling water and cooking gluten-free pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, chop carrots and scallion into large pieces.
Of course, I’m all about making things easy, so I put the carrots and scallion in the food processor for a nice ride. Scallions may not be so difficult to chop, but grating carrots? That is not a fun time. It’s like waiting for water to boil except your fingers get dangerously close to a very sharp object. 😉
When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water in a colander. Stir the pasta so that the additional water drains as well. Allow to stand about 1-2 minutes. Then, add pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add carrot and scallion mixture.
Then, add mayo.
Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. When you are ready to serve, mix in additional mayo and garnish with chopped scallions and paprika, if desired.
What to serve with this vegan and gluten-free pasta salad
Vegan Macaroni Salad [Gluten-Free]
- 8 oz. gluten-free elbow macaroni (I recommend Modern Table or Bionaturae)
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 1 tbsp scallion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise, divided (I recommend Earth Balance or Follow Your Heart)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Start by boiling water and cooking gluten-free pasta according to package directions (times range depending on brand). When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water in a colander. Stir the pasta so that the additional water drains as well. Allow to stand about 1-2 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, finely chop carrot and scallion pieces in a food processor using the pulse setting. You can also use a food chopper.
- Add pasta to a large mixing bowl. Stir in carrot and scallion mixture, followed by 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- When you are ready to serve, mix in additional 2 tablespoons mayo and garnish as desired.
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