Macaroni salad is a classic American summer side dish. This delicious version is lightened up with tangy veganaise and comes together in about 20 minutes. Macaroni salad is best when it has a few hours to marinate in the refrigerator before serving, so make it a few hours ahead of time if possible. Enjoy!
For the salad:
- 1 pound elbow noodles (or small cut pasta like small shells or ditalini; see note*)
- 1/2 cup minced celery (about 3–4 ribs celery)
- 1 cup minced red bell pepper (about 1 small bell pepper)
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 1/4 cup minced sweet pickles (or 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish)
- 1/4 cup minced black olives
- Optional: 2 tablespoons minced parsley or chives for a little green color
- 1 cup Veganaise (or mayonnaise of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar + 2 tablespoons pickle juice from the sweet pickle jar (or 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar if you don’t have enough pickle juice)
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar (honey also works)
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt (I use Redmond’s Real Salt)
- a few spins of freshly ground black pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon)
- Prepare the noodles according to the package instructions. Immediately drain and rinse them under cold water for a few minutes to cool them off. Drain well for 5-10 minutes until no excess water remains.
- While the noodles cook, prepare the dressing by whisking all of the dressing ingredients together in the bottom of a large mixing bowl (I do this in the bowl I plan to serve the macaroni salad in).
- Mince the veggies. Aim to make them all about the size of the noodles or smaller for the best macaroni salad texture.
- Add the cooled and drained noodles and veggies to the dressing. Toss to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Refrigerate until it’s time to serve.
- Macaroni salad will keep in your refrigerator for up to three days, but it’s best served within 24 hours of making it.
- Macaroni salad is best made with elbow macaroni noodles. Extra small shells or ditalini (small tubes) also work.
- Make this macaroni gluten-free by using gluten-free noodles.
- Make this macaroni salad vegan by using Veganaise.
Keywords: macaroni salad, healthy macaroni salad, pasta salad