Vegan Macaroni Salad

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Macaroni shells on a blue background for making Vegan Pasta Salad

Just as much as it’s not summer without pool days, it’s not summer without a good pasta salad.

Usually the things are laden with heavy dairy products, but not this one! It’s completely dairy-free and loaded with the perfect combo of crispy veg. Pasta heaven in a bowl.

Plus, it comes with a VIDEO!

Bowl of our Easy Vegan Macaroni Pasta Salad recipe

Sliced celery, bell pepper, and red onion for making our Vegan Macaroni Salad recipe

If you enjoyed this video, be sure to check out my first one for Vegan Chai Ice Cream. I’m getting really into the video/editing process and having a blast doing it. So stay tuned for more in the near future!

Series of photos showing the components of our Vegan Macaroni Pasta Salad

So, back to the salad.

It’s simple, requiring just 30 minutes start to finish and just over 10 ingredients (depending on what spices you go with). The result is a light, fresh pasta salad with a tofu-based dressing that no one would ever guess was dairy-free. And the veggies? Perfectly crisp and uber colorful. Classic macaroni salad made vegan – ’nuff said.

Where might you take this pasta salad? A barbecue, a summer shindig, a lake day, a picnic, in yo lunch, camping… You get the idea. Make this salad and take it with you everywhere this summer. Cheers!

Small bowl of our simple Vegan Macaroni Pasta Salad

Vegan Macaroni Salad

30-minute vegan pasta salad loaded with colorful veg and tossed in a dairy-free, undetectably tofu-based dressing. Perfect for summer shindigs, cookouts, and picnics.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Wooden spoon in a bowl of Vegan Macaroni Salad
4.75 from 62 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Course Salad, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

  • 4 cups elbow macaroni shells (GF for gluten-free eaters)
  • 1/2 medium red pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup celery (diced)
  • 1/4 cup red or green onion (diced)
  • 1 cup silken firm tofu (make sure it’s silken or it won’t blend right)
  • 2-3 Tbsp dried dill*
  • 3-4 Tbsp agave nectar or cane sugar (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, black pepper & garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar (white wine is best)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp spicy mustard (for tang)
  • Water (to thin)

Instructions

  • Cook noodles according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
  • Chop veggies and set aside.
  • Prepare dressing by adding silken tofu, dill, salt, pepper, garlic powder, agave nectar (or sugar), vinegar, oil, and spicy mustard to a blender and blending until well combined. Scrape down sides as needed. If having trouble blending add water in Tablespoon amounts until it has enough liquid to churn properly.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added more dill, mustard, salt and agave.
  • Toss drained noodles and veggies with the dressing in a large serving bowl. Chill for at least 1-2 hours before serving. The flavors will meld and the salad will thicken up the longer it chills.
  • Serves 8 (as original recipe is written). Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a few days.

Notes

* You can sub 4-5 Tbsp fresh dill in place of 2-3 Tbsp dried.
* Inspiration from Pioneer Woman
* Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 226 Carbohydrates: 37 g Protein: 7.8 g Fat: 5 g Saturated Fat: 0.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 86 mg Fiber: 2.2 g Sugar: 5.9 g

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  1. Brittany says

    For added protein those who want a soy free and nut free alternative, you could try hemp seeds and nondairy milk for the dressing! Also, chickpea elbow macaroni could be used for added protein.

  2. Barbara says

    Delicious and easy! It’s amazing what silken tofu can do. Thanks for the great recipe that will now be part of my summer repertoire!

  3. Jennifer says

    This looks great, but what does 4 Cups of macaroni mean? Is that dry macaroni? How many ounces is that? Did you use 2 different shapes of pasta in the recipe—-it looks like that in the photo, if so, how much of each different shape? Two different shapes would need to be cooked separately due to timing, wouldn’t they?

    Love your recipes! They are always a ‘go to’ for me. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jennifer! 4 cups of dry noodles is the measurement we got in combination with the sauce and other flavors in this macaroni salad, but one normal size box of macaroni (~16 oz dry) should work great! We’d suggest just using one kind. Thanks for the kind compliments, we’re glad you enjoy our recipes! xo

  4. Kendall S. says

    WOW!! i can’t express how delicious this is!!! i used soaked cashews (boiled raw cashews for 10 mins) instead of tofu and it came out perfectly! *chef’s kiss* this is perfect as a side dish or a main meal! would highly highly recommend!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoyed, Kendall! Thanks for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications. xo

  5. Vicky says

    This tasted like a legit macaroni salad with mayo! the only difference I’d say was that it became a bit dry next day, but still good!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Vicky! If using GF macaroni, some brands are more prone to drying out than others. If that’s the case, perhaps try another brand to see if that helps.

  6. Faustina says

    I just made this salad and it was great! The only substitution I made was that I used sweet yellow onions instead of red or green. I used fresh dill as suggested. The dressing was super easy to make.

  7. Donna says

    I loved how simple this recipe was. My advice to anyone making this is to remember you can always add, but you can’t take away; I used 2 tbsp of agave nectar and the result was so sweet that I needed to up all of the seasonings to counterbalance it. I’m glad I didn’t add 3 or even 4! I found it needed nearer to 1 tsp of salt, not 1/4 tsp, and a good bit more than 1/4 tsp of pepper and garlic powder too. Not every recipe is exactly to everyone’s tastes, but this one is a great basis for you to tweak the amounts on and create a salad that’s just right for you.

  8. Susan says

    So good! And even more delicious the next day! The dressing could be used for so many other things. Potato salad? Thank you for sharing.

  9. Al says

    Hi, just wondering if you could recommend a substitute for dill? I love it, but my partner won’t go near it!

    Thanks in advance! 😊

  10. Kate Briquelet says

    This recipe was pretty good, but if you blend the mixture in your Vitamix too long, the sauce turns green. Just a warning for everyone out there. Next time, I will add the dill at the end. Also, maybe make sure you cook the noodles al dente. Mine turned out a bit soft.

  11. Anna says

    Wow. I was craving macaroni salad and decided to make some this weekend. I thought I was going to have to use vegan mayo which I try not to consume too much of. Then I stumbled across this recipe. So glad I did! It was so stinkin’ good. The silken tofu instead of mayo base was delicious. My whole Texan meat loving family loved it.

  12. Sandy Lynn Stevens says

    I bought silken tofu – and opened it- by mistake. I tooled around on the internet for a recipe that wasn’t a dessert (no sweet tooth) and found this. Even though I didn’t have red pepper, I had most of the other ingredients (only about 1/2 cup diced celery and used umi vinegar. Boy oh boy, was I surprised how good this is! I did add between 2 – 3 Tb spicy mustard and might even increase it next time too. I will be buying silken tofu on purpose to make this again. Thank you minimalist baker – your recipes are fabulous!

  13. Gm says

    I have not made this yet however I would love to know why it is soooooo many people (not just here) Say they made your recipe but also state they Added this, subtracted that, modified this and that, etc.? I noticed only one comment from someone who said Correctly that they used your recipe as a “base“ and added additional items to it. I mean come on if you take a recipe and you make multiple changes Or even one single change you’re no longer making that recipe. ?

  14. Kelly says

    Have you ever made the dressing the day before and then combined it with the macaroni/veggies just before serving? (looking for a way to save time day of a big family meal)

  15. Aamna Rashid says

    i cant believe how good this tasted! i made this for some friends coming over as well as my family, and everyone loved it. i will definitely be making this again – especially since its so easy and quick to make. thank you!

  16. Gene says

    Dana, Thank you for this recipe! I made this recipe this afternoon. Used 12 oz silken tofu and adjusted other Ingredients accordingly. I saved water from draining pasta and used that to thin the dressing. Also added sliced olives because I like them. It was delicious! Perfect for a hot summer supper. Thanks again!

  17. Kristen says

    I was craving macaroni salad for the first time in years and found this — and lo and behold, just yesterday my coworker had brought in bags of fresh dill, so I had fresh dill on hand. :) I love the dill flavor, and the tanginess from the mustard and vinegar! I’ve never used silken tofu before except in vegan desserts so I was surprised to find that I, too, could make it into a tasty dressing. ;D

    Though the four cups macaroni was a LOT and I had to dredge out the giant Tupperware to hold it all, and I would have honestly made a little more dressing (maybe half again as much?) to get the dressing to coat everything just a tiny bit more cream-ily, because after sitting in the fridge, it lost a lot of that “macaroni salad” texture. But the flavor of the dressing was outstanding and my omnivore friends and family enjoyed the end product, so it’s a win. I would DEFINITELY recommend using the fresh dill if you can find it!

  18. Nicole says

    This was yummy, very classic. It’s magical that there’s sneaky hidden tofu, I love it. I used a whole red pepper and saw a lot of comments regarding sweetness so only used 1.5 tbs maple syrup. Will add more mustard next time to give it more tang/flavor. Didn’t have garlic powder so blended in a clove. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Kara T. says

    This was a solid base, but it really didn’t come together until we added a few tbs of sweet relish, 1 tsp of dried parsley, 1/4 c soy free vegenaise, and 1/4 tsp paprika. NOW it’s phenomenal and I love that there’s protein!