This quick and creamy macaroni salad is great for lunch boxes, picnics, BBQs and as a side 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.
- It's quick and easy to make
- It's full of salad vegetables
- It has a creamy vegan dressing
- It tastes great
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.
PASTA COOKING TIPS
Follow these easy tips for the best pasta salad:
- Boil water in a large pan.
- Have plenty of water in the pan. Don't just cover the pasta, it needs room to move about in the boiling water.
- Salt the water.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Shake the pasta until you have removed as much water as possible before dressing.
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
- On its own in a lunch box.
- One the side with pizza and a green salad.
- With a vegan burger and potato wedges.
- With kebab vegetables.
- As part of a picnic spread.
- As part of a BBQ table.
- As part of a buffet.
- With a puff pastry tart and baby potatoes.
- On the side with a vegan hot dog.
also check out Kid- Friendly School Lunch Plan for Vegan Kids
HOW LONG WILL MACARONI SALAD KEEP?
CAN I FREEZE MACARONI SALAD?
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HOW TO MAKE VEGAN MACARONI SALAD
Vegan Macaroni Salad
- 125 g dried elbow macaroni see notes for other pasta options
- ½ red pepper sliced and diced
- 3 tbsp cooked sweetcorn
- 3 tbsp cooked chickpeas
- 6 tbsp vegan mayo
- handful fresh basil leaves chopped
- pinch salt and pepper
- Cook and rinse your pasta until it's cold and glossy.
- Prep your veg and add the pasta and veg to a large bowl.
- Add fresh basil and mayo to the bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix well and taste to check the seasoning.
- 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.
- It would serve 2 for lunch or 4 as a side.