Mayo-Free Vegan Macaroni Salad with Peas is healthy and easy to make. Meal prep this recipe for BBQs, potlucks, picnics, or camping trips. The oil-free dressing is creamy and addictive. Try it in all your favorite salads.
This is not your classic macaroni salad. For one, it's vegan. Plus, it skips the vegan mayonnaise and uses almonds for the creamy dressing. This unique dressing, with the addition of tangy sweet pickle juice, is a keeper.
Make this recipe for a packed lunch. The small size of the elbow macaroni and chopped veggies make it an easy meal to eat on-the-go.
- Sweet pickles add a delightful crunch, and a burst of flavor to this dish. They are optional, but highly recommended.
- Pickle juice is the liquid that the jarred sweet pickles come in. It's a budget-friendly way to add a hint of sweetness, and a refreshing tang to the mayo-free dressing.
- Green peas are an ideal option for adding protein to a salad because of their small size and versatile flavor.
- Crunchy red onion, bell pepper, and celery compliment this macaroni salad perfectly.
See recipe card for quantities.
Soak the almonds in boiling hot water for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the veggies small dice, and equal in size. This way, you get a bit of everything in each bite.
Cook the elbow pasta until al dente. Do not overcook or the salad might be mushy. Add the green peas to the pasta in the last minute of cooking. Then, drain the macaroni and peas and run them under cold water to cool.
Combine the pickles, red onion, green peas, elbow macaroni, bell pepper, dill, and celery in a large bowl.
Drain the almonds. Blend them with Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, mustard and onion powders, pickle juice, and water in a high-speed blender until smooth.
Pour the dressing into the bowl with the salad ingredients.
Mix well to combine. Serve room temperature or chilled.
- Macaroni - short cut pasta is perfect for this salad–use penne or bow tie instead
- Sweet pickles - these add a touch of sweetness and balance this dish perfectly, but they are optional
- Pickle juice - substitute with maple syrup to taste as needed
- Fresh dill - Fresh herbs brighten this salad. Use one quarter cup fresh parsley, or 1 tablespoon dried dill instead as needed.
- Sweet green peas - substitute with roasted chickpeas for protein, or omit entirely
- Bell pepper - use red, yellow, green, or orange
- Spicy - add sriracha to the dressing for a kick
The almonds in the dressing blend a lot quicker and smoother with a high-speed blender. There tends to be a lot of blending in vegan recipes, and a good quality blender gives the best results. Therefore, it is a worthwhile investment if you plan on eating more plant-based meals. Research different high-speed blenders based on reviews, and choose the best one you can afford.
Refrigerate any remaining Mayo-Free Vegan Macaroni Salad with Peas in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
This salad stands up well to freezing. Store leftovers in a freezer proof container and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
💡 Top tip
Cook the pasta until al dente, and run the drained pasta under cold water to prevent further cooking. This will prevent the salad from being mushy.
Yes! You can freeze leftovers and defrost them later to eat. Store in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Prep this salad up to one day ahead of time. Store the celery, red onion, and bell pepper together, and the chopped pickles in a separate container. Cook the pasta and peas, run them under cold water, and drain well. Add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent them from sticking. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
Blend the dressing and store separately. You may need to add water or a drizzle of oil to the dressing before combining. Mix for serving. Add fresh dill.
Sweet pickles are gherkins (a close relative of cucumber) packed in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices. They have a distinct, slightly tangy taste with a hint of sweetness. They are sold in jars in their pickling liquid (pickle juice).
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Vegan Macaroni Salad with Peas (No Mayo)
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1 ½ cups frozen green peas
- 5 ribs celery small dice
- 1 large bell pepper small dice
- 8 to 10 sweet pickles chopped (optional)
- ½ medium red onion small dice (about ¾ cup)
- ¼ cup fresh dill chopped
For the creamy no-mayo dressing:
- ¾ cup raw almonds unsalted
- 3 tablespoons pickle juice* or maple syrup to taste
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ cup whole grain mustard
- Salt to taste
- Soak almonds: Place the almonds in a small saucepan with water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat. Set aside for at least 10 minutes. Drain.
- Cook pasta and peas: Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet until al dente. Add the peas to the cooking pasta in the last minute of cooking. Then, drain the macaroni and peas and run them under cold water to cool. Drain well.
- Combine salad ingredients: Add the pasta, green peas, celery, pepper, pickles, red onion, and dill to a large bowl. Set aside.
- Make dressing: Pour 1 cup water into a blender. Add the pickle juice, soaked almonds, Dijon, onion powder, and mustard powder. Blend on high until smooth, adding more pickle juice or water as needed until the desired consistency. Transfer the dressing to a medium bowl. Mix in the whole grain mustard. Season with salt to taste.
- For serving: Add the dressing to the macaroni salad and mix well until fully incorporated. Serve room temperature or chilled.
- Pasta: Use elbows, bow tie, or penne. Do not overcook the pasta or the salad might become mushy.
- Pickle juice is the liquid that the jarred sweet pickles come in. Substitute with maple syrup to taste if you omit the pickles.
- Meal prep: Store the chopped celery, red onion, and bell pepper together, and the chopped pickles in a separate container. Cook the pasta and peas, run them under cold water, and drain. Add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent them from sticking. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Blend the dressing and store separately. You may need to add water or a drizzle of oil to the dressing before combining.
- Storage: Refrigerate any remaining salad in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Or freeze in a freezer proof container for up to 2 weeks.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.