Learn how to make creamy macaroni salad with an allergy-friendly twist! Only seven ingredients in this dairy-free macaroni salad recipe! Sweetened with apples and kept tart with pickles, this macaroni salad recipe is simple, creamy, and the perfect addition to any summertime barbeque.
This dairy-free macaroni salad is the perfect throw-together dish to bring with you to a summer gathering (along with a strawberry daiquiri mocktail!).
It's whipped up quickly (and tastes even better if it's been sitting in the fridge), and it has a unique sweet and salty flavor that's a hit alongside any main dish.
As a Certified Nutrition Coach, it's one that I use frequently for any large gathering.
You'll Love This Recipe Because:
- the salad comes together in minimal time (under thirty minutes before chilling)
- can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a few days
- gluten-free noodles that don't stick together
- naturally dairy-free but can be made into vegan macaroni salad easily
- makes the perfect addition to a picnic (and check out these cutest picnic ideas!)
Ingredients You'll Need
Quinoa pasta: you specifically want to go with quinoa pasta to make this dairy-free pasta salad. This is because quinoa noodles are most similar to "regular" noodles and one of the only gluten-free variations that don't stick together once chilled! Plus, they provide a little plant-based protein to the recipe!
Celery: use up that extra celery in the fridge to give some added crunch to the recipe!
Apples: apples help keep the dairy-free macaroni salad sweet which is a nice pairing for any main course.
Pickles: hear me out, adding pickles to pasta salad gives a wonderful flavor burst!
Peppers: use any bell peppers you wish, they add a pop of color and a bit of extra nutrients.
Dairy-free mayo: if you want a healthy mayo, Primal Kitchen is the way to go. Their mayo is avocado oil-based making it a great switch from traditional canola oil mayonnaise. If you want to make this a vegan macaroni salad recipe, opt for a chosen foods vegan mayo here.
Brown mustard: this gives the classic macaroni salad its flavor!
Step By Step Photos
Important Teaching Tips
You do need to make sure that your mayo matches your dietary restrictions (especially if you want a vegan macaroni salad).
Make sure to use quinoa noodles as they won't stick together or become mushy when chilled.
The good news is that Costco (here in Canada anyways!) actually carries both primal kitchen mayo and quinoa noodles. They're one of my favorite Costco food buys.
Most mayonnaises don't typically contain dairy. They do, however, contain canola oil which is inflammatory to our bodies and cannot be broken down.
The other option is to opt for homemade mayonnaise which is a great healthy option too!
How Do You Make It From Scratch?
- Cook the noodles until just soft.
- Chop all the veggies.
- Whip together the dressing.
- Add everything into a large bowl and mix well.
- Let sit in the fridge to chill for 2 hours up to 24 hours.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Dairy-Free Macaroni Salad
If you have the time, chill your ingredients (everything except the dressing) in the fridge prior to mixing with the mayonnaise. This makes it so that the noodles don't absorb the mayonnaise as much. Thus, your salad will end up creamier. While this isn't necessary, it does make a tastier salad. However, mixing all at once and then chilling still works when you're in a time pinch.
The only swap you need to make this recipe a vegan macaroni salad is to ensure you purchase a vegan mayo (preferably one that's avocado oil-based!).
Because this macaroni salad recipe has pickles in it, the vinegar isn't needed.
Other Dairy-Free Recipes You'll Love
- Curried coleslaw
- Easy side dishes
- Veggie and quinoa wrap
- Homemade basil pesto
- Chicken pesto pasta
- Slow cooker chicken alfredo
- Dairy-free alfredo sauce
- 33 weeknight dinners
- The best recipes for busy moms
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Classic Macaroni Salad (dairy and gluten-free)
- Salad tongs
- Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain, rinse and cool in the fridge.
- Add in all the diced veggies and mix.
- Whisk together the mayo and mustard and mix into the pasta.
- Mix very, very well until everything is combined.
- Let set in the fridge overnight or at least 6 hours,
- If you have time, mix all the ingredients for the macaroni salad except the dressing and chill briefly (30 minutes to one hour) in the fridge. Add in the dressing afterward and return to the fridge. This makes for a creamier pasta salad as the mayonnaise does not absorb the dressing as much.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container. It should last 4-5 days.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data"
Pasta salad is a summertime staple but it’s a bit of a cry-worthy situation if you have a dairy allergy. This recipe removes all the major allergen worries and can easily be made into a vegan macaroni salad..
It’s creamy, and delicious and the bit of pickle gives it a great (but addictive) tangy-ness.