Macaroni salad is a classic American favorite, perfect for barbecues, summer get togethers, and holidays. This version takes under 15 minutes to make; and is vegan and gluten free – meeting almost any dietary restrictions your guests may have.
This salad is creamy, delicious, and easy-to-make – utilizing dressing ingredients that are pantry staples. It is a crowd-pleasing favorite, just select the right noodles and it tastes identical to the classic favorite you’re used to.
How to Make Gluten Free Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad has never been easier! Prepare the gluten free noodles according to the package directions and allow them to cool. Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Then, fold the dressing over top and mix until combined.
Gluten Free Noodle Preparation Tips
Cooking gluten free noodles can be a little bit trickier than cooking regular pasta due to their tendency to stick together. Use the quick tips below to help ensure your gluten free pasta tastes just like the real thing:
- Use a large pot, allowing the noodles extra room.
- Salt the water (a couple teaspoons works great for 1 lb noodles); providing additional flavor to your noodles.
- Stir the noodles consistently for the first minute they are cooking. Stir often throughout the rest of the cooking process as well.
- Do not overcook noodles – cook only until al dente – paying close attention to the time given on the box.
- Drain the noodles. Rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
How to Serve
Serving macaroni salad is super simple! Macaroni salad should be served cold. Serve it in a large bowl, with a large spoon. I prefer to use a large white bowl, so the colors of the ingredients look nice/stand out.
Gluten Free Macaroni Salad Ingredients
This recipe uses two sets of ingredients. The salad ingredients and the dressing ingredients. The salad contains: cooked macaroni noodles, chopped celery, minced red onion, shredded carrots, diced sweet pickles, and a chopped red bell pepper.
The dressing is the standard American classic (mayonnaise based): mayonnaise, yellow mustard, sugar, vinegar, and a dash of salt and black pepper.
Macaroni Salad Mix-ins & Variations
One customization that some people choose for their macaroni salad is to try a different dressing (particularly popular with those who do not like mayonnaise); preferably your favorite vinaigrette. This can also make for a lighter, more fresh tasting macaroni salad.
If you are looking for more nutrition value, color, or flavor, additional fresh vegetables or herbs can be incorporated. Some favorites include frozen peas, black olives, and sliced green onions.
If you would like some extra protein in yours, some additional mix-ins that can be included are sliced hard boiled eggs, sliced rotisserie chicken, cheese cubes, shrimp, or beans/tofu (for a vegan version with additional protein).
I wouldn’t make this more than a day in advance of serving or you may find the noodles to get hard. If you’d like to make it more than one day I advance, I’d recommend prepping the ingredients and dressing only. Then the day of, make the noodles and mix everything together.
This salad should be stored in the refrigerator prior to serving. As mentioned above, I do not recommend making this more than a day in advance.
This salad can sit out for two hours or less when serving and will keep about a day in the refrigerator.
By adding extra protein such as sliced hard boiled eggs, sliced rotisserie chicken, cheese cubes, shrimp, or beans/tofu (for a vegan version).
By adding additional fresh vegetables or herb such as frozen peas, black olives, or sliced green onions.
More Gluten Free Party Food
You can serve gluten free with ease! In the past few years, the availability of gluten free products has skyrocketed; making it easy for you to make your favorite party recipes with a couple simple tweaks. For more delicious party recipes try:
- Watermelon Feta Basil Salad with Blueberry Balsamic
- Easy Mozzarella Melon Prosciutto Skewers
- Healthy Fruit Salsa and Gluten Free Cinnamon Chips
- And more favorites from my gluten free party recipes list
Here’s to a classic party favorite easily tweaked to be gluten free and regaining our sparkle together,
Gluten Free Macaroni Salad
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise , I used Sir Kensington’s
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 2/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup vinegar
- dash of salt and black pepper
- 4 cups gluten free macaroni noodles , cooled*, I used Barilla® elbows
- ½ cup thinly chopped celery
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ¼ cup diced sweet pickles
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- Whisk together dressing ingredients.
- Mix together macaroni salad ingredients.
- Fold in macaroni salad dressing until fully combined.
- Vegan: frozen peas, black olives, green onions, tofu/beans (for protein)
- Other: hard boiled eggs, sliced rotisserie chicken, cheese cubes