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I recently attended an event catered by a local BBQ joint.  The restaurant was going to include BBQ tofu and the side dishes were going to be potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, and rolls.  I made a wild guess and figured that, since Just Mayo and Veganaise aren’t mainstream yet, none of the sides would be vegan.  I suppose I could have just eaten the tofu and a roll but I happen to like macaroni salad and so I made my own.

The macaroni salad I make is the best I’ve ever eaten.  I don’t remember where the original recipe came from: I have a recipe card that states “Southern Macaroni Salad” but I’ve had it for years and don’t remember from where I copied the recipe.  I’ve improved on it and veganized it since the first time I’ve made it and the salad is a staple during the summer months.  It goes with everything, travels well to potlucks, and is so popular it never stays around long.


It looks simple but it’s sooooo tasty


I wasn’t the only vegan at this event and I was stoked to share my salad but a little nervous as well.  I was throwing it together at the last minute and didn’t have elbow macaroni.  It was late and, as I didn’t want to make a special trip to the grocery store, I subbed penne pasta.  I cooked the pasta just until it was al dente, thinking it would soften in the salad and I didn’t want it getting soggy.  It didn’t soften and was still a bit chewy in the morning.  Not inedible but definitely chewy.  I was hesitant about offering something less than perfect to another person but my worry was for naught.  My new vegan friend liked the salad and, in fact, asked for the recipe.

Here it it:

Kate’s Always Popular Macaroni Salad

4 cups uncooked macaroni noodles

1 cup vegan mayo ( I like Just Mayo)

1/3 cup sugar

2 TBSP pomegranate infused vinegar*

1/4 cup dijon mustard

2 tsp salt and pepper

2 stalks celery, finely diced

1 small-medium shallot, finely diced

1 carrot, grated

  1.  Bring the pasta water to boil and cook the macaroni noodles according to package directions-about 8 minutes or until al dente.  Rinse, drain, and set aside.
  2. Whisk the vegan mayo, sugar, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Add celery and shallot.
  3. Add the carrot and mix well.  Add the drained macaroni and combine.  Chill overnight.

*You can use any kind of vinegar but I highly recommend getting pomegranate infused vinegar.  I use it in this recipe and it’s amazing in a marble cake I make.  There’s something about the taste of it that makes this salad addictive.  The salad is still good but it just isn’t the same with another kind of vinegar.  If you can find it, get the pomegranate vinegar.  You won’t be sorry.


My not so secret ingredient. It’s wonderful and not too expensive.