Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad #pasta #macaroni #salad #gluten-free #plant-based #vegan #oil-free #wfpb #recipe #side #wfpbno #tailgating #cookouts #summer #recipes

She might be surprised to read this, but my sister inspired this delightful recipe for Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad.  It’s seasoned just right; there’s nothing complicated or fussy about it at all. Just like my dear sister, this recipe is refreshingly approachable. It’s dressed in a lite and creamy cashew mayo dressing that leaves you wanting another bite. With a freshly chopped rainbow of fresh veggie color scattered throughout, this salad makes a gorgeous presentation.

Our Mom was undoubtedly a terrific cook but she knew when somebody else knocked it out of the park.  My big sister received Mom’s nod of approval for her macaroni salad. The salad she made had elbow-shaped macaroni noodles, peas, celery and maybe carrots.  And her dressing was a tastefully lite and mild mayonnaise-based dressing.  I remember how good it was and more than that, I remember how much our Mom looked forward to it.

I recall one thing in particular about my sister’s salad that our Mom appreciated, aside from it being noodles; Mom loved noodles, dumplings and anything bread-like. Anyhow, I remember her mentioning the finely chopped vegetables in the salad, especially the celery.  Some think that celery tastes bland. In many dishes, however, celery is the backup singer the star of the show doesn’t quite sound the same without.

Celery Aids In Weight Loss

According to this post from NutritionFacts.org,  “Celery adds bulk and flavor to meals while being low in calories. A study set to find out whether celery took more energy to digest, assimilate and store than the calories it contains. They found that the 16 calories in about two cups of celery took 14 calories to digest, leaving two calories. Combined with its high fiber and water content, celery is helpful in a diet for weight loss or management.”

Hmm… who knew?  I don’t think my Mom was aware of that intriguing detail, but I do think she appreciated the little bit of salty crunch celery added to the bowl.  Celery is an excellent substitute for table salt, by the way, so if you’re trying to cut down on sprinkling salt over your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, try adding a bit of celery to your favorite recipes.

What’s the Secret Sauce in Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad?

In this updated version of the classic side dish I remember my Mom enjoying so much, I did the unthinkable… I took away the mayonnaise. Gasp.  But wait, there’s a reasonable explanation for such a drastic makeover move, I promise. 

Traditionally jarred mayonnaise typically has A LOT of oil listed in its ingredients.  And since for better health, I am trying to reduce the amount of refined oil that I consume, I took the store-bought jarred stuff out and substituted my delicious and nutritious homemade Raw Oil-Free Cashew Mayonnaise.

At my house, we’ve fallen head over heels for my Raw Oil-Free Cashew Mayonnaise, and I bet you will, too. With only 30 calories per tablespoon and 2.4 grams of fat, this mayo blows the pants off of the jarred competition! And it tastes like a bite of heaven when used as the dressing in this recipe for my gluten-free Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad. Also, there is not a drop of refined oil in my mayo!  Hello, to the clear arteries and a healthy heart in my aging future!

Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad #mcdougal #pasta #rice #noodles #gluten-free #sweet #peppers #macaroni #salad #cashew #oil-free #wfpbno #wfpb #entertaining #party #side #recipes

As for the noodles, I choose to use gluten-free rice noodles because of the dietary needs of my family. If you’d prefer a different type of noodle, by all means, use whatever variety suits you best.

For the veggies in addition to the celery, I use green spring onions, red, yellow and orange sweet peppers and green peas.  Come to think of it; I’m pretty sure my sister used onion in her macaroni salad, too. So there’s one more similarity I believe my Mom would have liked.

And in case you are wondering, the reason I use all of these different colors of sweet peppers is to create a confetti rainbow experience. Use whatever sweet peppers you have on hand, but if you have the opportunity, do try the three lovely colors of peppers.

Aside from the colorful peppers and the subbing of the homemade Raw Oil-Free Cashew Mayonnaise, this salad is just like I remember it tasting as a kid.  And I get why my Mom loved it so.

Happy eating!

Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad #side #salad #cookout #picnic #make-ahead #cashew #mayonnaise #recipes #easy #simple #comfort food #gluten-free #wfpb #wfpbno #recipes #lunch #meal #planning

More DELICIOUS Plant-Based Recipes!

Here are a few more entree and side recipes you’ll enjoy:

Cucumber Mint & Tomato Salad

Mama’s Vegan Southern-Style Potato Salad

Roasted Steak-y Mushroom Kale Salad

Collard Wrap Salad Bowl

Peanutty Broccoli Buckwheat Bowl

Blackberry Basil Bowl with Balsamic Dressing

Vegan Tempeh Buffalo Bowl

Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad #macaroni #salad #vegan #plant-based #gluten-free #wfpb #wfpbno #side #recipe #recipes #meal #planning #make-ahead #lunch #lunchbox

Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad

  • 30
  • 12
    Cook Time:
  • Yield: 8 Servings

Oil-Free Confetti Macaroni Salad is kind of like that one you get from the deli only WAY better tasting and WAY healthier, too!  Loaded with fun elbow noodles, you can opt to make this dish gluten-free just by using rice noodles.  And once you taste the dairy-free dressing in this lovely rainbow-speckled vegan bowl, you’ll wow yourself with your snappy culinary skills!   This recipe is a super make-ahead dish to help you meal plan, and it’s also perfect when entertaining.   This recipe makes enough for eight servings of about one and one-half cups each.


  • 16 oz bag of elbow shaped gluten-free rice noodles or another noodle of choice - cooked according to package directions
  • one batch of homemade of Raw Oil-Free Cashew Mayonnaise or about 1 1/2 cups of store-bought plant-based mayonnaise
  • 1 cup of frozen green peas, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup of celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup each of diced red, yellow and orange sweet peppers  
  • 1/3 cup or about 4 or 5  green onions/spring onions, green and white parts chopped into tiny rings
  • a dash of pink Himalayan Sea salt, or another salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, about 2 tbsp or so, or to taste... it adds a nice brightness
  • optional 3 or 4 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley as a garnish


  1. Cook the pasta or choice according to the package directions and drain.  And while the pasta cooks, make the highly recommended batch of homemade Raw Oil-Free Cashew Mayonnaise.  Thaw and drain the frozen green peas.
  2. Place the rinsed and drained pasta in a large mixing bowl and stir in the tasty homemade mayonnaise until combined. I'm shamelessly plugging the homemade mayo, plug, plug, plug because it's that good! And I'd hate for you to miss the chance of tasting this salad at its optimal best!
  3. Now stir in the thawed green peas, chopped celery, the virtual rainbow of sweet peppers, and green onion.  Gently toss the mayo-dressed pasta and fresh raw veggies to combine.  Season with salt, pepper, and drizzle with the lemon juice and stir gently, tasting to adjust as you like.  Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and enjoy!



% DV

Calories Per Serving: 340
  • Total Fat 9.1 g 14 %
  • Saturated Fat 1.7 g 9 %
  • Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
  • Sodium 237.9 mg 10 %
  • Carbohydrates 57.7 g 19 %
  • Fiber 4.9 g 20 %
  • Sugar 4.8 g ---
  • Protein 9.6 g 19 %
  • Vitamin A 27 %
  • Vitamin C 133%
  • Iron 15 %
  • Calcium 3 %

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