Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

July 4th Part One: Macaroni Salad

Plant-based macaroni salad, just in time for the 4th of July. (photos from Deborah Brooks)


Macaroni salad has never been my go to side dish for BBQs, or any other meal for that matter. Most likely due to the cloying, vinegary varieties I’ve sampled at supermarkets and delis that look so sad in the case.  Never been a fan. Never ordered it as a side dish. Never made it at home.

What possessed me to try making a plant based version? I needed a July 4th recipe.

And then I started thinking about July 4th and favorite traditional foods beloved by many, and I thought about macaroni salad.
And then I imagined how I would make a homemade plant-based version of macaroni salad, versus what I’d tasted from the deli case.
And then I imagined eating a big bowl full of the homemade macaroni salad.
And then I went to the market to buy the ingredients for the homemade macaroni salad.
And then I made a big batch of the homemade macaroni salad.
And then I tasted the homemade macaroni salad.
And then I ate a lot of big bowlfuls of the homemade macaroni salad.

And now? I love macaroni salad. I’m obsessed! I’m craving it as I write this. I just had to make it myself to discover that. Good lesson!

This is a traditional macaroni salad. No fancy ingredients. It does take a bit of knife skills ,as I chopped the vegetables, including the carrots, in a small dice. I added jarred sweet pickles and pimentos for extra flavor and texture. Almost equal amounts of mayonnaise and sour cream made it creamy without being cloying. Sherry wine vinegar added that zesty pop without being astringent. Deli mustard instead of Dijon gave it a depth of flavor without the sharp bite of French mustard. In place of added sugar I used some of the sweet pickle brine. And of course, American-made elbow pasta, not my usual imported Italian. Hey, it’s a July 4th recipe!


This is a traditional macaroni salad with simple ingredients, though it does take a bit of knife skills, as I chopped the vegetables, including the carrots, in a small dice.


This macaroni salad will keep for almost a week in the fridge. That’s one of the many benefits of using plant-based ingredients. They don’t spoil as quickly.

Definitely make the salad a few hours ahead to give the flavors time to develop. Remember to stir up before serving.

Next week July 4th Part Two will be the best “cheezeburger” you’ve ever tasted!  Don’t miss it!


Macaroni Salad
1 lb. box elbow macaroni
½ cup diced red onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
¾ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced sweet bread and butter pickles
4 oz. jar pimentos, drained
Macaroni Salad Dressing (recipe follows)

Cook the elbows al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool completely. Let the pasta drain and dry well to prevent a watery macaroni salad.
Meanwhile, chop all of the vegetables and make the dressing.

Soak the onions in cold water 20-30 minutes to eliminate the strong onion bite. Drain the onions well before adding to the salad.

In a large mixing bowl toss the pasta with the dressing first. The add all of the vegetables to help prevent them from falling to the bottom of the bowl. Mix well. Taste for seasoning.

Refrigerate the salad to allow the flavors develop. Stir up before serving.


Macaroni Salad Dressing
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
2/3 cup plant-based sour cream
4 tsp spicy brown (deli) mustard
4 tsp sherry wine vinegar
3 T sweet pickle brine
¾ tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp ground black pepper or to taste

In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir the mayo and sour cream until incorporated. Add the other wet ingredients and mix well.
Add the salt and pepper and taste for seasoning.

I used all of the dressing. You can add as much as you like.


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Deborah Brooks
Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.

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