This red cabbage pasta salad is loaded with fresh celery, carrots, bell pepper, and of course tons of green peas for a great side dish. This pasta salad has a wonderfully creamy ranch dressing, a great crowd pleaser for your next pot luck, bbq, or party!
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What’s better than a sweet and tangy salad that goes great with anything off the BBQ? This Red Cabbage Macaroni Salad is a super fun take on the classic summer side dish. And because its vegan and gluten-free everyone at your table can enjoy it! The dressing is made with a fantastic dairy free ranch dressing – so it has TONS of flavor and is still plant-based.
This Red Cabbage Pasta Salad Recipe Is:
- Loaded with Flavor
- Vegan and gluten free!
- A fun summer side dish, the perfect crowd pleasing dish for your summer BBQ, potluck, or cookout
You can probably tell I love macaroni salad from all the recipes I have on The Herbeevore! I absolutely love it. As a Midwesterner I love all creamy salads, and macaroni salad is one of my favorites that are my go-tos in the summer. For me, no BBQ is complete without pasta salad, macaroni salad, or coleslaw. The combination of crunchy veggies and a creamy tangy dressing make a BBQ complete.
This cabbage macaroni salad is a super bright and fresh take on the classic macaroni salad. The crunchy veggies and pasta pair really well with the creamy ranch dressing. This simmer side dish pasta salad goes great with burgers, dogs, or anything off the BBQ.
What’s In This Cabbage Pasta Salad Recipe?
- Elbow Macaroni Noodles: You can use this gluten free version if you avoid wheat, or use normal macaroni noodles if you can eat wheat. If I’m cooking for a crowd or bringing this dish to a BBQ, I always use gluten free noodles in case anyone there is gluten sensitive… then everyone can enjoy this pasta cabbage mac salad!
- Bell Pepper: If you don’t have fresh peppers, these sweet roasted red peppers are a great substitute! I love adding them to breakfast bakes, sandwiches or wraps, and soups.
- Red Cabbage
- Relish: to give the dish a little sweetness! I like this Chicago style relish which has a nice crunch… and as a Chicagoan myself, I love the bright green color of this relish in my mac salad!
- Apple Cider Vinegar, which gives this dressing a little extra tang which is really fantastic! I love using this organic apple cider vinegar with the mother which has a great flavor. I think it gives a nice extra sweetness and depth.
- Ranch Dressing – I love this gluten free and vegan ranch dressing, which gives this salad an amazing flavor and creaminess!
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt: I like to use a pink Himalayan Sea Salt in my kitchen, which has more natural minerals than plain processed table salt. It’s fairly inexpensive, so I’d recommend this salt if you’re looking for an easy way to level up your spice pantry.
- Tellicherry Black Pepper: Like the salt, it’s amazing the flavor difference you can get with really good tellicherry black pepper. This pepper is the same price is buying pre-ground, and has a million times more flavor! I use these really great tellicherry peppercorns, which I would definitely recommend.
Make Ahead Macaroni Salad for Entertaining!
This vegan mac salad side dish is great for entertaining as it is an easy make-ahead side! It actually takes better the longer it sits. This is great to make a day ahead of your cookout and just grab and go to bring it along. The flavors marry together better when left sitting a while, and the veggies don’t lose any of their crunch! I love Make Ahead Meals (I have a whole recipe collection of them here) and am all in favor of prepping anything ahead of time!
How Do I Make This Cabbage Pasta Salad?
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook to package directions. Rinse with cold water, drain, and set aside until cooled.
In a large bowl add the cooled macaroni and the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. Stir well to combine. Taste for flavor and add any additional spices, salt, or pepper as needed.
Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container. Remove from fridge right before serving.
This is a fun dish that the whole family will love. The macaroni salad provides a little nostalgia for the creamy pasta salads of yesteryear. And since its vegan, gluten free, and dairy free, its friendly to most people with special diets.
- This recipe is vegan, because it calls for vegan mayo and dairy free ranch dressing, but you can absolutely make this with real dairy products if you aren’t vegan or eating dairy free.
- It is gluten free if you are using GF pasta, but you can use any kind of pasta you’d like. Also, you can use any shape you’d like, I prefer the classic macaroni noodle, but a small shell pasta or ditalini will work just fine.
- This is also refined sugar free, since all the sweetness comes from the peas and relish in this dish! If you feel you need extra sweetness you can always stir in a teaspoon of sugar.
We normally do a ton of hosting in the summer on our homestead. I love having big BBQs where we have the smoker going, the charcoals warming, and the beer chilling in the refrigerator. And everyone moves on over to the firepit at night for roasting s’mores. I can’t wait to be able to put a big bowl of his pea and macaroni salad out on the table for our friends.
A Few Other Favorite BBQ Side Dishes:
Get the Same Ingredients I Used For My Vegan Macaroni Salad with Cabbage Recipe!
As always, if you make this Macaroni Cabbage Salad Recipe be sure to leave me a comment, rate this recipe, and tag me @theherbeevore on Instagram so I can feature you. I love seeing all your photos of my recipe recreations!
Red Cabbage Macaroni Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)
- 1 (16 ounce) box macaroni noodles gluten free
- 1/4 cup onion diced
- 2 carrots shredded or spiralized
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1/2 bell pepper chopped
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon whole ground mustard
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing dairy free
- 1/4 cup relish
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Cook macaroni noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper, red cabbage, apple cider vinegar, ranch dressing, relish, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the cool macaroni noodles and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving... But overnight is best!
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