This vegan dill pickle pasta salad offers a tangy twist on a classic macaroni salad. Pasta, pickles, vegan cheddar cheese + scallions are tossed in a tangy, creamy dill-pickle-laced dressing. This easy side dish comes together in 30 minutes and is the perfect side for a classic summer BBQ.
Chilled pasta salads are where it’s at this summer.
Between the unrelenting steamy midwestern heat and a jam-packed calendar, my kitchen is currently only capable of churning out dishes that are served cool and made quickly.
Cook the pasta. Chop a few things. Measure. Whisk. And you’ve got yourself a pickle-y pasta salad that’ll enhance the good summer party vibes whether the crowd is vegan or not.
Even Sloane likes this pasta salad. Which is actually saying quite a lot because the girl doesn’t like pasta.
Judging by the confused grimace she makes, it appears to be a textural mismatch with her palette. It’s one of the only foods she’s met that she doesn’t care for. Perhaps her dad’s Italian genes skipped a generation. 🤷🏻♀️
Although pasta’s been a consistent no-go in the year Sloane’s been consuming solids, pickles have always been an enthusiastic YES. The little lady loves anything tangy, garlicky, and vinegary.
Since this salad pairs one of her strong dislikes with one of her loves, I figured it was worth offering to her.
To my surprise and delight, she went wild for it. Saying and signing, “more, more, more” once the small bowlful I’d offered her had been emptied.
She’s now enjoyed this salad on four occasions, and I’m wondering if it may have gotten her over the pasta-averse hump. Only time (and other pasta dishes) will tell…
This dill pickle pasta salad has all the classic elements—pickles, macaroni pasta, “cheese”, creamy dressing—in one easy, vegan-friendly package.
It comes together in 30 minutes and requires just 7 ingredients. It’s the perfect in-a-pinch item to throw together for a summer party or gathering, and your friends and family will never know it’s vegan!
To make it, you’ll start by boiling eight ounces of elbow pasta.
While the pasta cooks, prepare the other salad components and the dressing.
Dice up a whole heap of dill pickles. I use cornichons (sour baby gherkins) for this salad because they offer a super tangy bite, but regular dill pickles work great too.
Shred or dice vegan block-style cheddar cheese. I don’t recommend using the pre-shredded bag cheese for this because the texture can be a bit odd and off-putting. Instead, use a block style cheese and grate it or dice it into rectangular cubes.
Thinly slice a few scallions.
To make the dressing, whisk together vegan mayonnaise, dill pickle juice, a bit of fresh dill, yellow mustard, black pepper, and cayenne (for an optional kick).
This dressing is very much on the thinner side—that’s how it’s supposed to be, so don’t worry. As the pasta salad sits and chills in the fridge, it will absorb any excess dressing.
Add all the ingredients to a large serving bowl and toss to coat.
I like to serve this salad with a garnish of chopped dill and thinly sliced pickles, but that’s totally optional. Just adds a touch of fancy eye-appeal.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you make it, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #blissfulbasil on Instagram.
Vegan Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces uncooked elbow pasta (use gluten-free pasta if needed)
- 1 cup diced dill pickles or cornichons (i.e., mini dill gherkin pickles)
- 1 cup shredded vegan block style cheddar cheese (optional but recommended)
- 1/3 cup finely diced white onion or scallions
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise**
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup dill pickle juice, to taste (I use 1/3 cup for a tangier dressing)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pinch cayenne (optional)
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Strain, rinse thoroughly with cold water to cool, shake off excess water, and transfer to a large serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pickles, cheese (if using), and onion. Add to the serving bowl with the pasta.
- In medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, pickle juice, dill, mustard, pepper, and cayenne (if using).
- Pour the dressing over the salad as desired and toss to coat. It will seem a bit thin and watery, but the pasta will soak it up once it's refrigerated.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. This pasta salad is even better after it's been refrigerated for a day, so feel free to make it in advance!
- Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.