Summer is coming – no really. It is. I swear. It might not feel like it this year, depending on where you live. But when it gets here, it’s going to be hot. And that means days at the beach, or the pool, packing a cooler full of picnic-style items. One of my wife’s favorites, is definitely mac salad. We both love it, actually. In fact, so much so that we’ve had nothing but a bowl of mac salad for lunch. And we’ll grab it for a late-night snack, too!
The good news is, this vegan version isn’t as bad as the regular version might be. Swapping out the mayonnaise for vegan mayonnaise made from cashews reduces the ‘bad fats’, and swapping mashed chickpeas for egg reduces the fat content even more, without losing any of the texture, taste, or appeal.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups dry chickpeas
- 2 lbs. gluten-free macaroni noodles
- 1 can black olives, cut into fourths
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 2 TBSP sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cups vegan mayonnaise
- 1 TBSP fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
Put the 2 cups dry chickpeas into a 4 cup mason jar. Fill the jar with boiling water and put the lid on loosely. Leave for 45 minutes to 1 hour, then drain the water and rinse the chickpeas. Put the chickpeas in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover.
Next, start a pot of water boiling for the pasta. While it boils, prep the olives, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, bell pepper, and celery. Place in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the vegan mayonnaise, dill, and paprika. Stir to combine. Set aside.
When the pasta is ready, drain and rinse with cold water. Rinse noodles well to reduce the temperature, then place the noodles in the refrigerator. Check the chickpeas. They should be soft, but a little firmer than canned ones are, and still have texture. You don’t want them to get mushy. If they are ready, drain and rinse with cold water until they are cool to the touch.
Place the chickpeas in a bowl with a flat bottom, then mash them with a potato masher. Add this to the mixture with the mayonnaise and stir to combine. Once the pasta is chilled, combine the noodles with the mayonnaise mixture, stirring to combine. Add the salt & pepper to taste, and serve.