How to make a delicious meatless macaroni salad


I made this for Sam but she’s still having end-of-schoolyear fun with friends so she hasn’t tasted it yet. It’s really just macaroni salad. But because the usual chicken or ham in this very ordinary salad packs it with flavor, you take the meat away and you really have to do something, or a few somethings, to offset the loss. And it isn’t just the loss in flavor but the loss in protein too. The solution? Cheese and cheese. And for added texture — chopped cucumber. Ah, the addition of cucumber is amazing. The subtle crunch, the faint sweetness… And then, of course, I added more chopped veggies than usual. More carrot, more celery… And, for the finishing touch — toasted chopped cashew nuts. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce with buttered toast on the side and you got a wonderful vegetarian meal.

There are no specified amounts in the ingredient list because there is no “correct” proportion. It is combination of the ingredients that makes this salad so good. You decide which ingredient there ought to be more or less of.

Recipe: Vegetarian macaroni salad


  • cooked macaroni, drained and cooled
  • chopped carrot (I microwaved it ¬†on HIGH for two minutes with 2 tbsps. of water after chopping)
  • chopped celery
  • pickle relish
  • crushed pineapple, drained (I used canned)
  • cheese (any variety although the soft ones are preferable), cut into half-inch cubes
  • cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • mayonnaise
  • salt and white pepper, to taste
  • a little sugar, for balance
  • toasted chopped nuts, to garnish


  1. Place the macaroni, carrot, celery, pickle relish, crushed pineapple and cubed cheese in a mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
  2. Mix together the mayonnaise and softened cream cheese. Add to the macaroni mixture. Season with salt, white pepper and sugar, Toss to blend. Chill for a few hours.
  3. Sprinkle with toasted chopped nuts before serving.
  4. A tip: After chilling, the flavors will blend and the pasta will have absorbed a lot of the saltiness. The mixture may also appear more dry than it was when you prepared it. Taste. Adjust the seasonings and add more mayonnaise, if needed.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): variable


  1. misao says

    I love a good macaroni salad – with or without any meat!

    We make it like you do sans the pickle relish, sugar and cream cheese. Since I’m not a fan of pickle relish and don’t put white sugar, we get the extra sweetness (and creaminess) from condensed milk. But I like your addition of cream cheese to the mayo – I’ll try that next time I make macaroni salad.

    • says

      Filipinos are so used to thinking that macaroni salad is equal to chicken macaroni salad. So many ways to make macaroni salad and each one is in a league of its own. :D

  2. Crisma says

    Beautiful plating, Connie. And I am sure that it tastes even better than how I imagine it to be. Cucumber really does a lot of good, also suitable for this very hot temperature that has become a summer suffering for a lot of people.

  3. tony says

    hi Connie, i usually put some milk when it dries up to cut the oiliness and cloying taste of the mayo but your addition of cream cheese and cucumbers looks interesting.i will try it too