japanese macaroni pasta salad in a white bowl with carrots, cucumber, corn and vegan ham

This Vegan Japanese Macaroni Salad is creamy, tangy and perfect for summer BBQs and potlucks! Quick and easy to make and only 8 ingredients required.

close up shot of macaroni pasta salad with cucumbers, carrots and corn

There’s no need to sweat away in the kitchen for delicious meals. Pasta Salads are a summer time essential for a reason. They’re quick, easy and the only cooking involved is the pasta (which you don’t have to hover over the entire time).

One of my all time fav pasta salads is this Japanese Style Macaroni Salad. It’s fresh, crunchy, crispy and the dressing is so dang delicious. Perfectly creamy, tangy-sweet and full of flavour!

Since this healthy pasta salad actually tastes better as it sits, it’s great for meal prep, potlucks, BBQs and parties where you’d want to make it ahead of time.

ingredients for japanese macaroni salad in white bowls on a blue backdrop

How to Make Japanese Macaroni Salad

The Ingredients

This macaroni pasta salad requires just 8 ingredients and is super customizable! You’ll need:

  • Macaroni: Or any pasta of your choice.
  • Rice Vinegar: Adds a bit more tanginess. You can also add a touch of sugar if you like a slightly mild and sweeter pasta salad.
  • Onions: To remove raw onions strong spicy flavour, soak it in water for about 10 minutes.
  • Cucumber: Use mini cucumbers such as Persian or Japanese. Do not use English cucumbers because they have a lot of water and a thick skin.
  • Sweet Corn: Adds sweetness to the salad.
  • Carrots: Adds more texture and colour.
  • Vegan Ham: Optional, but adds saltiness and some protein.
  • Vegan Japanese Mayonnaise: It’s not Japanese Macaroni Salad without this ingredient! They sell egg-free Japanese Mayonnaise now but if you can’t find it in stores, you can easily make your own!
  • Japanese Mustard: Adds spice and flavour. You can also use dijon mustard.

Other Add-in Ideas:

  • Chickpeas or Firm Tofu: Adds protein and mimics eggs typically used. I mash the chickpeas or break up the firm tofu with my hands.
  • Sweet Bell Peppers: Adds a nice crunch and more sweetness.
  • Curry powder: For some spice, heat and a different flavour.
  • Soy sauce: Adds umami and a bit of saltines.
  • Ponzu: Makes it slightly citrusy which works really well with the tang from the rice vinegar.
close up shot of japanese macaroni salad with cucumbers, carrots, corn and vegan ham

The Directions

  1. Cook the Pasta: until al dente, rinse with cold water and then toss with rice vinegar.
  2. Prepare Vegetables: Thinly slice the vegetables and then remove excess liquid from them. For cucumbers, I like to use a mandolin to get really thin slices. Salting the cucumbers helps remove excess liquid so your pasta salad isn’t soggy.
  3. Assemble: Toss everything in Japanese Mayonnaise and mustard. Let the pasta chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let the flavours mend.
japanese macaroni pasta salad in a white bowl dressed in kewpie mayonnaise

How to Make Ahead & Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in a air tight container.
  • Make ahead: This macaroni pasta salad actually tastes even better the next day! Just make it the night before and then store in a air tight container in the refrigerator. Give it a quick toss before serving. If you notice any water at the bottom of the bowl, you can drain and toss it with a bit more Japanese Mayonnaise.
close up shot of japanese kewpie mayonnaise pasta salad in a white bowl

More Vegan Pasta Salads to Love!

If you recreate this Japanese Macaroni Salad Recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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japanese macaroni pasta salad in a white bowl dressed in kewpie mayonnaise

Japanese Macaroni Salad

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  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


A super fresh Japanese Macaroni Salad perfect for summer! Packed with crisp veggies and chewy pasta, tossed in a creamy and tangy-sweet dressing. Quick and easy to make and only 8 ingredients required.


Units Scale


  1. Cook pasta over the stove following directions on the package. Once cooked, rinse with cold water. Add the pasta to a large salad bowl and toss with rice vinegar.
  2. Add the sliced onions to a bowl with cold water and let it soak for at least 10 minutes. Drain the water and pat the onions dry.
  3. Using a mandolin, slice the cucumbers very thinly. Sprinkle with salt and massage it into the cucumbers. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then squeeze out excess liquid. 
  4. To the salad bowl, add the onions, cucumbers, corn, carrots and vegan ham and give it a quick toss. Then add in the Japanese Mayonnaise, mustard, black pepper and salt and toss until everything is covered in the sauce. Taste and add more mayonnaise, mustard salt or pepper as desired. Place the salad in the refrigerator covered and let it rest for 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!


  • Helpful Equipment: salad bowl, salad tosser, mandolin
  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer) using chickpea pasta, homemade Japanese mayonnaise and without the vegan ham. 
  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, japanese


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 150
  • Sugar: 4.8g
  • Sodium: 350mg
  • Fat: 4.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 21.7g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 9.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0


macaroni vegetable salad in a white bowl

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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