Smoky Mayo Pasta Salad with Crisp Vegetables (vegan)

Usually, when we look back at old recipes, we shudder in shame at our novice skills. However, there’s one recipe we frequently return to: Smoky Pasta Salad. It’s just got that special quality that separates it from anything else we’ve tasted, not to mention that it’s simple, quick, and frickin’ PASTA.

img_3719In the original recipe, we talk about how pasta salad needs a thick dressing in order to hold ingredients together & stick to the noodles, but I don’t think you need me to tell you that. You do however want to use a noodle that’s short with some ridges that dressing can hold onto – prime examples being macaroni, fusilli, and farfalle (the bow-shaped pasta shown here). Aside from that, this recipe is:

  • Straightforward, easy to make, and requires little prep
  • Great for leftovers & meal prep
  • Smoky, tangy, sweet, and fresh
  • Tender, creamy, crisp, and chewy


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Photos by Kim-Pastable


Smoky Mayo Pasta Salad with Crisp Vegetables (vegan)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Sweet & savory dressing coats al dente farfelle noodles along with spicy red onion, crisp red pepper, and fresh cucumber.


  • 1/2 lb dried pasta, such as fusilli, farfalle, or macaroni
  • 1/2 c peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber (~1/2 small cucumber)
  • 1/3 c finely chopped red onion (~1/8 medium onion)
  • 1/3 c finely chopped red bell pepper (~1/2 medium pepper)
  • 3/4 c (168 grams) vegan mayonnaise (Just Mayo is our favorite)
  • 1 tbsp (21 grams) agave
  • 1 tbsp (½ oz) lime juice
  • 1 tbsp (½ oz) soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 ½ tsps (¼ oz) liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard


  1. Add 6 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cook pasta according to package’s instructions, or until it’s tender with a little bite. Drain through a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  2. Whisk together mayonnaise, agave, lime juice, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and mustard in a large bowl until smooth.
  3. Add drained pasta to dressing along with cucumber, onion, and pepper. Fold with a spatula until everything’s evenly coated.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least two hours before serving. Store for up to 4 days.
  5. After 6 hours, the pasta will start to absorb some dressing, making for a thicker sauce. However, if you prefer it on the saucy side, add a little bit of mayo (~2 tbsps), agave (~1 tsp), and soy sauce (~1 tsp) to loosen it up.