Macaroni Salad

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Macaroni Salad Recipe: A Perfect Addition to Your Summer Salad Collection

Introducing the Macaroni Salad, a classic pasta salad that’s not just a perfect side dish for BBQs but also a fantastic choice for family dinners, potlucks, and picnics.

This easy recipe is not only budget-friendly but also a delightful vegetarian dish that everyone can enjoy.

With its minimal prep time, this macaroni salad fits seamlessly into busy weeknight dinners and makes for a healthy side option.

Whether you’re planning for a holiday side dish, a quick and easy recipe for healthy meals, or a make-ahead meal for cookouts, this pasta salad is a must-try.

It’s particularly ideal for special occasions like Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, and 4th of July celebrations, making it a staple among summertime salads.

Homemade Macaroni Salad with a vibrant mix of elbow macaroni, crisp vegetables, and a smooth, tangy mayo-based sauce, sprinkled with spices, ready to be served.

Why Macaroni Salad is a Must-Try

Macaroni Salad stands out as a classic potluck recipe and a quintessential summer salad.

Here’s why it’s a great addition to your meal plans:

  • Easy Recipe: Simple and straightforward, ideal for any cook regardless of experience.
  • Budget Recipe: Made with affordable ingredients readily available in any kitchen.
  • Vegetarian Dish: A great option for vegetarians and those looking for a healthy recipe.
  • Holiday Side Dish: Ideal for holidays and celebrations like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the 4th of July.
 festive and appetizing bowl of Macaroni Salad, ideal for potlucks and BBQs, featuring well-cooked macaroni, colorful vegetables, and a creamy, seasoned dressing.

Macaroni Salad Ingredients

(See the recipe card below for full ingredient list with quantities & instructions)

  • Elbow Macaroni: The classic pasta choice for this salad.
  • Red Onion, Celery, Bell Pepper: Finely diced for crunch and flavor.
  • Sweet Gherkins: Adds a unique sweetness.
  • Mayo: Creamy base for the dressing.
  • Sweet Pickle Juice: Enhances the dressing with a tangy flavor.
  • Yellow Mustard: Adds a mild spice.
  • Black Pepper & Salt: For seasoning.
  • White Sugar: Balances the tanginess.
  • Granulated Garlic & Onion Powder: Adds depth to the flavor.
A close-up of a hearty Macaroni pasta Salad, highlighting the textures of al dente pasta, diced red onion, celery, bell pepper, and sweet gherkins in a rich, flavorful dressing.

Macaroni Salad Instructions

  1. Cook the Pasta: Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and let cool.
  2. Prepare the Vegetables: Finely dice red onion, celery, and bell pepper.
  3. Make the Dressing: In a separate bowl, mix mayo, sweet pickle juice, yellow mustard, black pepper, white sugar, salt, granulated garlic, and onion powder.
  4. Combine: In a large bowl, mix the cooled macaroni with the diced vegetables. Pour the dressing over and mix until well coated.
  5. Chill: Refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving.
Bright and appetizing Macaroni Salad in a white bowl, highlighting the mix of tender pasta, crisp diced vegetables, and a rich, smooth dressing, garnished with herbs for extra flavor.

Storage and Serving Tips

Storage

  • Fridge: Keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Not recommended for freezing.

Serving Suggestions: Best served chilled. Perfect as a side for grilled meats or as a standalone dish for a light lunch.

Summertime favorite Macaroni Salad, with its mix of pasta, diced fresh vegetables, and a lightly seasoned mayo dressing, served in a bowl, ready to complement any outdoor meal.

FAQ Section

Can I make this Macaroni Salad ahead of time?

Absolutely! This salad is a great make-ahead meal. Its flavors develop better when chilled in the fridge for a few hours.

What variations can I add to this Macaroni Salad recipe?

Feel free to add ingredients like diced chicken for a non-vegetarian version or switch up the vegetables according to your preference.

Summertime favorite pasta Salad, with its mix of pasta, diced fresh vegetables, and a lightly seasoned mayo dressing, served in a bowl, ready to complement any outdoor meal.

Other Salad Recipes to Try!

Coleslaw Salad

Bowl of fresh Classic Coleslaw with red and green cabbage, shredded carrots, and creamy dressing on white background, perfect for summer BBQs and picnics.

Grilled Corn Salad

A colorful bowl of Grilled Corn Salad with Tomatoes, showcasing bright yellow charred corn kernels, vibrant red cherry tomato halves, finely chopped red bell pepper, and a sprinkle of fresh green cilantro, all tossed together in a light, tangy dressing.
A colorful bowl of Macaroni Salad, featuring elbow macaroni mixed with diced red onion, celery, and bell peppers, garnished with sweet gherkins and a creamy mayo dressing.
Yield: 8 servings

Macaroni Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A classic Macaroni Salad, combining tender elbow macaroni with crisp diced vegetables like red onion, celery, and bell pepper, all tossed in a creamy and slightly tangy mayo dressing. This refreshing and colorful salad is a perfect side dish for picnics, BBQs, and family gatherings.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • ½ medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • A few cherry tomatoes cut in half (optional)
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ cup finely diced sweet gherkins
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  1. Cook the Pasta: Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and let cool.
  2. Prepare the Vegetables: Finely dice red onion, celery, and bell pepper.
  3. Make the Dressing: In a separate bowl, mix mayo, sweet pickle juice, yellow mustard, black pepper, white sugar, salt, granulated garlic, and onion powder.
  4. Combine: In a large bowl, mix the cooled macaroni with the diced vegetables. Pour the dressing over and mix until well coated.
  5. Chill: Refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving.

Notes

Make-Ahead Salad: Macaroni Salad is a great make-ahead dish. It can be prepared a day in advance, making it perfect for events and gatherings

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 305Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 12mgSodium 571mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 1gSugar 9gProtein 3g

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