How to Make Homestyle Elbow Macaroni Salad

Whenever there’s a choice of cold salads to choose from like at a potluck or behind a deli’s glass enclosure, before I even know what’s happening my eyes have already scanned the options and locked on to the macaroni salad.

Macaroni salad tastes so good all by itself as a snack, or as a side dish with grilled meat, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, sliders or comfort food such as fried chicken.

I especially like that macaroni salad can be made ahead of time for parties, potlucks or picnics.

It’s also great to add to a packed lunch for work if there’s a fridge to store lunch in of course.

Just make sure your coworkers don’t know that this delicious mac salad is in the fridge at work or they may just “accidently” take your lunch instead of theirs.

One of my favorite things about this mac salad is that the dressing for it is made with mayonnaise, white vinegar and sugar.

When mixed together, these 3 ingredients add a light tangy sweet taste, as well as a nice consistency to the overall salad.

Here are some tips when making this macaroni salad:

  • Cook the macaroni to al dente (firm to the bite).  It adds so much texture to the salad and leftovers last nicely in the refrigerator.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours before serving; it tastes even better when the flavors have time to blend together.
  • Just before serving, gently stir the salad just in case some of the dressing may have settled at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Don’t be shy with the salt.  Just enough salt makes all the difference in the world and really brings out the flavors.

So let’s check out the ingredients.

Elbow macaroni, celery (including some of the leafy parts), onion, sweet pickles, red bell pepper, fresh parsley (curly or flat leaf), salt, pepper and dressing

For the Dressing – mayonnaise, white vinegar, prepared yellow mustard, granulated sugar, salt and pepper

Here’s how to make it.

For the Pasta:

In a medium to large size pot, add water to about 2/3’s full.

Add salt to the water.

When the water starts to boil, add the pasta.

Give the pasta a quick stir so that it’s evenly distributed in the pot.

As the pasta cooks, stir the pasta again to make sure it’s not sticking together.

Cook the pasta to al dente (according to the package instructions; about 7 to 10 minutes) and drain it in a strainer.

Rinse the pasta and let it cool completely.

For the Macaroni Salad:

While the pasta is cooling, chop the sweet pickles,

onion,

celery,

red bell pepper, and

parsley (including the some of the stem).

To a large mixing bowl, add the cooled pasta, sweet pickles, celery, red bell pepper, onion and parsley.

Set aside for a moment.

For the Dressing:

In a medium size bowl, add the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.

Don’t be like me and forget to add the mustard.

Whisk together…

…until incorporated.

Add the dressing to the large mixing bowl.

With a large spoon…

…mix until the pasta is coated with the dressing.

Do a taste test and add more salt if needed.

Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more before serving.

Just before serving, garnish with a light dusting of freshly ground pepper and a sprig of parsley.

Then,

it’s time to…

…dig in and enjoy.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

More side dishes that are served cold:

Easy Potato Salad with Egg

Crispy Apple, Raisin and Walnut Salad

Broccoli, Bacon and Mandarin Orange Salad

Antipasto Salad

Simple Coleslaw

Cherry, Pineapple and Mandarin Orange Ambrosia

Chinese Chicken Salad with Wonton Chips

How to Make Homestyle Elbow Macaroni Salad

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes (plus 2 hours to chill)

Ingredients:

For the Elbow Macaroni:

  • 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 dashes salt

For the Dressing:

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (heaping) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Macaroni Salad:

  • 3/4 cup chopped celery (including some of the leafy parts)
  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (seeds removed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (white or yellow onion)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley (curly or flat leaf) (including some of the stem)
  • Dressing
  • Parsley (for garnish)
  • Light dusting of freshly ground black pepper (for garnish)

Directions:

For the Elbow Macaroni:
1) In a medium to large size pot, add water (2/3's full).
2) Bring the water to a boil and add salt.
3) Add the elbow macaroni and stir. Cook until al dente (according to the package instructions; normally about 7 to 10 minutes).
4) Drain it in a strainer. Rinse the pasta and let it cool completely.

For the Dressing:
5) In a medium size bowl, add the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.
6) Whisk together until incorporated. Set aside.

For the Macaroni Salad:
7) In a large mixing bowl, add the cooled pasta, celery, red bell pepper, sweet pickles, onion, parsley and dressing.
8) Mix together until the pasta is completely coated with the dressing. Do a taste test and add more salt if needed.
9) Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
10) Just before serving, stir the salad and garnish with a light dusting of freshly ground pepper and a sprig of parsley.

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2 comments on “How to Make Homestyle Elbow Macaroni Salad”

  1. Fantastic recipe, drooling over your photos! Shared and definitely trying it out! Kudos!

    Reply

    • Nancy — July 3rd, 2018 @ 1:46 am

      Thank you very much!

      Reply

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