This classic macaroni salad is a summer staple! This bright salad has a delicious tangy and sweet creamy dressing. This recipe is a great base for adding in your favorite extras!
Pasta salads is what summer is all about. Obviously, there's like a million macaroni salad recipes on the internet. How is mine different? Well, I tried to make sure that it didn't taste like all the heavy, mayo-soaked cloying ones out there.
Yes, we still have a creamy mayo-based dressing in here, but we also have a lot of fresh veggies to liven it up. I added some fresh parsley to the dressing, which adds a nice herb flavor. I like the idea of a lighter macaroni salad.
I also opted to leave out some heavy add-ins (like cheese), since they don't really agree with me, but those are always optional depending on what your crowd likes.
This summer macaroni salad is perfect for potlucks, BBQs, picnics, etc. I like it as a side dish, but you can also make it the star of the show.
The best part of this salad is that it's easily customizable if you do want to add more. The recipe is vegetarian as written, but you can definitely add some meat to this easy macaroni salad.
Macaroni salad ingredients
- Red pepper
- Green pepper
- Red onion
- A sweet and tangy dressing
I kept this salad pretty simple - it's good as-is or you can add other ingredients such as:
- Cheese (cheddar cubes are always a hit)
- Meat e.g. ham or salami
- Whatever you like! This salad is very adaptable.
Want to spice up the dressing? Add a 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chili pepper to give it a smoky southwest flavor.
I hope your summer is going well so far. Crazy that July is almost over. I'm definitely trying to savor every sun-soaked moment that I can.
Do you make macaroni salad every summer? What kinds of things do you include in it?
Talk to me in the comments below! 🙂
Classic Macaroni Salad
- 3 cups uncooked macaroni
- 1/2 medium red onion chopped finely
- 3 sticks celery chopped finely
- 1/2 green bell pepper chopped finely
- 1 red bell pepper chopped finely
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta, and cook it al dente according to package directions. Once cooked, rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.
- Meanwhile, chop all your veggies and add them to a large bowl.
- Add the salad dressing ingredients to a medium bowl and stir thoroughly until combined (and make sure the sugar dissolves). Give it a taste and adjust if needed (e.g. more vinegar).
- Add the cooked macaroni to the large bowl, along with the dressing. Toss until everything is combined. Season as needed (I am generous with the salt & pepper - this is a lot of pasta). Salad can be made ahead, just be sure to seal it tightly so the dressing doesn't dry out. Salad can be refrigerated for a few days.
- This salad is great by itself or with other additions. The recipe post has some tips on what else you can add and how to spice up the dressing (if you want to).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.