Macaroni Salad is a filling and zesty pasta salad. It is gratifying creamy goodness packed with elbow pasta (macaroni), fresh summer veggies, cheese, and a dressing that makes everything taste so good. Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for a summer BBQ or a family picnic.
The Creamy Macaroni Salad
Have you ever wished to chow loads of pasta with veggies? This simple macaroni salad is the answer to all your carb-laden dreams wrapped with colorful vegetables.
It is a 100% vegetarian kid-friendly salad that is perfect for outdoor picnics or as a BBQ side dish for large gatherings.
Make it a few hours before serving, keep it in the fridge to chill and last-minute simply serve in style.
This salad recipe could be a game-changer for all the macaroni that’s stashed away in your kitchen waiting for a cheat day to arrive.
Macaroni can be paired with a variety of crunchy veggies to yield a very sensorial salad. The softness of its texture makes it a perfect accompaniment to the crunch of vegetables.
As with any salad, the golden rule is to use fresh and crunchy vegetables.
Nothing can ever make up for wilted greens or dried-up old tomatoes when you’re putting together a salad. Remember, it’s all about freshness.
Start off with choosing your vegetables for the salad: Red bell pepper, green capsicum, yellow bell pepper, purple cabbage, regular cabbage, broccoli, sweet and tender carrots, bright red cherry tomatoes, boiled sweet corn, olives, onions, cucumber… whatever you fancy.
You can add some greens like parsley, coriander, kale, baby spinach, mint, or basil leaves. Basil leaves pair very well with any kind of pasta salad.
For a sweet and savory pasta salad, pineapple, apple, or blueberries are also a great addition.
In case you want to add some kind of protein to your pasta salad, then here are a few interesting choices:
Add in some cooked tofu chunks or some extra firm fried tofu to the salad (vegan)
Try macaroni salad with eggs it tastes amazing
Small cubes of boiled chicken or slices of cooked sausages can be added
Garnish with some fried crisp bacon for the great texture and taste
If you are a seafood lover, add pan-grilled prawns to the salad
The Salad Dressing
The deal-breaker for this heavenly pasta salad is a finger-licking good dressing.
Hope you know about my 6 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes. We have used the classic Italian dressing for this macaroni salad. Or you can use my vegan cashew sauce as a base for the dressing to make a dairy-free pasta salad.
Here is what you need for making the salad dressing:
- plain mayonnaise
- white wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- parmesan cheese
- crushed/grated or garlic powder
- Salt and black pepper
- dry oregano
One really doesn’t need an excuse to make this pasta salad because it’s that addictive. But if you’re looking for inspiration, here are some ideas:
Serve it as a side with some whole wheat sandwiches for office lunch or for kid’s school lunchbox (it’s guaranteed to come back licked clean).
Take it on a summer family picnic or potluck.
Pasta Salad makes an excellent choice for the high tea party.
If the salad is stored in the fridge in an airtight container, it can last for 3 – 5 days.
Avoid adding salt before refrigeration so that vegetables don’t release their juices and the salad remains fresh.
At room temperature, salad packed with cheese and mayonnaise spoil very fast. It is best to consume it within 2 hours.
You can use the leftover boiled macaroni pasta to make my Indian-style masala macaroni stir fry pasta.
More Vegetarian Pasta Recipes
If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a comment and a rating. This helps us grow and reach many other food lovers like you, who are looking for a perfect tried and tested recipe.
Vegetable Macaroni Salad Recipe
- Salad Mixing Bowl
Ingredients For Salad:
- 400 gram elbow macaroni
- 1 Cup fine chopped red onion
- 1 Cup fine chopped red bell pepper
- 1 Cup fine chopped yellow bell pepper
- 1 Cup fine chopped cucumber
- 1 Cup fine chopped capsicum
- 1/4 Cup fine chopped parsley or basil
- Salt to taste
Ingredients For Dressing:
- 1 Cup plain mayonnaise
- 1 Cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar or wine vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed or grated
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prep Work For Salad:
- Cook macaroni according to package directions in the salted water. Once cooked al-dente, transfer to a strainer, rinse with cold water and set aside to cool down completely.
- Chop all the vegetables, herbs and transfer to a salad mixing bowl.
- Whisk mayo, cheese, garlic, oregano and vinegar in a bowl until combined nicely.
- Add the olive oil and whisk the dressing once again to mix nicely. Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.
- Combine vegetables, herbs and boiled pasta in a salad bowl. Toss gently.
- Pour prepared dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat pasta with the dressing.
- Taste and add more salt/pepper if required. Keep the salad in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Serve vegetable macaroni salad chilled.
- The dressing should be of pouring consistency. Hence, if required add more olive oil to get the liquid consistency.
- Do not combine vegetables with warm macaroni. The vegetables will get steamed and lose their crunch.
- The salad dressing can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.
- Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours before serving. Mix gently once again before serving.