Macaroni salad is the perfect side dish to almost any casual meal. Served cold, this yummy dish usually features elbow macaroni pasta, mayonnaise, onions, celery, and sometimes even tuna. It goes perfectly with picnic foods, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and sandwiches.
The earliest known recipe for macaroni salad was published in 1962, according to ifood.tv.
“The dish gained in popularity during the early eighties and was touted as a form of Nouvelle Cuisine. Pastas in various shapes and sizes were heaped on a plate and topped with dressings of vinegar, olive oil, or mayonnaise. Cream cheese was also used along with a variety of vegetables, herbs and spices, which were added to enhance the taste of the bland dish.” — ifood.tv
A zesty twist to classic macaroni salad
We recently found the most delicious classic southern macaroni salad recipe online at A Spicy Perspective. It has “a few surprise ingredients to give that perky, super-addictive flavor we all know and love a zesty twist. It’s the perfect make ahead side dish for your next picnic or potluck!” says Sommer Collier.
According to Collier, who usually doesn’t like macaroni salad because they are too bland, too sweet, or have too much mayo, this recipe is so “ridiculously addictive,” you can’t stop eating it after you start. She was inspired to create this recipe after trying macaroni salad at a local barbecue restaurant.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the zesty flavor and silky texture. It still wasn’t life-changing for me, but it did inspire me to come home and make a version I could really enjoy,” she says.
Ingredients to make your own spicy macaroni salad
There is definitely a secret to preparing the best macaroni salad, according to Collier. You need the correct “blend of ingredients to create a salty, slightly-sweet bite that is balanced in spice and tang.”
Here’s what you need to prepare this recipe:
- Elbow macaroni
- Cooked bacon
- Sweet pickle relish
- Hot sauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Roasted red peppers
- Sugar, salt, and pepper
The addition of sweet pickle relish, kale, and roasted red peppers help to minimize the sweetness of other traditional macaroni salad ingredients, Collier pointed out. She also credits kale as secret ingredient.
“Kale has a sturdy consistency and holds up well even with a heavy dressing. Including it in the salad adds hearty texture with a slightly earthy flavor.” — Sommer Collier
Preparation instructions for “best macaroni salad”
- Start by cooking the macaroni. Then drain and rinse it thoroughly with cold water. Pour into a large mixing bowl and set that aside.
- In a separate small bowl, mix up the mayo, garlic, sugar, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing into the pasta bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Next, add in the cooked bacon, scallions, roasted red peppers, pickle relish, and kale.
- Finally, completely toss the ingredients to make sure their missed well, and then refrigerate. Serve cold.
To get the complete ingredient portions to make a serving size of 12, visit Collier’s Website here.
Collier also has a few recommendations on her Website to keep in mind about preparation, whether to freeze or not, and how to make this recipe vegetarian and/or gluten-free.
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The best part of this recipe is that is only takes 25 minutes to make, from start to finish! Try it out and leave a comment for Collier with your review at the bottom of her article by clicking here.