Old School Macaroni Salad

Creamy.  Comforting.  Classic.  Tangy.  Crunchy.  Snappy.

The One. The Only. Old School Macaroni Salad!  YEAH!!!

This guy needs no introductions.  You’ve seen him in the deli section.  You’ve seen him looking all sad and soggy next to some baked beans on a picnic table.  You’ve seen him in a tiny soufflé next to some potato chips.  But have you ever seen him shine?  Doubtful.

The idea of a classic mayo based mac salad is brilliant, but the execution, usually lacking.  It’s too soupy, or it’s too dry.  It’s bland or the flavor on mayo is too aggressive.  It has too many veggies, or not enough.

This simple recipe is my attempt at striking the perfect balance for pasta salad fans, such as myself.  Nothing too crazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll dig it.

A short time ago I came across this onion suggestion that may have changed my life.  I can’t stand raw onions.  Seriously, cannot stand.  This tip, of soaking your red onion in cold water, allows the onion to soften and mellow, and makes a huge difference for this girls taste buds.  Love it.

I recommend dressing the salad just prior to serving, for maximum creaminess. I like it served kind of warm, but you can certainly serve it cold if that’s what you prefer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little pasta salad showcase.  I sure enjoyed eating them all.

Oh, and you all know what tomorrow is… right???

Old School Macaroni Salad


1 pound elbow macaroni

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

juice of half a lemon

1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

salt & pepper, to taste


Cook macaroni according to box.  Drain.

In a large bowl combine celery, carrot, green pepper, red pepper, onion, mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, mustard powder, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper.  Let sit for approximately 1 hour.

Combine macaroni and dressing just prior to serving.  Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Old School Macaroni Salad

  1. This looks great! I especially like the vinegar and the healthy amount of mustard, which should give it some zip. I am tempted to add a bit of fresh horseradish: I wonder whether that would really make it jump, or whether that would be too much …

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