How to Make Macaroni Salad

Everyone should know how to make a macaroni salad simply because it's an all-American classic. Yankee Doodle, 4th of July cook-outs...the dish is practically patriotic! Oh, and it's also the perfect recipe to have on hand for any potluck or picnic. There are recipes for macaroni salad dating back to the early 1900s, most of which derived from potato salad recipes. Macaroni salad is generally considered to have been in its heyday in the '80s, when many variations of pasta appeared in both home kitchens and on restaurant menus.
-Hi, it's Chef Lovely here, and today we're gonna make a home style macaroni salad. Let's start talking with it right to those ingredients: 1 pound cavatappi or what I'm using today macaroni pasta; 4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped; 1 cup chopped celery; 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper; 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno, that's optional; 1/3 cup chopped red onion; 1/2 cup of buttermilk; 1/2 cup mayonnaise; 2-1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar; 3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives; 1-1/4 teaspoons salt; 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper; 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. All of those ingredients sound delicious, so let's start cooking. First things first. I have a pot of hot boiling water. A little bit of salt goes into here so that we can flavor our macaroni. We're gonna pour this in and we're gonna let it cook. So, we're gonna give this a stir. Meanwhile, we're gonna get all the rest of our ingredients together and mix in our bowl. Okay, fresh bowl, let's add all of our remaining ingredients. So, here we go with a little bit of our chopped red onion. This is gonna add color, great crunch and a little bit of a sweeter, onion flavor, red bell pepper. Again, sweet, crunchy, and delicious. Celery, another beautiful color, more crunch, nice crisp ingredient there, our eggs, fresh snipped chives. Now, little Chef Lovely tip here. You can just take your kitchen shears and chop, chop, chop away. It will make this job much more quicker for you. New, we're gonna add our apple cider vinegar for a little bit of vinegary bite in the background of our salad. Here is our mayonnaise. Let's add that in, rich, creamy, goodness, right here. Now, for a little tartness, also little creaminess, we're gonna add our buttermilk. I know it sound weird, but guess what, it's gonna be absolutely delicious. Don't knock until you try. For little of spice, we're gonna add ground red pepper, and now we're gonna give this a really big stir. We wanna incorporate all of the ingredients together. Wow, this is looking absolutely beautiful. I love all of the colors. It's very festive and it's also a little bit on the healthier side, which is great. This is a great way to get all of the vegetables into your kids, and as an adult, we love it too. Okay, to finish this off, we're gonna simply season with some salt and ground black pepper. Remember, you can always add if you need to, which you can't take away. So, add a little bit. We're gonna give it a good mix. We're gonna taste it, and then we're gonna go back and we're gonna add more if we need to, give this a great stir, fantastic. Now, this part is done. We're gonna wait for our macaroni to continue cooking here. After it's drained and cooled it added to this beautiful, colorful mixture that we have here, and this gonna be time to eat. So, here we have our macaroni that has been drained, and it's cooled, and don't forget in this bowl we have our buttermilk. We have our mayonnaise. All of those beautiful crisp, colorful vegetables. Now, the 2 steps are done. It's so easy after this. We're gonna pour our mixture of vegetables right into our cool macaroni. Mix sure we get all of that delicious flavor, the chives, the red onions, fantastic. So, now let's give this a really big stir. We wanna incorporate all of the ingredients. I want every piece of macaroni to be kissed by all of those great flavors that we have, fantastic. Now, the longer this sits, the more flavorful it's going to be right before you serve with them, let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes so all those flavor kind of just warm up and just fall in love in with each other and it's gonna taste 10 times better, I promise. Okay, few more big spoonfuls here, big toss, and there we go. So, of course, I made it, so I have to taste it, right? Let's go in. It's really good. It's crunchy. It's smooth. Perfect accompaniment to any dinner meal. So, I want you to make this dish, have a great time while doing it, and don't forget to save me some.

What You'll Need

  • 1   pound cavatappi or macaroni pasta
  • 4   hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 1   cup chopped celery
  • 1/3  cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1   tablespoon minced jalapeno, optional
  • 1/3  cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2  cup buttermilk
  • 1/2  cup mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3   tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • 1 1/4  teaspoons salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Step By Step

Cook pasta according to package directions. Transfer to colander and rinse under cold water; drain.
Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add cooled pasta and toss to coat.

Make Ahead Tip
  • Cover salad and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
Fun fact: In days past, macaroni pasta came in long lengths like spaghetti and had to be broken before cooking or cut into sections afterward.

nutrition information

Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 210, Fat, total (g) 8.5, chol. (mg) 66, sat. fat (g) 1.5, carb. (g) 26, fiber (g) 1, pro. (g) 6, sodium (mg) 289, calcium (mg) 30.29, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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