I have a love affair with summer pasta salads. Who doesn’t, right? Thing is, you guys know I’m always trying to healthy-up my ingredients on traditional recipes in a way that doesn’t disturb the yum factor. Well, this Damn Good Classic Macaroni Salad recipe hits both marks and keeps it in the realm of everyone’s favorite, summer picnic side dish.
Damn Good Classic Macaroni Salad
About a month ago, I went camping with a group of friends out on the coast. We all agreed to bring food to share, potluck-style. Leading up to this event, I was fiercely craving a truly classic, macaroni salad, and wanted to dial in an exact recipe that I could publish to the blog. I also really wanted to develop a healthier version of the traditional, mayo-based salad because…well, that’s my thang!
How do I “lighten” mine up?
So, first things first, I created a creamy, dressing recipe and pulled my usual hat-trick of substituting Fage Nonfat Greek Yogurt for most of the mayonnaise in this traditionally mayo-based dressing. But, I like to keep some mayonnaise in the recipe and keep that flavor and texture that mayonnaise brings. Yes, I’m a little obsessed with mayo. I know, not everyone loves it like I do, but I also know I’m not alone. PS, I don’t eat it straight…I’m not that bad off.
What I really like about using nonfat yogurt as the base in this macaroni salad, I get to tell people they’re getting more nutrition (and less sat fat) in this nonfat-yogurt-based dish. The trick with this substitution is to get the right ratio to avoid the dressing coming across as chalky…which nonfat yogurt can easily do.
Ok, enough about the dressing, let’s talk about the salad components.
For this recipe, I knew I had to use Dittalini Noodles for their perfect shape, size, and the way they soak up the dressings and sauces. There’s no forcing this effort, it just magically happens.
To keep it traditional, I used frozen petite peas and small, diced, crispy vegetables…you know, celery, red onion, and red bell pepper, and hard-boiled eggs. Yum!
How’d my camping friends like my Damn Good Classic Macaroni Salad? They gave the green light to put it on the blog. After this recipe, I developed another pasta salad I love equally. It’s a vinaigrette-based salad called Zesty Rotini & Greens with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette. It’s all yours!
Cheers to our favorite summer foods…and always, to our health!
About my recipes: MORE plant, LESS animal...that's my jam.