Classic Macaroni Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing has the familiar flavor and texture everyone loves about a classic, creamy pasta salad. Except…it’s secretly more healthy and nutritious than traditional, mayo-based macaroni salad, because nonfat Greek yogurt can be substituted for most, if not all, of the mayonnaise. Boom!
Classic Macaroni Salad With Greek Yogurt Dressing
You guys know I’m always trying to healthy-up my ingredients on classic recipes in a way that doesn’t disturb the yum factor. I put this one to the test!
A while back, I went camping with friends out on the coast (epic Bodega Bay). We all brought food to share, potluck-style. Leading up to this event, I was fiercely craving a classic, macaroni salad, and wanted to come up with a more nutritious recipe than the traditional, mayo-based salad because…well, that’s my thang!
So, how did I healthy-up this salad?
First, as I created the creamy, dressing, I substituted nonfat Greek yogurt in place of most of the mayonnaise. This adds protein to the equation…and I’m all for that!
But, I like to keep some mayonnaise in the recipe…b/c I’m too obsessed with mayo to give it all the way up. It’s a delicate balance though. Too much yogurt, and the dressing tastes chalky. Too much mayo…defeats the purpose of using nonfat Greek yogurt.
Lastly, classic macaroni salad recipes seem to share a common ingredient that is…sugar. I don’t use it in this recipe, and it never occurred to me that it was missing. Think I’m sticking with it.
What makes Greek yogurt a better choice than mayonnaise?
I’m no expert, but a side-by-side comparison of equal amounts of full fat mayonnaise and nonfat Greek yogurt yields notable differences in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. If you want to see the numbers check out this post on Gotta Eat, Can’t Cook. Great comparison!
So, I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to keep all of those numbers low, while enjoying a pasta salad with rockin’ flavor! Another tip to bump the nutrition on this salad is to use whole grain pasta in place of white, for added fiber!
Ok, how’d my healthier Macaroni Salad measure up during the camping trip? It was an empty-bowl hit! Everyone thought they were eating a classic picnic salad, with no idea it had secretly healthy ingredients.
Here are the ingredients you need on hand for this recipe:
- ditalini noodles
- red bell pepper
- red onion
- hard-boiled eggs
- frozen peas
- nonfat greek yogurt
- mayonnaise (optional)
- apple cider vinegar
- dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- dill pickle relish (optional, but recommended)
Here are the kitchen tools I use to make this recipe:
- 3.5 qt saucepan
- stainless colander
- chef knife
- cutting board
- salad dressing jar
- mixing bowl
- silicone spatula
Want more lightened up summer recipes? Check out my Turkey Waldorf Salad, Brussels Sprout Slaw, and my Grilled Zucchini Corn Salad With Feta Dressing. Any of these will be a hit at your next picnic or BBQ.
Video: Classic Macaroni Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing
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