Delicious, creamy Macaroni Salad with tender pasta, vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and a zingy Greek yogurt dressing for healthy macaroni salad vibes. Who knew a secretly nutritious pasta salad could be so tasty and so good!
This macaroni salad with Greek yogurt dressing recipe is a must-have for anyone who wants to either reduce or substitute mayonnaise in classic pasta salad. Nothing against mayo, but Greek yogurt dressing boosts nutrition and rich flavor, so it's a double win with this delish side dish!
Macaroni salad recipe ingredients
Ingredient amounts are included in the printable recipe below.
- dittalini macaroni - Use whole wheat for even more healthy macaroni salad vibes.
- red bell pepper, celery, and red onion - These raw ingredients add texture and crunch to pasta salad that everyone loves. Of course, you can omit or double up on any of these.
- hard boiled eggs - A key ingredient in classic pasta salad. These add protein, texture, and flavor.
- peas - I use frozen peas, thawed of course. Fresh peas are great when they're in season!
- Greek yogurt - I use nonfat Greek yogurt, but full fat version adds even more richness to this recipe.
- mayonnaise - A find that adding a touch of this to nonfat Greek yogurt helps smooth out the chalky flavor of the yogurt and makes the dressing more silky.
- lemon juice - I love fresh squeezed lemon for this recipe.
- apple cider vinegar - This adds a distinct zesty flavor to macaroni salad.
- Dijon mustard - A key ingredient in any pasta salad and a great binder for the dressing.
- honey - Any liquid or dry sweetener can be used.
Creamy macaroni salad recipe steps
Full instructions are in the printable recipe below.
- Cook macaroni noodles. Rinse and drain.
- Hard boil the eggs, peel, and crumble.
- Chop vegetables.
- Make the creamy Greek yogurt dressing.
- Refrigerate ingredients separately until ready to serve.
What's in a healthy macaroni salad
Use a healthy substitute for mayo. Pasta salad is traditioinally made with a lot of mayonnaise. My favorite healthy substitute for mayo is Greek yogurt. I especially love nonfat Greek yogurt because it reduces the saturated fat and adds protein. I find that 75% yogurt and 25% mayo is my sweet spot for a deliciously creamy pasta salad dressing.
Use natural sugar and less of it. Cane sugar is a common ingredient in pasta salad recipes. I like to use honey or maple syrup in its place, and much less than what I typically see in a classic pasta salad dressing recipe. Also, the natural sugar in Greek yogurt helps sweeten the pasta salad dressing.
Use whole wheat pasta. Although I didn't for this recipe, you can sub whole wheat pasta for semolina pasta anytime. I think of it as replacing empty calories with smarter calories that deliver fiber and nutrients.
Is Greek yogurt healthier than mayonnaise?
The word healthy is always subjective. In this case, a comparison of whole mayonnaise and nonfat Greek yogurt show differences that work for my diet in terms of lowering calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. You probably have different dietary needs, so it's up to you to decide which ingredient is healthier.
How long is pasta salad good for?
Once you combine the pasta, veggies, eggs and creamy dressing, pasta salad is technically good for up to five days. I prefer to see it gone by about day three though because it's not the lively and colorful pasta salad it was on the first day.
More summer salad recipes
- Dill Potato Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Loaded Baked Potato Salad
- Broccoli Bacon Salad with Grapes
- BLT Pasta Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing
- Italian Vegan Pasta Salad
- Pesto Macaroni Salad
Secretly Healthy Macaroni Salad
For the salad:
- 4 cups Uncooked Ditalini Macaroni Noodles, or preferred pasta
- 1 large Red Bell Pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 ribs Celery, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 small Red Onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 4 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
- 1 cup Sweet Peas, fresh, frozen, or canned
- Cook MACARONI according to package instructions (See Instant Pot instructions in recipe footnotes).
- Drain pasta, rinse to cool, and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add GREEK YOGURT, MAYONNAISE, LEMON JUICE, VINEGAR, MUSTARD, HONEY, SALT, and PEPPER. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine BELL PEPPER, CELERY, RED ONION, HARD BOILED EGGS, PEAS, and cooked PASTA.
- Add dressing to macaroni salad ingredients and toss to combine. Serve chilled.
Traci's Recipe Notes
Add PASTA and 4 cups WATER to the Instant Pot. Push pasta under the liquid to submerge.
Secure lid, turn pressure valve to "Sealing", and select "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" on HIGH for 2 minutes (for ditalini, elbow macaroni, or rotini) or 1 minute (for thinner "shell" pasta).
When cook cycle completes, allow a FULL 10-minute natural pressure release (NPR). Don't rush this...the pasta is still cooking.
Turn pressure valve to "Venting" to release any remaining steam. Press "Cancel".
- Continue with #2 instructions above.
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.