This creamy Macaroni Salad Recipe is made with short macaroni, bell peppers, celery, onion, hard-boiled eggs, and peas. The Greek yogurt dressing gives it an undetectably healthy spin with more protein and less fat than a mayo-based macaroni salad. This pasta salad is the perfect picnic and BBQ side dish!
Macaroni Salad With Greek Yogurt Dressing
You guys know I’m always trying to level up traditional recipes with undetectably healthy ingredients. This pasta salad is a classic example. Who knew back in the day that a macaroni salad recipe could be made a few notches healthier without compromising flavor and texture?!
Greek yogurt in the dressing makes it possible. Otherwise, this classic pasta salad is made with traditional macaroni salad ingredients. Countless people have eaten this pasta salad, unaware of the secretly healthy tricks I use for this recipe.
How to make macaroni salad
- Boil macaroni noodles; rinse, drain, and set aside.
- Combine eggs, peas, onion, celery, and bell pepper with cooked pasta and refrigerate.
- Make the dressing by whisking together wet ingredients and seasonings. Store refrigerated in a separate container.
- Toss all ingredients together up to a few hours before serving.
* See full recipe below
How to make macaroni salad with healthier ingredients
Tip #1: Substitute most of the mayonnaise in a traditional macaroni salad recipe with nonfat Greek yogurt.
My favorite way to make macaroni salad a little healthier is to substitute nonfat Greek yogurt for most of the mayonnaise called for in traditional pasta salads. This replaces the mayonnaise fat with protein…and I’m all for that!
It’s a delicate balance. Too much yogurt and the dressing tastes chalky. Too much mayo defeats the purpose of using nonfat Greek yogurt.
Tip #2: Don’t add sugar to the pasta salad dressing.
It’s common to see sugar as a macaroni salad recipe ingredient. It’s really not necessary, especially if you substitute Greek yogurt for most of the mayonnaise in the dressing because yogurt will naturally add sugar.
Tip #3: Use whole wheat pasta, or gluten free pasta in place of semolina pasta.
There are so many choices these days for pasta that brings less allergens and more nutrition to the table.
Is Greek yogurt healthier 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.
I’m always happy to keep those numbers low while enjoying a macaroni salad with the rockin’ flavor of this pasta salad.
What to serve with macaroni salad
Macaroni Salad Recipe with Greek Yogurt Dressing
Macaroni salad ingredients
- ditalini noodles (or macaroni noodles)
- red bell pepper
- red onion
- hard-boiled eggs
Greek yogurt dressing ingredients
- nonfat Greek yogurt
- mayonnaise (optional)
- lemon juice
- apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- dill pickle relish (optional, but recommended)
- 3.5 qt saucepan
- stainless colander
- chef knife
- cutting board
- salad dressing jar
- mixing bowl
- silicone spatula
More Pasta salad recipes
- BLT Pasta Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch
- Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad
- Italian Vegan Pasta Salad
- Pesto Macaroni Salad
Macaroni Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing
For the salad:
- 4 cups Ditalini Noodles (or macaroni noodles)
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 Red Bell Pepper about 1 cup diced
- 2 stalks Celery about 1 cup diced
- 1/2 cup Red Onion about 1 cup diced
- 4 Hard Boiled Eggs chopped
- 1 cup Peas
For the pasta salad:
- Cook PASTA NOODLES with SALT according to package instructions; drain, and rinse under cool water until completely cooled; set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, combine BELL PEPPER, CELERY, RED ONION, EGGS, and PEAS.
For the Greek yogurt dressing:
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together YOGURT, MAYONNAISE, LEMON JUICE, VINEGAR, MUSTARD, HONEY, SALT, and PEPPER; (optional) add DILL PICKLE RELISH.
- Gently toss pasta ingredients with dressing until well-combined (up to two days ahead); cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Dressing Tip: If you don’t use the (optional) mayonnaise in this recipe, you’ll want to add an equal amount of nonfat Greek yogurt.