There are probably 50 gazillion recipes for macaroni salad floating around the internet, so what possessed me to post one? There are really two reasons. First, macaroni, or other pastas, are great and inexpensive pantry staples. Second, as I write this, it’s 100 degrees. The wind is blowing, but there is nothing soothing about the breeze. It feels like it’s coming out of an oven.
When I was already sweating when I woke up this morning, I realized that it was far too hot to contemplate cooking, and the day would only get hotter. That was why I decided that a cold dinner was in order. I had some leftover chicken and cold cuts in my refrigerator that I could serve for dinner, but we were going to need something else to round out the meal. I wanted to get all the cooking over before it got too hot. Opening the pantry, I saw macaroni, and I immediately thought of salad.
Macaroni or pasta salad is a very versatile dish. Pretty much anything goes with pasta. At least, anything that you’d ordinarily eat goes well with pasta. I decided to use elbow macaroni because I had a ton of it. I put the water on and when it came to a boil, I added the pasta. While it cooked, I checked the fridge and the pantry to see what was lying around that sounded good. I found many things that seemed like they had the potential to add interest to my macaroni, and I decided to try a few different things that I wouldn’t ordinarily use.
After the pasta was cooked, rinsed, and cooled, I added roasted red peppers, black olives, kosher dill pickles, pepperoncini, sweet relish, brown onion, and green onions. This was a huge departure from how my mom made her macaroni salad. The dressing got even stranger. I used mayonnaise and some wine vinegar. I was going to use cider vinegar, but someone left the wine vinegar on the counter. (I’ve told you before that sometimes, I just want to be lazy.) I also added pickle juice pepperoncini juice, salt, sugar, black pepper, and after mixing it up and thinking that it was too dry, I added a splash of milk.
After everything was mixed into the macaroni, I tasted the salad and decided that it tasted good to me. It looked way too wet, but after it sat in the fridge for a few hours, it looked perfect. Pasta salads always have a tendency to dry out as they sit.
I served up my salad on a bed of lettuce accompanied with the leftover chicken that my family reheated in the microwave.
Their verdict: “It was good” to “It was Okay.” There were those who prefer a salad with much more mayonnaise on it and less spice. My complaint was that the recipe was enough to feed an entire platoon. We have pasta salad to last for days. Which in this heat, isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as it’s kept refrigerated. Next time, I’m only using 2 cups of raw macaroni. If you have a smaller family, you might want to make only 1/2 of the recipe. Even then, you’ll have leftovers.
I opted to toss some chopped pepperoni and salami in some of the leftover macaroni salad so that I could take it for lunch tomorrow. It’s pretty tasty that way.
Let me know what you think of this recipe. As always, thank you for visiting my site.
- 4 cups elbow macaroni
- ½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
- ½ cup chopped black olives
- ¼ cup chopped kosher dill pickles
- ¼ cup chopped pepperoncini
- ¼ cup sweet relish + 1 tablespoon of the juice
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup pickle juice
- ¼ cup pepperoncini juice
- ¼ cup milk
- Cook macaroni according to package directions until al dente.
- Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool.
- Place macaroni in a large bowl and add chopped red peppers, black olives, dill pickles, pepperoncini, sweet relish and juice, chopped onions and ½ of the green onions.
- Mix well to combine.
- Mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, pickle juice, and pepperoncini juice,
- Stir milk into the dressing.
- Pour dressing over macaroni mixture and stir until well combined. Sprinkle to top of the salad with the reserved green onion.
- Cover and refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours to allow the flavors to combine.
- Serve as an accompaniment to grilled meats or on a bed of lettuce.