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Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

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San Francisco had classic, warm weather over the weekend. Blue skies. Birds chirping. People running around half naked (when the sun shines here people seem to lose their clothes).  Perfect weekend to get our grill on. We had some friends who decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather, by hosting the first grill-out of the season, complete with burgers, dogs, and lots of cold beer. No grill-out is complete without the honorary classic macaroni salad.

Classic Macaroni Salad


In all honesty, I have to say, I have not had macaroni salad since I was a kid. Okay, I have nibbled here and there, but usually, I turn my nose up at it. Most often, macaroni salad is gooey, way too creamy, over sweet, and has too many hard-boiled eggs. I wanted my recipe to be light, and flavorful.  After doing some research, I came to the conclusion, that our salad would not be the typical classic macaroni salad; it was not going to have sugar, over processed yellow mustard, no carrot slivers, no sweet pickles, and no hard-boiled eggs.  I am not a hater of these things;  I just don’t believe they belong in macaroni salad.  For the record, I am a hater of over-processed yellow mustard;  Lenny is not.  We are both haters of generic sweet pickles – YUCK!

This Chez Us classic macaroni salad is light, flavorful, and creamy.  The creamy part of this dressing is made with mayo, Dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar.  I use an organic, canola oil based mayo, that is naturally sweet, as well the sherry vinegar is slightly sweet;  no need to add more sugar to this recipe.  I seasoned the base with fresh green garlic, red onion, fresh dill, and zesty Paulie’s Pickling pickles.  I don’t normally dig pickles, but am LOVING these.  Zippy.  Zesty.  Crunchy.  Perfect addition to our macaroni salad.   For some extra crunch, I tossed in some diced celery.

Do you have a favorite way to make a “classic macaroni salad”?

Recipe:  Classic Macaroni Salad

What you need:

  • 8 cups cooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cup mayo
  • 3 tablespoon Dijon
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dill, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 half of a large pickle, minced
  • 1/2 cup celery, minced
  • sprinkle of paprika

How To:

Cook the macaroni according to package directions.  Do not overcook.  You want the macaroni to be al dente, not mushy.

While the macaroni is cooking, soak the red onions in cold water, for 15 minutes.  Drain the onions, then wrap in a flour-sack towel, or paper towel, to dry.

In a large serving bowl, add the mayo, dijon, and vinegar;  whisk until smooth.

Add the onion, pickle, dill, and celery;  stir until mixed.

Fold in the macaroni.

Chill for at least an hour.



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Thursday 3rd of April 2014

Is there such a thing as "green garlic" if so where can I purchase it?


Friday 4th of April 2014

Hi GiA - There is! It is the garlic pulled young, and it is so delicious. We find it at the farmer's market as well as some grocery stores. Regular garlic will also work.

Feeding Time

Saturday 30th of April 2011

Yummo! This looks right up my alley. I'm into any kind of macaroni really, but this has all my favourite ingredients blended into one dish!

Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels

Monday 25th of April 2011

Yesterday I was craving macaroni salad and was looking for a reipe. I'm so glad I found your recipe. It look so flavorful and soooo good. And your photos are just gorgous. :)

Brian @ A Thought For Food

Friday 22nd of April 2011

I'm so ready for those days where it's consistently sunny, in the 70s, with a nice breeze. It is still a ways a way... and it probably won't last very longs... but this pasta salad just brought a nice big smile to my face.

Denise Woodward

Friday 22nd of April 2011

Ezpeletako Bipera, is a Basque Paprika (, it is slightly spicy, w/only a touch of smokiness. You never use to be able to find it in the states, it was a special treat bought when in Europe. I usually stock up when I am over there; but, when in a pinch amazon does sell it ( as well I have found it at Whole Foods. The amazon price is actually about $3.00 less than what I paid in France last summer.