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Macaroni salad is a classic American side dish that is perfect for many events, gatherings, potlucks, and parties. Everyone loves a cold, creamy macaroni salad, and this recipe happens to be my favorite!
This salad has lots of vegetables, including jalapeno peppers, onions, carrots, red bell peppers, and celery. These vegetables give the salad a nice crunchy texture while also making it more nutritious. This beautiful recipe has plenty of colors, and it looks wonderful on a picnic spread. You can even make it as a side dish for a BBQ. So, give this deli-style recipe a try, and let me know what you think!
Substitutions and Variations
If you are looking to make a slightly healthier version of this deli-style macaroni salad, you can use light mayo or substitute the sour cream with yogurt. These substitutes will still give your dish the creaminess it needs to be a perfect macaroni salad. You can also use different colored bell peppers since they each have a slightly different flavor.
Tips for the Best Macaroni Salad
Cook the pasta perfectly. Make sure to cook the pasta for the exact amount of time on the box. The pasta needs to be tender enough to absorb the flavors, mayo, and mustard, but it also needs to be firm enough so that it does not become soggy.
Refrigerate before eating. Once you finish making the salad, refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. This will give the ingredients time to come together. The pasta will also start to absorb the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, and lime juice.
Should You Rinse the Macaroni Before Making Macaroni Salad?
No, you should not rinse the macaroni before combining the ingredients for your dish. This may sound confusing since I said it is important to cook the pasta for the right amount of time, and rinsing your pasta is a known way to prevent pasta from overcooking. However, the starch on pasta is a key ingredient for helping the ingredients properly combine.
Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika, lime juice, and lime zest until blended, and set aside.
Add celery, red pepper, carrots, green onions, and jalapeno peppers to a large bowl. Toss with the salad dressing and keep in the fridge until the macaroni is ready.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook the elbow macaroni in the boiling water for about 8-10 minutes, drain but do not rinse, and shake out the water.
Pour the dressing and vegetable over the macaroni and keep at least 4 hours in the fridge for the flavors to come together.
How Long Can You Store Macaroni Salad?
|1 lb 16 oz uncooked elbow macaroni|
|1 medium-size jalapeno pepper (diced)|
|2 stalks green onion (white and green side chopped)|
|2 carrots (grated)|
|1 red bell pepper (diced )|
|3 stalks celery (diced)|
For the Salad Dressing:
|1 teaspoon sweet paprika|
|⅛ teaspoon black pepper|
|2 teaspoon salt|
|3 tablespoons Dijon mustard|
|1 ½ tablespoon mayonnaise|
|2 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt|
|2 tablespoons white vinegar|
|2 tablespoons lime juice plus zest|
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