Macaroni Salad loaded with vegetables and coated with a creamy flavorful dressing. The addition of cheddar gives it a nice texture and chew. Finally, a macaroni salad worth eating.
I'll be the first to admit that I run the other way when I see macaroni salad at a cookout. I was brought up where food should never be left on a plate, but I had to break that rule. Some was plopped on my plate by the person who made it. I was in a difficult situation where I moved it around on the plate to make it look like I ate some then placed my napkin over it to hide the evidence. It did challenge me to create a macaroni salad worth eating.
The secret to creating a good pasta salad dish is to cook the pasta one minute past the "al dente" time suggested on package. This is only true when making a cold pasta dish. If the pasta is cooked al dente, it becomes chewy and hard when it cools.
I had to make the dressing somewhat interesting. I paired mayonnaise with sour cream and mixed in a little sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. It wasn't until I added some red wine vinegar and a pinch of cayenne that made it pop. Red onion, sweet red pepper, diced zucchini, diced yellow squash, and shredded cheddar cheese added flavor and texture.
Finally, a macaroni salad worth eating.
Try some of my other salads:
- Spinach watermelon feta salad with lime vinaigrette
- Sweet and tangy cucumber salad
- Mexican street corn salad
- Sonoma chicken salad
- Peruvian oil and vinegar potato salad
Life is too short for mediocre food.
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- ½ pound macaroni or pasta of choice
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream*
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 - 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon granulated onion
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Few dashes hot sauce
- 1 cup red pepper diced
- 1 cup yellow squash diced
- 1 cup zucchini diced
- ½ cup red onion diced
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- Cook the macaroni as recommended on package. If the package gives a time for al dente, cook one minute more. Rinse with cold water and drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, mix the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion, pepper, and cayenne together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Transfer the pasta, red pepper, squash, zucchini, red onion, and cheese into a large bowl.
- Mix in the dressing and toss until everything is coated. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. You can reserve a little of the dressing to freshen up the pasta salad before serving.
**You may use double the amount of zucchini instead of yellow squash.
The measurements for the vegetables do not have to be exact. It happens to average out to 1 cup per veggie, but a little over or under is no big deal.