Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

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This easy macaroni salad recipe is light, delicious and perfect for sunnier days and barbecues!

I do love a good pasta salad! And since the warmer, sunnier days are upon us here in northern California, I thought I’d celebrate finally seeing the sun after all that rain we had by enjoying some sunny weather food.

Macaroni salad is such a versatile dish! You can put pretty much anything into pasta and call it a pasta salad. But people do have their traditional recipes that they make over and over, and this is one of mine. It has a bit of an Italian flare, and it pairs well with just about any food you can pull off a grill.

A glass bowl sits filled with just-mixed, clean eating easy macaroni salad. A wooden spoon is nestled into the salad at the side of the bowl.

IS MACARONI SALAD GOOD OR BAD FOR YOU?

I hate labeling anything as “good” or “bad”. (Although, I always hold the opinion that all processed junk is just that. Junk) That being said, it will all depend on what you put into it. The noodles here are whole grain and the mayo is made with healthy fats. So as long as you don’t exceed your fat intake for the day, there’s no reason to feel guilty about eating a whole grain pasta salad with healthy ingredients.

HOW LONG DOES MACARONI SALAD KEEP IN THE REFRIGERATOR?

As with most foods made with good ingredients, this will last for 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

An overview shot of this clean eating easy macaroni salad recipe, looking down into the bowl at this colorful dish.

WHAT GOES GOOD WITH MACARONI SALAD?

This type of pasta salad is great because it can be a main meal or a side dish. As a side dish, it pairs well with any typical barbecue food you enjoy. Summer foods are great with macaroni! The best pairing that I know of is, with baked beans. YUM!!!

WHAT IS MACARONI SALAD MADE OF?

Honestly, you can put just about anything in a good pasta salad. Typically, it will have mayonnaise and other additions as you see with this recipe. But it doesn’t have to include the mayo. There are tons of pasta salads that don’t use any mayo at all. The sky is pretty much the limit with pasta salads and what’s “traditional” in one region will be different in another area. So it’s pretty much just what you want it to be!

CAN I FREEZE MACARONI SALAD?

Yes and no. Here’s an article that gives you lots of information on freezing pasta salad.

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EASY MACARONI SALAD RECIPE:

A glass bowl sits filled with just-mixed, clean eating easy macaroni salad. A wooden spoon is nestled into the salad at the side of the bowl.

Easy Macaroni Salad

A delicious, creamy, pasta salad that is super easy to make.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 334kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. macaroni (whole grain is best)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (chopped small)
  • 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (clean, store bought or homemade - see link above)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)

Instructions

  • Boil your pasta to package directions.
  • While the pasta cooks, chop your veggies and place all the remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  • When the past is done, (rinse if pasta is gluten free, do NOT rinse if it's regular pasta) cool a bit and then add it to the mixing bowl.
  • Stir well to combine.
  • Taste and adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. There really is no way to do this wrong unless you add too much salt!

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25the recipe | Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 138mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 695IU | Vitamin C: 28.3mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1.3mg

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