I grew up on macaroni salad dinners. In the summer my mom just didn’t cook a lot. If it was the weekend dad would grill but during the week? We were likely to eat a cold salad. My family were not big eaters. meals were often just what happened to be in the fridge and could consist of cantaloupe with ice cream, or sandwiches, or strawberry shortcake, or macaroni salad. If you were still hungry afterward? Ah… the sound of my mom’s voice echoes through the decades…
Grab a carrot.
The answer to world hunger as far as my mom was concerned was raw carrots. Snack food? Carrots. Craving something? Grab a carrot. And you know what my kids hear when they are wanting a snack? Yep… Grab a carrot.
Anyway, to me macaroni salad was summertime. I was not a big eater but I could put this stuff away. My kids can, too.
As far as I know this is a classic macaroni salad recipe that Mom no doubt cut from the paper, or package of something or other. She was not a creative cook so I imagine it is pretty much as written. I have considered updating it but I just can’t bring myself to mess with it. Macaroni salad is pretty much perfect the way it is.
My mom told me that the secret of good macaroni salad was to overcook the macaroni. No al dente here, folks. Cook it until it is very tender but still holds it’s shape. It will soak up the flavor from the salad that way. It is always better the second day so make it ahead of time if you can.Sometimes, when I am feeling particularly rebellious I will add some chopped, fresh tarragon. Just sayin’.
- 1 lb ounces elbow macaroni
- 2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise or homemade
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. mustard
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup salad olives, drained
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Pour in macaroni and cook until very tender.
- Drain completely.
- Combine mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Put macaroni, celery, carrot, onion, peppers, and olives in a large bowl.
- Pour mayonnaise mixture over and combine gently.
- Chill overnight if time permits. Add a little more dressing if necessary before serving.