This classic summer recipe can be whipped up in no time by following these simple steps to make the perfect healthy macaroni salad.
Pasta salads are a favorite food item at barbeques, potlucks and picnics.
Healthy Macaroni Salad Recipe
This recipe is delicious, fresh, and easy to make. And best of all, it uses real food ingredients making a healthier option for your next summer gathering.
We love it because of the fresh healthy veggies and versatility of the ingredients. And because of how easy it is to put together!
This macaroni salad contains crisp fresh cucumbers and plenty of other good-for-you produce. It’s full of delicious and fresh flavors.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- elbow macaroni noodles – or other favorite pasta shape, you could even substitute with whole wheat pasta noodles
- light mayonnaise – homemade is a great option or we love one with an avocado oil base from Thrive Market. You could also try to swap this out with a whole fat sour cream.
- extra virgin olive oil – we love to buy good quality olive oil from Supermarket Italy — highly recommend looking for an authentic d.o.p. version if possible.
- ground mustard
- garlic powder
- black pepper
- red bell pepper
- salt to taste
Other ingredients that go good in this pasta salad include red onions, green onions, tomatoes, and fresh dill. It is completely versatile in flavors and you can sub out your favorite veggies!
We love how simple it is to put this summer salad together. Get the taste of a summer cookout with just one bowl.
Begin by preparing the pasta – cook and drain the elbow macaroni noodles in a large pot. Don’t forget to salt the pasta water! To do this, add 2 tablespoons of salt for 1 pound of pasta. Add the salt just as the water begins to boil and before adding the pasta noodles.
In a large bowl, stir to combine the noodles, mayo, olive oil, and spices. Use a wooden spoon to fold the ingredients together until the noodles are evenly coated in the creamy dressing.
Add the celery, red bell peppers, and cucumbers. Fold the vegetables into the pasta mixture until they are evenly distributed throughout the salad.
Cover the bowl tightly and place it in the fridge for an hour to allow the salad time to get cold.
🍅 Recipe tips
I wholeheartedly believe that good quality ingredients make for the best recipes! I don’t recommend any fake or overly processed ingredients and will usually recommend organic / non-gmo ingredients whenever possible.
Sourcing good quality ingredients can be difficult sometimes. Did you know that most of the olive oil in grocery stores aren’t truly authentic? Or that most seafood is farmed and sourced from China? These are just a couple of examples of confusing product labels.
How do we find the BEST ingredients? If you’re like me, then sourcing clean ingredients is important to you! So, I’ve created a favorite shop page with all of my recommendations. Here you can find all of the best places to source good quality ingredients!
How to store leftover macaroni salad
Store leftover macaroni salad in an airtight container inside the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
FAQ (frequently asked questions)
When making a macaroni salad it is easy to make it healthy by adding fresh clean ingredients and not using a standard macaroni salad dressing. Instead use a healthier combination of light homemade mayo or an avocado based mayonnaise. You can also use whole wheat, gluten-free, or other clean ingredient noodles. And of course loading the macaroni salad with plenty of fresh vegetables!
The first step is to ensure you have a flavorful pasta salad is to salt the pasta water properly! To do this, add about 2 tablespoons of sea salt to 1 pound of pasta. Add the salt to the boiling water just before you drop in pasta noodles. Then adequately season the finished pasta with desired seasonings, sauce, and plenty of fresh veggies!
want more recipes?
Check out the recipe index where you can discover more homemade recipes from my homestead!
Healthy Macaroni Salad
- In a large bowl, combine the noodles, mayo, olive oil, and spices. Use a wooden spoon to fold the ingredients together until the noodles are evenly coated in the mayo.
- Add the celery, red bell peppers, and cucumbers. Fold the vegetables into the pasta mixture until they are evenly distributed throughout the salad.
- Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for an hour to allow the salad time to get cold.
- Season with additional salt as desired, serve, and enjoy!