I was at a picnic not too long ago and someone had brought this old-fashioned salad along. You wouldn’t believe how fast it went. Sometimes these simple, old-fashioned recipes really hit the spot; they’re almost a welcome relief! Of course, I had to show it to my to my son and his girlfriend. It’s a great little recipe to have on a hot summer’s day for home or to bring somewhere.
Best of all, there’s not much to it and if you can boil noodles, you can make it! By the way, if you’re new to boiling noodles, read the chart on the back of the box or bag, use a bigger pot and more water than you think you’ll need, cover the pot when heating the water (it gets up to a boil a bit faster) and gently stir as the noodles go in and after it comes to a boil so they don’t stick to the bottom. A flat spatula is great for this!
Once the noodles start to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and watch the pot so it doesn’t boil over. The timing starts when the noodles begin their boil, and if the pot looks like it will overflow, usually a quick stir and turning down the heat does the trick, if not nudge it off the burner for a minute. When you think they’re done, test a bit early, and test more than one noodle!
But back to the salad – it doesn’t hurt either that there are a few easy ways to modify this recipe. It can be made as a side with just the macaroni, dressing and vegetables or made into a Tuna & Macaroni Salad. If you’re young and starting out, canned tuna can be a great budget item. It’s regularly on sale for about 59 cents a can in my area.
I often see this salad with little to no vegetables, but I think it’s best made with as many as you can add and still have it hold together! Celery, Green Peppers and Onions are always inexpensive; Red and Orange Bell Peppers are prettier, but usually a bit pricier. This recipe uses ground mustard, which I think makes the recipe, but a little ballpark or Dijon could be substituted.
Classic Macaroni Salad
- 8 ounces, about 1 3/4 cups, uncooked Macaroni
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of finely diced celery, about two stalks
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion, about 1/4
- 1/2 diced green pepper, about 1/2 cup
- 2 to 3 finely sliced green onions
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise or 1/2 mayonnaise and 1/2 yogurt
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pickle relish (optional to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Cook Macaroni al dente in salted water according to package directions. Rinse immediately in cool water and drain well. Add to a large bowl.
Add celery, onion, pepper, green onion and hard-cooked eggs. Toss together. Add in tuna if using and gently toss.
Mix Dressing ingredients, Mayonnaise (or mayo/yogurt mixture), vinegar, pickle relish, if using, mustard powder, sugar salt and pepper. Combine gently with Macaroni mixture. Refrigerate.
Best if refrigerated for about an hour before serving. If mixture becomes too dense, add a little extra mayonnaise or a tablespoon or two of water to loosen the consistency.
How much and what kind of Tuna is safe to eat? Check out this handy calculator by Colin Dunn of Planet Green. Hint: light tuna has much lower levels of mercury than Albacore.