Love macaroni salad, me too! This creamy macaroni salad is easy to make and absolutely delicious. You won't even be able to tell that it's actually a little lighter than a traditional macaroni salad. Rather than using lots and lots of mayo (even though I love the stuff!), I use a blend of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise to make it richer, tangier and a bit healthier. So even though this is called a healthy macaroni salad, don't be afraid to switch it up and try this version instead. Your tastebuds will thank you, I promise.
If there is one dish that reminds me of my mom, it has to be her macaroni salad. She was known for it. And she pretty much had to make it for nearly every spring/summer and even fall occasion. We all loved it. As I got older, I remember watching her make it and seeing the copious amounts of mayo and Miracle Whip make its way into that big bowl of macaroni salad. And being someone who was always a little obsessed with food and my body, I swore I wouldn't eat it. It was too fattening I thought, after reading the nutrition info on the labels. But, I was pretty much impervious to her macaroni salad and I just had to eat it.
And I'm SO glad I did. My mom passed away when I was 26 and I miss her and that macaroni salad immensely. I'll never forget the first time I was responsible for making her macaroni salad for the first family gathering. I had zero idea how to cook, so my chopping skills needed work to say the least. And even though I followed her recipe, I couldn't get it to taste the same. I think that's the thing about recreating someone you loves recipe. No matter what, it won't taste the exact same. So I'm embracing that this version is different, but it still brings back all those memories and it tastes delicious in its own way.
What do you think? Have you ever tried to recreate a recipe from someone you loved, did it taste the same (even if you followed their recipe)?
Macaroni: the star of the show! To keep things classic, go for some elbow macaroni. Use gluten free or whole wheat if you want.
Pepper: for colour and crunch, plus lots of vitamin C too! Use any colour pepper you want.
Red Onion: I love red onion in here, diced very small.
Celery: for more colour and crunch.
Greek yogurt: to help bring more creaminess to the macaroni salad and provide some tang too. I opt for full fat Greek yogurt.
Lemon: for acidity
Honey: just a small amount to help balance the flavours.
Dill: I love adding dill to this because dill is delicious, feel free to use dill or another fresh herb you like.
Green onion: a few stalks for more colour and flavour.
The best part about this simple macaroni salad may just be how easy it is to make. This is probably why it's always such a staple at BBQ's and picnics. It also holds up really well and actually improves in flavour as it sits and the flavours can come together more.
First, you'll want to cook your macaroni. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside in a large bowl. You can add a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to help it from sticking together if you want.
Next, chop up the veggies. You want a very fine dice on all the veggies, so it's time to show off your knife skills. Add them to the bowl of macaroni. Also chop up the dill and green onions and set that aside.
Time to make the dressing. In a small bowl, add the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon, honey and salt and whisk. Season with pepper to taste.
Pour the dressing on the macaroni salad and stir well to combine. If you find it's too dry, go ahead and add more mayo and Greek yogurt in. See my tips for the ratio you're looking for.
Last, add the dill and green onion in and give it a final stir. Let it sit in the fridge for about 1-2 hours to get cold before serving. See tips for making ahead of time.
Macaroni salad goes with so many summer dishes, especially anything made on the BBQ. Check out these other recipes to see what to serve it with.
Make this macaroni salad work for you by making any of the following swaps.
This will keep in the fridge for up to 5-6 days.
Keep this healthy macaroni salad tasting it's best by following these tips:
This will depend on what you deem as healthy. To me, yes, this can be a healthy and enjoyable side dish. I think it also depends on the ingredients you use. This is why I opt for a mayo made with avocado oil over canola as it's less processed and better for your health.
Everyone is different in their approach to health and healthy eating. My version is going to be different than someone else's. Personally, being healthy also means being able to enjoy the foods I'm eating. So although I may make a few swaps with ingredients, the food is never compromised and still tastes delicious.
If you can't find or don't want to purchase avocado oil mayo (hey, it's expensive!), use regular. Or you can even make your own mayo too, it's actually quite easy to do. Either way, don't stress it!
If you make this healthy macaroni salad recipe please share with me, by tagging me on Instagram or leave a comment and/or review below. I truly love seeing and hearing form you!
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A simple and delicious healthy macaroni salad made with a combination of mayo and Greek yogurt.
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