|A classic, old fashioned macaroni salad, made with elbow macaroni, sweet onion, celery, chopped pickles, and pimento - simple, the kind that grandma used to make.|
Classic Old Fashioned Macaroni SaladBefore there were pasta salads filled with all sorts of yummy goodies, there was the humble macaroni salad. Usually a very simple concoction containing elbow macaroni, a little celery, most always pickles and pimentos here in the south, and sometimes onion, it's dressed usually with a very classic mayonnaise dressing.
I love adding in pickle juice - usually some kind of bread and butter pickle since that is what I have on hand the most. Of course I save pickle juice, don't you? A tablespoon or two will brighten up pretty much any pasta salad, or things like tuna and egg salad where you typically add in pickles anyway, but I love this old fashioned macaroni salad with a little bit more juice added in myself.
It's the classic macaroni salad our grandma's made - though you can certainly add in whatever you like - and perfect for cookouts, church socials and potluck suppers. For more substance, toss in some cooked chicken, cubed ham, small, cooked shrimp, or well drained tuna.
Here's how to make it.
In a large serving bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of pickle juice - or you can use your favorite vinegar - the granulated sugar, Creole mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Set that aside.
Cook pasta in well salted, boiling water until al dente according to package directions. Drain, rinse and I like to drizzle it with olive oil. A reader once asked me why I do that and I'm not even sure when or why I started to be honest. It adds some flavor, maybe a little benefit from the oil too, but it also keeps it from being overly sticky too. Add the macaroni to the serving bowl on top of the dressing while it's still warm.
Top with the onion and celery.
Add the pimentos, pickles and the extra 1/4 cup of pickle juice, if using; toss.
Taste, add salt and pepper, taste and adjust as needed.
Refrigerate before serving for at least 2 hours, or overnight, if possible; toss again before serving, stirring in additional mayonnaise, pickle juice, or both, if more moisture is needed.
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Recipe: Classic Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 2 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (Duke's recommended)
- 2 tablespoons of pickle juice or vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon of Creole or other spicy brown mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 2 cups of dry elbow macaroni
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 cup of chopped sweet onion
- 1/4 cup of chopped celery
- 1 (2 ounce) jar of pimentos, drained
- 1/8 cup of chopped pickles, sweet or dill
- 1/4 cup of pickle juice, optional
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
In a large serving bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients; set aside. Cook pasta in well salted water until al dente according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drizzle with olive oil; add to serving bowl. Top with the onion, celery, pimentos, pickles and pickle juice and toss. Taste, add salt and pepper, taste and adjust as needed. Refrigerate before serving for at least 2 hours, or overnight, if possible; toss again before serving, stirring in additional mayonnaise or pickle juice if more moisture is needed.
Cook's Notes: I use Zatarain's Creole mustard and bread and butter fridge pickles and juice. You may also substitute vinegar for the pickle juice.
BLT Macaroni Salad: Just before serving, stir in 1-1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce, 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, and 1/2 pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled.
Other add-ins: Sliced or chopped black or green olives, chopped or grated carrot, green, red or yellow bell pepper, red onion, frozen, thawed green peas, sliced green onion, chopped, boiled eggs, seeded and chopped tomatoes, seeded and chopped cucumber, shredded or cubed cheese, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and fresh herbs are all good choices.
Tip: For a pretty presentation, garnish with a little paprika and lay slices of hard boiled eggs across the top. Top with cooked, crumbled bacon and chopped fresh parsley. Can also serve on individual chilled salad plates dressed with lettuce leaves or shredded lettuce, with a garnish of crumbled egg and cooked bacon.
Variation: Add 2 cups of cooked chicken (canned okay), 1-1/2 cups of cubed ham, 2 cups of small, cooked shrimp, drained, canned salmon alone, or in combination with, 2 cans of tuna, well drained, or just use the tuna alone.
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