Southern Macaroni Salad | Nik Snacks ~ Nik Snacks

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On 1:33 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , ,    No comments
Macaroni salad is a staple at picnics, potlucks and cookouts all over the south. It's a culinary barometer, right alongside potato salad: it is a measure of culinary prowess and know-how. If the salad is good, everything else should be safe and delicious too.

But not everyone is welcome to the party.

There are tons of versions of this mayonnaise-based side dish that include a variety of ingredients like: carrots (alright), onions, pickle relish (maybe), bell peppers, shredded cheese (no), raisins (absolutely not), diced celery (ok) and tomatoes (nu uh).

Macaroni salad deserves a bit of fanfare with the slight crunch of diced cruciferous vegetables, tang from vinegar and mustard with a soft and creamy finish of mayonnaise. Too much mayo and it becomes gloppy and moves from Southern American territory and is more akin to Hawaiian BBQ plate lunch. Too little and you might as well start over.

The pasta should be short-tube like macaroni or ditalini (which look like craft beads) and prepared just past al dente.

This salad tastes best when it’s had some time in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld and the mayo sauce to permeate the noodles. Allow for at least an hour before serving, or make it the night before for the best, flavorful taste. And always remember to taste again before serving to decide if more salt and pepper seasoning needs to be added.

Southern Macaroni Salad
Yield: Serves 6 to 8

16 oz elbow macaroni 
1 cup mayonnaise or ranch dressing 
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons yellow mustard 
1 Tablespoon white or cider vinegar 
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1 rib of celery, chopped finely
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt 
1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste 
2 Tablespoons pickle relish  
Green onion for garnish (optional)

1. Place in a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Follow box directions  
3. In a separate bowl, make salad dressing by mixing together mayonnaise, sugar, mustard, vinegar, seasonings, celery and pickle relish.
4. Drain the pasta, rinse under cold water and pour into the mixing bowl with the dressing.
5. Toss until all the pasta is coated. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
6. Sprinkle top lightly with green onions, if desired.
6. Chill for 3 hours or overnight for the flavors to meld and soak into the pasta.