Healthy Macaroni Salad « Clean & Delicious


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This deliciously creamy deli-style Healthy Macaroni Salad Recipe is loaded with elbow macaroni, red onion, bell pepper, pickles, and hard-boiled eggs; all tossed in a creamy, flavorful dressing. The only side dish you’ll need for summer barbecues, parties, or get-togethers and also perfect for meal prep!

Is anyone else a fan of barbecues and cookouts solely for all of the side dishes?! I can’t get enough of the pasta saladbroccoli saladpotato salad, and even deviled eggs! For me, the side dishes are the star of the show! And I am pleased to report this healthy macaroni salad turned out SO good. It’s rich, and creamy, with the perfect amount of tang from the dressing and crunch from the veggies.

This will be your new favorite side dish to make during the summer! It goes great with burgers, chicken sausage, or grilled chicken. It is also a great dish to make ahead of time and only takes 15 minutes to prep!

Ingredients needed

There are a lot of different ways to make a macaroni salad, but this way is pretty classic, with no crazy ingredients, just simple and delicious flavors! Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Pasta – Use your favorite type of pasta! I am using gluten-free brown rice elbow noodles but you can also try a lentil or bean pasta for the extra protein or go with a more traditional macaroni
  • Vegetables – Red onion, celery, bell pepper (use red, yellow, and/or orange), and gherkins pickles are added for crunch!
  • Hard-boiled egg – Many macaroni salad recipes don’t include eggs, but I love the texture (and added protein!) they add to the salad.
  • Mayonnaise & Greek yogurt – I love using a combination of mayonnaise and Greek yogurt as the base of the dressing. If preferred, you can use all mayo or all Greek yogurt.
  • Red wine vinegar – You can also use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Honey – Just a teaspoon! I find this little bit is enough to round out the flavors of the dressing.
  • Dijon Mustard – For a subtle spiciness that pairs well with the other flavors.
  • Garlic – Because don’t ALL dishes need a little garlic?
  • Salt & pepper – To bring all of the flavors together.
Ingredients for pasta salad divided into small bowls.

How to make this recipe

Macaroni salad is one of the easiest recipes to toss together. The most time-consuming part about making this side dish is cutting up all the vegetables.

For full (printable) instructions, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Boil pasta. Cook macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain well and drizzle with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil so the noodles don’t stick together.
  2. Combine salad ingredients. In a large bowl, combine macaroni, red onion, celery, bell pepper, pickles, and eggs. Set aside.
  3. Make dressing. In a spouted cup or medium bowl, combine mayo, Greek yogurt, red wine vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Assemble. Pour the dressing over the macaroni salad and gently toss until everything is well combined. Enjoy immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Tips

Here are a few tips to ensure your healthy macaroni salad is perfect!

  • Don’t over-cook your noodles – I like to cook the noodles just until al-dente, any longer and the noodles will become mushy and break apart when in the salad.
  • Salt your water – This helps to season the whole dish!
  • Rinse noodles in cold water – I recommend rinsing the cooked pasta in cold water and also adding a teaspoon of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Rinsing the pasta also keeps the noodles from continuing to cook. The Kitchn has a great article on when to rinse pasta and when to not!

Variations

It’s super easy to customize pasta salads with extra or different ingredients. Here’s some ideas:

  • Gluten-free – This salad can easily be made gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. I used brown rice pasta.
  • Cheese – Try adding mini mozzarella balls, crumbled goat cheese, cheddar cheese cubes, diced pepper jack, or crumbled feta cheese.
  • Protein – This salad is great with the addition of chopped grilled chicken or salmon. Or try my Healthy Tuna Macaroni Salad.
  • Veggies – Add even more veggies; like shredded carrots, chopped cucumber, or sliced green onions.
  • Spice it up – For a kick of heat mix in diced jalapeños, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or a couple of dashes of crushed red pepper flakes.

How To Meal Prep

  • To make ahead – This creamy macaroni salad is a great recipe to make in advance to really let the flavors develop. You can make it up to two days ahead of time.
  • Storage – Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Give it a good stir before serving.
  • Freezing – I do not recommend freezing this salad recipe. The creamy dressing will not have the same texture or taste the same frozen and then thawed. It’s best to make this fresh and enjoy it within 4 days. You can also cut this recipe in half if you are serving fewer people.
Creamy macaroni salad in a large bowl.

More side dish recipes

Looking for more easy sides? Here are some faves:

If you make and enjoy this Healthy Macaroni Salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment and ★ rating below letting me know how they turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for me and our Clean & Delicious community (thank you!).

Macaroni salad served in a large bowl.

Print Recipe

Healthy Macaroni Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs and Greek Yogurt

This deliciously creamy Healthy Macaroni Salad Recipe is loaded with elbow macaroni, red onion, bell pepper, pickles and hard boiled eggs; all tossed in a creamy, flavorful dressing. The only side dish you’ll need for summer barbecues, parties, potlucks or get togethers!

Course: salad, sides

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time8 mins

Total Time23 mins

Servings: 8 servings

Calories: 305kcal

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni I used brown rice pasta
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery finely diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup orange bell pepper diced
  • 1/3 cup gherkins pickles diced
  • 3 hard boiled eggs chopped

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook macaroni according to the package instructions. Drain well and drizzle with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil so the noodles don’t stick together. In a large bowl, combine macaroni, red onion, celery, and bell pepper, pickles and eggs. Set aside.

  • In spouted cup or medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, red wine vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.

  • Pour the dressing over the macaroni salad and gently toss until everything is well combined.

  • Enjoy immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Notes

  • To make ahead – This creamy macaroni salad is a great recipe to make in advance to really let the flavors develop. You can make it up to two days ahead of time.
  • Storage – Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Give it a good stir before serving.
  • Freezing – I do not recommend freezing this salad recipe. The creamy dressing will not have the same texture or taste the same frozen and then thawed. It’s best to make this fresh and enjoy it within 4 days. You can also cut this recipe in half if you are serving fewer people.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 458IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg

About Dani Spies

Dani Spies is the founder and host of Clean & Delicious; a weekly cooking show on YouTube and a healthy eating blog that celebrates real, whole foods! She takes a holistic approach to health and wellness and is loved for her approachable, down to earth style both in and out of the kitchen.

Learn MoreWork With Me

Reader Interactions

Yum! I love this recipe.



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