This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen. With Independence Day quickly approaching, I wanted to try a new recipe for macaroni salad. The ingredients caught my attention because of the addition of lemon juice. I followed the recipe exactly – and what I liked was that the dressing was not overly thick. The lemon added a nice fresh flavor to the salad. What I did not like is that it seemed to be lacking something else. I thought the parsley was overpowering. I would change that to something like basil – and I bought a ham steak, diced it up and added about 1 cup to the salad. It was now much better! It still is not my most favorite recipe, but it is a nice change from the same old same old. I also added about 1/2 tsp of Spike seasoning to the salad. It is a seasoning I use in my Hawaiian Potato Mac salad and really like the flavors that it adds.
Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup minced basil (originally parsley)
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp Spike (optional)
- 1 cup diced ham steak
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions. Do not overcook the pasta though, you want it to still have some texture once you add the dressing. Drain the pasta. Rinse the pasta in cold water and give it a quick drain (you want to keep a little of the moisture of the water in the pasta – it will keep the dressing from becoming overly thick.
Combine the chopped red onion, chopped celery, chopped basil (or parsley), lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper in a small bowl and add these to the cooled macaroni salad. Stir together and allow to sit for 2 or 3 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb.
Add the mayonnaise to the pasta and stir to combine. Season with Spike if you think it needs more flavor. Add the chopped ham to the pasta salad and stir. Chill until serving.