15 August 2019

Classic Macaroni Salad - and Tuna Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad (THE best because of my mother's secret) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Macaroni salad is not the same as pasta salad. Follow this link for my more fashionable, vegetable-heavy, vinaigrette-dressed Pasta Salad. This is old-fashioned (retro) macaroni salad, comfort food from way before anyone ever thought of pasta salad or getting trendy with their food.

Classic macaroni salad is a hit at any picnic, potluck or barbecue (Notice I said "barbecue," not "BBQ," which is one of those things that's always irritated me!). It's great for Game Days, too, if you're into that sort of thing. It's perfect for the lunchbox, for parents or kids; everyone loves it.

After all these years, Mr Delightful, who grew up with tuna macaroni salad--and I'm sorry, but that's just crazy!--loves my Classic Macaroni Salad. I hope you will, too. But if you're on Team Tuna, don't click away; I've included that option as well. You can make Half Classic/Half Tuna.

I make this the way my mother made it, rather than the typical way. Nothing unusual about the ingredients--it's the method. She always layered on the ingredients in a particular order rather than stirring up the dressing separately. I don't know why, but it makes a difference. 

It's just not summer without Classic Macaroni Salad or Perfect Potato Salad! What dishes say "summer" to you?

Classic Macaroni Salad (THE best because of my mother's secret) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Classic Macaroni Salad for Her / Tuna Macaroni Salad For Him

(Makes 12 servings)

8 large eggs
1 1-pound (16 ounces/454 grams) package salad macaroni (ditalini)
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/30 ml) sweet pickle juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet pickles
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup or more finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup or more finely chopped red bell pepper, patted dry
1 3/4 cup real mayonnaise, divided

1 tablespoon coarse "country" Dijon mustard

Options for the half with tuna:

1 5-ounce can tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup frozen peas, thawed but not cooked

12 pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped

1 To hard-cook eggs, place eggs in a single layer in large pan. Add enough room temperature water to cover eggs completely and an inch over. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as water is bubbling lightly, remove pan from the heat and cover tightly with the lid. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and add cold water to pan; repeat twice. Leave eggs to cool for 15 minutes in cold water. Drain, and proceed with recipe or refrigerate until ready to use. (Notice that the egg yolks are yellow and velvety, not orange and shiny-gooey!) 

2 Cook macaroni al dente according to package directions in a 5- to 5.5-quart Dutch oven. Put in colander. Rinse repeatedly with cold water until macaroni is cool. Drain thoroughly. Put back in pan.

3 Sprinkle pickle juice, salt, pepper and parsley flakes over cooked and cooled macaroni. (Sure, you can use fresh parsley if you have it; but I didn't. Dill can be good, too.) Stir in pickles, carrot, celery, onion, red bell pepper, 1 1/4 cups of the mayonnaise, and the mustard. 

4 When ready to add eggs to salad, use egg slicer to slice eggs. Reserve 7 or more pretty slices for garnish (14, if using 2 bowls); cover and refrigerate. Roughly chop remaining slices and add to salad. Transfer salad to 4-quart serving dish (or two 2-quart bowls), cover and refrigerate. Chill for at least 4 hours; but making it a day ahead is best. 

5 Before serving, stir in the reserved mayonnaise (perhaps not all of it, or perhaps a bit more), as the macaroni will have absorbed the first portion and will likely be rather dry. (And this would be the case no matter how much you put in the first time!) Garnish with reserved egg slices and perhaps a bit of chopped fresh parsley or dill, if you have it.

The Tuna Option: Divide salad between two 2-quart bowls; add tuna, peas and olives to just one of them.

And now for something completely different … apropos of absolutely nothing … just a little something to make you smile.

Classic Macaroni Salad (and this sketch has nothing to do with it!) / www.delightfulrepast.com
I set out to paint Peter Rabbit, but this chap looks more 
mature than Peter. So I'm thinking of him as Old Mr Rabbit, 
Peter's father who was made into a pie by Mrs McGregor.

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Angie's Recipes said...

I haven't had any pasta in a long while. This macaroni salad has me crave some now. Very tasty and moreish!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie! I love pasta and sometimes eat it fairly frequently, but not in huge quantities. Sometimes I get a gluten-free pasta, such as brown rice, but for this I use the regular wheat pasta.

Vee said...

Looks and sounds delicious. I had a wonderful macaroni salad for the 4th of July. Perhaps for the next BBQ...er...barbecue someone will make one. It won’t be I as I am not cooking or baking much anymore. (Hope that you didn’t mind the teasing much. I just read the article about Americanisms that drive Brits nuts. I laughed a lot reading it.)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Vee, thank you. I don't mind at all! Those articles give me a good laugh as well! When I decide to cut back on my cooking or baking, I'm going to have other people make my recipes for me. I'll just say, "Oh you're making macaroni salad for the *barbecue* - need a recipe? I'd love it if you'd make mine" and just hand it to them or email them the link!

Pauline Wiles said...

I admit, this time I came "hopping" over here for the rabbit sketch, not for the food. I completely admire that you can create anything that looks remotely like the famous Peter! Yes, this chap somehow does look a bit older. Maybe Peter managed to grow up despite all his silly scrapes... or yes, good point, it could be poor old Dad.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Pauline, thank you. And I've gone right over and revised the photo caption, changing "fellow" to "chap." Can't believe I didn't do that to begin with!

Red Rose Alley said...

Oh my gosh, I could so relate to your comment about flying. I couldn't believe you almost missed your flight in the process.

Your macaroni salad looks delicious. There's nothing like a good macaroni salad in the Summer. I never thought of adding tuna to it. That's a great idea. Yours looks so creamy and Yummy, and eggs on top always make a potato and macaroni salad even better. : )

Have a nice rest of the week, Jean.


Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Sheri! No tuna for me! I'd never heard of it until my husband told me, but I've since learned it's "a thing," probably just in certain parts of the country or something!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

This really takes me back in time. Something like this used to come out at parties at least 40 years ago when I was young enough to spend a lot of time at parties. It always seemed to be served together with huge amounts of garlic bread. And yes, the salads did contain tuna sometimes if memory serves. I haven't thought about this kind of dish for a long time but now I really fancy eating a bowl (a paper bowl for nostalgic reasons).

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, you should definitely make this! Without the tuna, in my opinion, but whatever. Maybe you should make a double batch, buy some paper bowls and party like it's 1979!

Margie said...

Your classic macaroni salad is a perfect for #ThrowbackThursday!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Margie, thank you~ And why didn't I think of that?!

TONY said...

The thing about Beatrix Potter stories are their simplicity, perfect sentence structures and every sentence hits the mark. What Beatrix Pitter did looks so simple like your pasta meal Jean, but is a touch of genius, just like your pasta meal. Definitely old Mr Rabbit. We are in Berlin for a few days visiting our granddaughter. They like pasta meals in Germany too.

Tamago said...

I love both classic and tuna macaroni salads. You are very thoughtful to put both recipes and make tuna version for Mr. Delightful :-) Haha about barbecue and BBQ, I do have some words which I don't like :-)
Love Old Mr. Rabbit. He is adorable!

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

Hi Jean! I love your classic macaroni salad recipe. Mine is similar with the all important mustard, pickle juice and chopped sweet pickles. I call it "evil" because none of us can stop eating it. And it's been years since I've made my Tuna Salad. Different from yours, cooked and cheesy. And then there's that BBQ - barbeque thing. I'm always confused. BBQ = the food that comes from the cooking method? And barbeque = a party? I'm confused because so many people misuse the terms and it's always different.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Tony. I think pasta has taken over the world--everyone seems to love it. Glad you're having a few days in Berlin! You are so right about Beatrix Potter.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tamago, thank you! Glad you like Old Mr Rabbit. Rabbits are adorable, but not quite so much as cats, right?!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Lea Ann. WE have that same problem--can't stop eating it! :D Some people think it calls for *dill^ pickles, but that's just crazy, right?! People can call a "barbecue" anything they want, as long as I'm invited.

Richard Sheppard said...

*sigh* I think I'm the only person in the world that doesn't like mayo. No doubt this is wonderful for those who do! As for your painting of Peter Rabbit, or Old Mr Rabbit as you called him, looks great. Sorry to hear he was made into a pie but I bet it was tasty. And without mayo too! ;-)

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

I love macaroni salad and I make it both ways depending on whether or not I feel like tuna. Sometimes I substitute the tuna for salad shrimp which is tasty too. I make mine a little different than you do but it's a dish we all enjoy here. Sometimes I crave it in late winter and make it then too. I love pasta and I'll eat it any way I can get it. Unfortunately my hubby prefers meat and potatoes but that gets boring for me after a while. I like to change things up and keep it interesting. Hubby is a good sport however and he will eat what I put in front of him. About the only thing I have never been able to talk him into eating is molasses. He had it so much as a kid that he refuses to eat it now. I feel the same way about potatoes. We make quite a pair, don't we, Jean? Thank you for your visit and your kind words. Have a lovely weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

No, Richard, I've known a few people who hate mayonnaise. But I always ask: Are you sure? What brand? Homemade? Wouldn't want someone who gagged on Miracle Whip once, and mistakenly thinking it was mayo, swore off real mayo forever! I'm afraid I could never eat rabbit, with or without mayo, because of my lifelong love of Peter Rabbit!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, I think that's one of the most fun "adjustments" all married people have to make--food! Fortunately, Mr Delightful had a mother who wasn't a very good cook, so he has always liked most things I've put in front of him! :D

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Mr. Rabbit is just adorable, Jean! Your macaroni salad sounds like I would just love it. I haven't had any in quite awhile, and I need to try your version with the ditalini, which I love!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oh Kitty, thanks so much! Glad you like him! Hope you can try the macaroni salad soon.

Quinn said...

My first (massive) bowl of Summer 2019 3-bean salad is in the fridge right now - that's one of my "this says Summer" dishes :) I like to have something ready-to-eat and healthy on hand at all times, and salads that are more of a meal than a side dish are always a good option. Pasta (or macaroni, interesting distinction) salads appear on my radar whenever there is a sale on organic pasta...I hope there will be a sale soon, because after reading your post I am craving a bowl...with or without tuna, I am flexible ;)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Quinn! I'm not flexible :D no tuna for me! Like you, I like to have a big bowl of something in the fridge, ready to have as a meal any time.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I haven’t had a macaroni salad in decades! This brings back such fun memories for me, Jean - thanks for the lovely recipe!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, David--a real blast from the past! Someone mentioned it being from the 70s, but I think it might be from the 50s or even earlier.

Jeanie said...

As always, your food looks wonderful and this is no exception -- but I have a soft spot for Peter Rabbit so forgive me if I love your painting the most!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Don't worry, Jeanie, I can forgive that! :D

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Jean, Old Mr. Rabbit is wonderful. I didn't know you were so artistic! Your watercolor is lovely. The macaroni salad looks great, but hold the tuna for me as well.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you so much, Martha! I just started painting four months ago. It's quickly becoming a part of my life--having fun!

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