Shishito Pepper Macaroni Salad


Shishito Pepper Macaroni Salad

A zippy version of the deli counter classic.
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
refrigeration 4 hours
Course Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6


for the dressing

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 medium red onion, small dice
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

for the salad:

  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 shishito peppers, diced
  • 16 oz cooked macaroni, cooled


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the onion, celery, carrot, pepper, and macaroni.
  • Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving, but overnight is best.
Keyword pasta salad, side dish

As the weather gets more pleasant, my mind turns to cold side dishes. Side dishes are always the bane of my cooking existence. You always seem to need them but the main course is naturally the star and sometimes, oftentimes one doesn’t actually feel like making them. Cold side dishes have the advantage because, obviously, you can make them ahead of time and closer to mealtime focus on the main event. I also like to make cold side dishes for times when we are getting the main dish from somewhere else–fried chicken or fish and steamed crabs do well with a creamy side–I can have it ready to go when the takeout arrives.

Macaroni salad is a slightly forgotten deli side, I think. Potato salad gets all the press but I think it has a real place on the table. It’s even easier (and cheaper!) to make and if you get the flavors correct, just as tasty. The trick is to make a flavorful dressing. I love celery seed so that always goes in but don’t skimp on the good quality mustard powder. It disolves easily, adds some heat but doesn’t add a competing vinegar note like prepared mustard can. I like a bit of crunch from celery and for this version, I added shishito peppers which add the fun element of 8 out of 10 being mild and the last two being quite hot. Will this be a spicy or mellow macaroni salad? Only time will tell.

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