Zingy Macaroni Salad

Zingy Macaroni Salad

A slight update to the classic side.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
refrigeration time for best results 4 hours
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8


for the dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons juice from a jar of pickled banana peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

for the salad

  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/4 loose cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 "baby" cucumbers, diced
  • 3-4 chopped pickled banana peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic in brine drained
  • 12 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.


We bought garlic in brine at Lidl but any pickled garlic would work, even home-canned.
Keyword pantry cooking, pasta salad, side dish

Macaroni salad always reminds me of my childhood. I’m not sure why, we never made it and we rarely even ate it but my mom would get it the extremely rare times we’d get fried oysters out and occasionally in the summer from the now defunct local grocery store chain, Mars.

I like it because you can make it ahead and it is even better if you do. Even if I’m making it for our own dinner, sometimes I’d rather get my cooking out of the way during the day and be able to just serve it at dinnertime. Sometimes it feels weird to be home all day just waiting to spring into the kitchen to make dinner if you know what I mean. Let’s just be done!

I’m never quite sure when a pasta-based salad is referred to strictly as pasta salad and not as macaroni salad but I think it’s when you add meat or cheese. I feel comfortable classifying this as a macaroni salad. This is very flavorful thanks to two pickled ingredients, mustard powder, and fresh cilantro, and was a great side for my pulled chicken sandwiches, which I was also able to start around lunchtime and just serve for dinner.


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