Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad With Variations


6 to 8 servings

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • Boiling water as needed
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped peeled onion or green onion (include some green part)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice or 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive or other cooking oil
  • ½ cup mayonnaise or reduced-fat or no-fat mayonnaise plus 3 tablespoons sour cream or reduced-fat or no-fat sour cream, or 2/3 cup mayonnaise or reduced-fat or no-fat mayonnaise
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Crisp leaf or bibb or Boston lettuce (optional)
  • Sprigs of parsley for garnish

Cook macaroni in boiling water according to package directions; drain and rinse well in cold water and thoroughly drain again.  In a medium bowl, combine macaroni, celery, onion, lemon juice or vinegar, and olive or other cooking oil, tossing lightly to mix.  Cover and chill 1 hour.  Add mayonnaise and sour cream.  Season with salt and pepper, mixing gently but well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Spoon into a serving bowl lined with leaf or bibb or Boston lettuce, if desired; garnish with sprigs of parsley.


  • Add 1 cup shredded or cubed sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or other desired cheese or cheese blends.
  • Add 2 to 3 tablespoons drained chopped pimento or chopped sweet red or yellow or green pepper, or a combination.
  • Add 1/3 cup chopped peeled carrot.
  • Add 2 tablespoons chopped chives.
  • Add ½ cup thinly sliced black/ripe or pimento-stuffed olives.
  • Add ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and/or a few drops hot pepper sauce to macaroni  mixture with the dressing.
  • Add seasoned salt or seafood seasoning to taste.
  • Add 1 cup peeled and deveined (tails removed) cooked very small shrimp and/or cooked bay or sea scallops (cut each sea scallop in half).


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