Try a new fresh take on macaroni salad with this Easy Italian Macaroni Salad! It contains zesty lemon flavors with delicious textures from fresh crunchy celery, crisp red onions, fresh parsley, and elbow pasta! A lighter side for macaroni salad makes a wonderful addition to any barbecue, picnic, or potluck. A new classic favorite to serve all summer long!
People often think that macaroni salads are loaded with fatty mayonnaise, and yes while some do, that’s not always the case. This salad is flavorful without all that mayo.
It’s tossed with fresh lemon juice to give it a refreshing flavor, and only a touch of mayonnaise and a little cayenne pepper for some heat.
It’s perfect. Nothing fancy, just a simple recipe with fresh flavors!
Best of all it’s 42 calories per serving!
A flavorful side dish, this easy Italian macaroni salad is so good, even the kids will enjoy this one too!
Our Italian Macaroni Salad is made with elbow pasta, but you can make it with any small, bite-size pasta of your choice.
The key to making a great macaroni salad is not to overcook the pasta. When making macaroni salad, it is best to undercook the pasta for about 1 minute or so (aka “al-dente” – which means tender to the bite) and drain well in a colander.
Then toss it with a few fresh ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste, and chill for a least 30 minutes or more before serving. Easy-peasy!
Like all salads, always taste the salad before serving it and adjust the seasonings and vinaigrette if you need to.
Pasta salads tend to absorb most of its juices and vinaigrette; and therefore, you may need to adjust and add more vinaigrette to your preference.
Finally, transfer the salad to a pretty serving bowl and serve.
Easy Italian Macaroni Salad is clean tasting and uncomplicated!
A great recipe that works well with gluten-free pasta too!
Make It Your Own!
add in a little extra virgin olive oil (1 or 2 tablespoons)
toss in thinly sliced carrots for a splash of color
toss in sliced green onions
Macaroni salads are always welcomed at gatherings. They compliment just about anything you serve on the buffet including grilled meats and fish! Try this one!
…Thanks for Pinning!
Here are a few more Italian Macaroni Salads you might enjoy. 🙂
Best Orzo Salad with Spinach is delicious tasting and quick to make with a few tasty ingredients including ribbons of fresh spinach for some healthy greens!
And, Easy Pasta Salad with Bocconcini is also a favorite pasta salad! Fast & easy too, this pasta salad is tossed with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, little mozzarella balls, and rotini pasta. YUM!
In case you missed it…
MOST POPULAR POSTS THIS WEEK:
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
- 2 cups of elbow pasta
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 large lemon - juice ( about 1/4 cup)
- 4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 celery stalk - thinly sliced
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
- dash of cayenne pepper
- extra lemon, if needed
- optional: 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat and add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the water. Then toss in 2 cups of elbow pasta and cook the pasta for 5 to 6 minutes. Do not overcook or it will ruin the salad. The pasta should be al-dente, which means a nice tender bite to it.
- Drain the pasta in a colander and let it sit in there for a minute to cool down.
- Next in a large mixing bowl, toss in the celery, red onion, and mayonnaise and lemon juice. and a dash of cayenne pepper. Then toss in the elbow pasta and fresh parsley, and stir until well combined.
- Taste the pasta salad and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
- Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
- Just before serving, toss the salad and taste once more. If you feel it needs a little more lemon juice, squeeze an additional 1/2 of a lemon over the salad, toss and serve.
- Serves 4 to 6
Serving Size:1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 42
That’s it friends! Tried this recipe? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment with a star rating in our recipe card. Your insights and experiences help everyone who reads them, and it helps us too!
Oh and don’t forget to enter your email in our ‘Subscribe Newsletter Box’ and receive new recipes FREE every time we post!
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
xo Anna and Liz
|Serving size: 1/2 cup|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 3.3g||4%|
|Saturated Fat 0.5g||2%|
|Total Carbohydrate 3.1g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0.2g||1%|
|Total Sugars 0.9g|
|Vitamin D 0mcg||0%|