Salads and Sides/ Under 30 Minute Meals

Easy Italian Macaroni Salad

Easy Italian Macaroni Salad by



How about a new fresh take on macaroni salad this season?  Try our Easy Italian Macaroni Salad with its fresh zesty lemon flavors and delicious textures from crisp celery, red onions, fresh parsley and elbow pasta!  A lighter side for this Italian Macaroni Salad makes a wonderful dish to serve chilled all summer long!

People often think that macaroni salads are loaded with fatty mayonnaise, and yes some are.  But that’s not always the case, especially with Italian recipes.  This recipe for Italian macaroni salad is much lighter.

In fact, it is tossed with fresh lemon juice to give a tangy flavor, and only a touch of mayonnaise making this macaroni salad less in calories.  It’s nothing fancy, but a simple recipe with fresh flavors!

A flavorful side dish, easy Italian macaroni salad is so good, even the kids will enjoy this one too!

Easy Italian Macaroni Salad by

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 over cook the pasta.  When making macaroni salad, it is best to under cook the pasta for about 1 minute or so (aka “al-dente” – which means tender to the bite), then allow it to 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 toss and taste the salad one last time before you serve it to adjust seasonings and vinaigrette. Pasta salads tend to absorb most of the juices and you may need to adjust and add more in to your preference.  Then transfer to a pretty serving bowl and serve.


Easy Italian Macaroni Salad is clean tasting and uncomplicated!  Also, this recipe works well with gluten free pasta too!

Macaroni salads are always welcomed at barbecues, picnics and potluck.  And, they compliment all grilled meats and fish!  Try this one!



                                            Thanks for Pinning!

Easy Italian Macaroni Salad by

Some other Easy Italian Macaroni Salads you might enjoy. 🙂 

Try these as well:

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! 

 Best Orzo Salad with Spinach by

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!

Easy Pasta Salad with Bocconcini by


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Easy Italian Macaroni Salad
Recipe type: Side Dish / Pasta Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
Easy Italian Macaroni Salad is made with fresh zesty lemon flavors and delicious textures from crisp celery, red onions, fresh parsley and elbow pasta! A lighter side for this Italian Macaroni Salad makes a wonderful dish to serve chilled all summer long!
  • 2 cups of elbow pasta
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 large lemon - juice ( about ¼ cup)
  • 4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 celery stalk - thinly sliced
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
  • extra lemon, if needed
  1. Fill a medium sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat and add in ½ 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 over cook or it will ruin the salad. The pasta should be al-dente, which means a nice tender bite to it.
  2. Drain the pasta in a colander and let it sit in there for a minute to cool down.
  3. Next in a large mixing bowl, toss in the celery, red onion, and mayonnaise and lemon juice. Then toss in the elbow pasta and fresh parslely ,and stir until well combined.
  4. Taste the pasta salad and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
  5. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
  6. Just before serving, toss the salad and taste once more. If you feel it needs a little more lemon juice, squeeze an additional ½ of a lemon over the salad, toss and serve.
  7. Serves 4 to 6



Thanks for stopping by!

xo Anna and Liz

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