Tender pasta tossed with crisp in-season vegetables and bound with a tart and creamy dressing, this macaroni salad is a great side for your next barbecue.
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Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water following packet directions, adding the corn kernels and asparagus for the last 2 mins or until pasta is al dente. Refresh under cold water. Drain well.
Place the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, milk, mustard, chives and parsley in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Season. Add pasta mixture, carrot, celery and capsicum and toss to combine. Season. Sprinkle with extra parsley and chives to serve.
For a lighter touch, you can use light mayonnaise and/or light milk.
COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Clever Storage: Store leftover macaroni salad with corn in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Smart Swap: Instead of macaroni, you can use any other short pasta like farfalle, rotini, fusilli or penne.
If tucking into a big plate of creamy pasta salad is one of your guilty pleasures, then this is the recipe for you. With the perfect proportion of creamy mayo dressing to just-cooked pasta and flecked with crunchy vegetables, our cold macaroni salad can be dressed up or down and is ideal for summer parties, especially when you’re asked to ‘bring a plate’. While pasta is Italian, the origins of macaroni pasta salad lie in America, where it is thought to be a fusion of the local Italian and German population, with the Italians contributing the pasta and the Germans adding the creamy dressing they’d traditionally coat their potato salad with.
The other great thing about this macaroni pasta salad recipe is that it fits into your schedule. Eat it straight after cooking, or later at room temperature, or store in the fridge until ready to tuck into. And while it’s the perfect side salad for picnics and barbecues, you can just add a can of tuna or shredded barbecue chicken and you have an easy dinner for a warm summer night.
Macaroni comes in two main forms: straight edged or curved (which is known as elbow macaroni). Either type works well in this classic macaroni salad. The hollows trap the tiny bits of corn and the dressing gets both inside and outside of the pasta. As a rule you shouldn’t rinse hot pasta – you want to keep the starch to help bind the pasta to the sauce – but it’s necessary when making a macaroni vegetable salad. The cold water stops the cooking and seals the pasta so that it doesn’t absorb too much dressing, which would make your salad gluggy. Because the salad relies on vegetables for colour and crunch, make sure they’re super fresh. We add milk to our classic dressing of sour cream, mayo and lemon juice to loosen it up so it generously coats the pasta. If you’re making the salad to serve later, dress it with three-quarters of the dressing to start and add the remainder just before serving.
If making your macaroni salad for a BBQ, try serving it with a smoky BBQ chicken, BBQ steaks with chimichurri or butterflied lamb. If you’re looking for a side to serve with dinner, it also works perfectly with pulled pork.