I have a super easy macaroni salad recipe for you guys. It’s not necessarily a traditional macaroni salad. But when a recipe has ranch dressing and cheese in it, throwing tradition out the window is perfectly fine in my book.
I came up with this recipe on a lazy weeknight. I knew dinnertime was rolling around and I hadn’t defrosted anything yet (story of my life – it’s as if I’m somehow shocked that dinner happens every day. This is why I freezer cook, people.), so I threw this together and was pleasantly surprised by how great it came out.
– 8oz. Pasta
– 1/3 cup mayo (I use Hellmann’s. Can’t vouch for the taste if you use Miracle Whip)
– 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
– 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped. (for me this was about ¼ of a medium pepper)
– 1/3 cup white onion, chopped.
– 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 tsp. Lemon juice
– ½ tbsp butter (optional)
– Salt (to taste)
1. Boil pasta in salted water and drain. Follow the directions on the package. It’s called macaroni salad, but as you can see, I’m a rebel and did not use macaroni. Hardcore, I know. Use any kind of small non-whole-wheat pasta.
2. While the pasta is boiling, chop the pepper and onion and transfer into a large bowl. Add lemon juice, stir and let it sit while the pasta cooks.
3. Transfer the drained pasta into the bowl containing the onion and pepper mixture and stir together.
4. Add the mayo, ranch, and butter (if you’re using it) and combine. Once incorporated, stir in the cheese. Add a pinch of salt, if needed, and combine.
This is what it looks like when it’s all mixed up:
I like to let it sit for two minutes just so the cheese can melt ever-so-slightly, and serve while still warm. It’s also tasty chilled.
Wasn’t that easy? You can get the hardest part – chopping the veggies – out of the way before your water comes to a boil. So, this is an easy 20 minute recipe.
It’s perfectly versatile too. Toss in some garlic salt or Adobo if you like a stronger taste or use whatever peppers/onions you have on hand.
Side note: Almost nothing in my kitchen is safe from Adobo. I add it to everything. I guess I can thank my Puerto Rican mom for that!