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Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad Recipe

Full of creamy tangy flavor, this Hawaiian BBQ macaroni salad recipe is just like what you’d find on a Hawaiian lunch plate.

If you’ve never had Hawaiian-style macaroni salad, it’s a bit different from your traditional pasta salad.

This creamy macaroni salad is just a touch sweet with a good amount of tangy thanks to apple cider vinegar and it only takes a handful of ingredients to make.

Prepared Hawaiian macaroni salad garnished with sliced green onion in a white round bowl.

Whether it’s with kalua pork, chicken katsu or loco moco you’ll almost always find it paired with scoops of rice on lunch plates at a Hawaiian BBQ restaurant.

This Hawaiian macaroni salad recipe is so good I often make a double batch and we’re a family with just two humans.

Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dry elbow macaroni noodles
  • Salt – for boiling the noodles and seasoning the dish
  • ½ cup shredded carrot – this is about one large carrot
  • ¼ cup shredded onion – I used half of a sweet onion as I don’t like the onion flavor to be overpowering. If you really like onion you could use a yellow onion.
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar – this mac salad is meant to be quite tangy and that can vary with the brand of vinegar you use. I use the full 2 tablespoons and the Bragg brand. I don’t recommend using another type of vinegar as apple cider vinegar is a must-have flavor here.
  • 1 cup mayonnaise – Hellman’s or Best Foods mayonnaise is a must. Miracle Whip doesn’t exist in my life, but if you really must, it should work here.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar – light or dark brown sugar is fine. You want just a little sugar to balance the vinegar.
  • ¼ cup milk – I use whole milk for a really creamy dressing
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional) – garlic doesn’t exactly make for authentic Hawaiian mac salad, but I do love the flavor it adds.
  • Ground black pepper – to taste
  • Optional garnish: sliced green onions. Some restaurants add it but many don’t. It does add a nice extra punch of onion flavor if you like that sort of thing.
  • Pot for cooking pasta
  • Coarse grater or food processor with grating disc
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Large bowl
  • Spatula
  • Airtight container

How To Make Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the macaroni noodles and cook according to the package directions plus 2 minutes. This will probably be the only time I tell you to overcook pasta but it’s part of what makes this mac salad unique.

2. While the pasta cooks, grate the carrot and onion into a large mixing bowl. Once the pasta has cooked and is very soft, drain it very well and add it to the carrot and onion. Do not rinse it or cool it down before the next step.

3. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar over the veggies and warm pasta and mix to coat. If this is your first time making this salad, start with one tablespoon so it’s not too strong. You can always add more later if you like. Cover and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. While the cooked pasta and veggies soak up the vinegar, make the creamy dressing by combining the mayonnaise, brown sugar, milk, garlic (if desired), salt, and pepper.

5. After the pasta has sat for 15 to 20 minutes, pour over the dressing and mix well until the noodles are evenly covered. Taste, adding more salt, pepper, or vinegar as desired. The Hawaiian pasta salad may appear almost too creamy but the noodles will really soak up the dressing as it sits.

Hawaiian macaroni salad mixed together in a large glass mixing bowl.

6. Cover and refrigerate preferably overnight or at least 4 hours. Stir well before serving. Garnish with sliced green onion if you like.

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Always stir well before serving.

Prepared Hawaiian macaroni salad in a white round bowl.

What To Serve With Hawaiian BBQ Mac Salad

This is the perfect side dish for a potluck, summer BBQ, or your favorite Hawaiian dishes.

More pasta salad recipes: Pasta salad with ham and peas, Cucumber radish macaroni salad

Prepared Hawaiian macaroni salad garnished with sliced green onion in a white round bowl.

Hawaiian BBQ Macaroni Salad Recipe

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Full of creamy tangy flavor, this Hawaiian BBQ macaroni salad recipe is just like what you'd find on a Hawaiian lunch plate.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dry elbow macaroni noodles
  • Salt for boiling noodles
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • ½ onion, shredded
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: sliced green onions

Instructions

  1. Boil 8 ounces of macaroni as directed on the packaging and then adding 2 minutes cook time.
  2. In the mean time, coarsely shred ½ cup of shredded carrot and ½ of an onion into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Once the pasta is well cooked, drain thoroughly and add to the bowl of veggies. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar over the pasta and veggies. Mix well, cover, and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While the noodles sit, make the dressing by thoroughly mixing together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar, ¼ cup milk, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional), and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once the noodles have sat for at least 15 minutes, pour the dressing over them and mix until the macaroni is evenly coated. Taste for your preference of salt, pepper, and vinegar amounts.
  6. Cover and refrigerate preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.
  7. Stir before serving. Garnish with sliced green onion if desired.

Notes

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Stir well before serving.

See the original article at https://smartsavvyliving.com for tips to make this recipe, ingredient substitutions, and more.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1/10th of recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 264mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information may not be accurate. Optional garnishes and toppings aren't included. Nutrition information is calculated automatically by and provided by Nutritionix. Exact nutrition information depends on the specific ingredients, brands, and amounts you use.

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