Growing up, my family owned a deli, and this was always a crowd favorite!

February 1, 2024


When you think of a classic American potluck or a family barbecue in the heartland, what’s one of the first dishes that comes to mind? If you said Macaroni Salad, then we’re on the same page! This Deli Mac Salad is a throwback to those carefree days in grandma’s backyard, where everyone seemed to bring something to the table. It’s creamy, zesty, and has just enough crunch to keep things interesting. Plus, it’s a breeze to make! For me, it’s the perfect way to whip up a nostalgic side dish that can feed a crowd without spending all day in the kitchen—and we all know how precious our time is.
This salad originated from the love of pasta and the need for cold, refreshing sides during those steamy Midwestern summers. Whether you’re gracing a picnic, prepping for a work lunch, or just want a side that screams “home,” this Deli Mac Salad is as versatile as it is delicious.

This classic macaroni salad pairs wonderfully with grilled meats—think juicy burgers, tangy barbecue ribs, or smoky hot dogs. Looking for a lighter option? It’s also amazing alongside a fresh green salad or a heaping slice of watermelon. And let me tell you, if there’s fried chicken involved, you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven!
Deli Mac Salad

Servings: 6-8
– 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
– 3/4 cup mayonnaise
– 2 tablespoons white vinegar
– 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 1 tsp sugar
– 3/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1 cup celery, finely chopped
– 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
– 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
– 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Then drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside to drain completely.
2. In a large bowl, mix together mayonnaise, white vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper until smooth and creamy.
3. Add the cooled macaroni to the dressing and toss to coat evenly.
4. Fold in the celery, red bell pepper, and red onion, ensuring the veggies are well distributed throughout the pasta.
5. If you’re using hard-boiled eggs, gently fold them in too at this point.
6. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors meld together. The longer it sits, the better it gets!
Variations & Tips:
– Want to shake up the veggies? Try adding chopped dill pickles or shredded carrots for an extra pop of flavor and color.
– To lighten it up, sub in Greek yogurt for half the mayonnaise, or go with a low-fat mayo option.
– If you’re looking to add a protein boost, toss in some diced ham or shredded chicken.
– A pinch of paprika or some fresh dill can lift the flavor profile if you’re after a slightly different taste.
– Don’t forget, pasta salads like this one are super forgiving, so feel free to get creative with what you’ve got on hand!
– Lastly, for the best texture and flavor, make this salad a day ahead. It gives the ingredients time to really get to know each other, and it’ll save you the day-of fuss. Just keep it refrigerated until it’s time to serve!

And there you have it—a simple yet scrumptious Deli Mac Salad that’s destined to become a staple at all of your get-togethers! Enjoy!

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