When you order a hot plate lunch in Hawaii you will be served the main course along with a scoop of sticky rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.
We lived in Maui for four years and when you’ve lived somewhere for a while, you get to have local favorites and Hawaiian Macaroni Salad became a family favorite. So when we moved back to the mainland, we found we missed having it.
It took some searching and a lot of experimenting but with this recipe, I’ve gotten as close to authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad as I’m going to get outside of the Islands.
The recipe serves 8 to 10… or three people for two days as side dishes for suppers and lunches. 🙂
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
To make the dressing:
- 2 cups whole milk (do not try to substitute low fat or skim milk)
- 2 cup Helmans mayonnaise (it has to be Helmans)
- ¼ c dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
To make the salad:
- 1 lb of elbow macaroni
- 1/2 c white vinegar
- 4 to 5 chopped green onions
- 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, peel and grated (I do this with the food processor as it’s faster)
Cook the elbow macaroni until it is soft, big and really fat… approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You may think that you’re overcooking the macaroni but this allows the pasta to absorb more dressing.
For the salad pictured in this post, I used our favorite Tinkyada Pasta Joy Elbow gluten free pasta (<<affiliate link.)
Using gluten free pasta does change the taste of the salad slightly but it’s still the closest to authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad that you’re going to find outside of the Islands. If you or your family aren’t gluten sensitive, gluten intolerant or Celiac, then I’d recommend using regular elbow pasta for that true to the Islands taste.
Drain pasta. Return it to the pot and add ½ c vinegar.
Stir thoroughly. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
While it’s cooling, add the dressing ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisk until smooth.
After the 10 minutes are up, gently stir the dressing into the pasta.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it has cooled completely.
Once cooled, add chopped green onions, celery and carrots.
Return to the fridge for at least an hour or up to 2 days.
If serving a crowd, serve in the bowl it was made in. Or transfer it to a pretty glass bowl.
Give this recipe a try and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s the best Hawaiian Macaroni Salad you’ve ever had with the possible exception of one you’ve had while living in or visiting Hawaii.
You might also like to try the salad that is most requested when I’m asked to bring a side to a potluck picnic or bbq. My Potato Salad to Feed a Crowd is definitely a crowd pleaser.
Beet and Edamame Salad is another salad I make throughout the summer. It’s quick and easy to get on the table and it tastes delicious.
Equally delicious is my Broccoli Salad with Balsamic Mayo Dressing. This is not your typical Broccoli Salad… no raisins and it’s dairy free!
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