Mac and Cheese Salad

When I first saw macaroni and cheese salad, I thought how odd. Either mac and cheese or pasta salad, but both in one? Eventually, I tried it. I changed my mind on that distinction between food types.

How to make Mac and Cheese Salad

  • 1½ cup dry macaroni (I used cavatappi but elbow or any kind is fine) cooked in salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain and put in refrigerator.
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped fine
  • 4 tbsp. finely chopped onion

In a separate bowl, mix together well:

  • 4 tbsp. Kraft Dinner powder (from Bulk Barn, or Amazon below)
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. ranch dressing (or plain yogurt or sour cream)
  • 1½ tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tbsp. oil and vinegar dressing

Add this sauce to the cold macaroni along with the celery and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Put paprika or parsley or whatever you like on top. Chill, and you’re good to go.

Even after finding I liked it, how macaroni and cheese salad was made remained for me a secret kept by deli counters and take-out restaurants. But then I thought it can’t be that hard to make. Indeed it’s not. I experimented rather than google. Now, having googled, I found something I want to try: simply add mayonnaise, onion etc. to leftover macaroni and cheese. I’d wondered if that was doable but thought no, can’t be. Evidently, you can.

Having had to think about mac and cheese salad in order to first eat it, then make it, I’ve realized something about its appeal. It works well at either end of the season for cold foods. In early fall, it tastes like summer but with the warmth of macaroni and cheese that you love in winter. In the spring, it’s got the creamy cheesy warmth but with a chilled tang that says summer is right around the corner.

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