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Funfetti Macaroni Salad

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Funfetti Macaroni Salad is a classic pasta salad, full of delicious flavors and bold colors. With the easy homemade dressing, the salad gets even better as it rests

This post and recipe card updated June 28, 2019
overhead shot of finished macaroni salad with a green napkin on the side

Growing up, one of my favorite side dishes was macaroni & cheese. My mom always made it from scratch, and I never even tried the boxed stuff until I was about 25 years old.

My all-time favorite is my mom’s Baked Homemade Mac and Cheese, and it was the first recipe I learned to make before I moved out. I make it all year long, and it’s a huge hit with my friends.

In the summer I like to lighten it up a little, with pasta salads that work well for a crowd.  Tuna Pasta Salad is one of my lunch go-to recipes, and when my basil plants are full I love to make Blackened Shrimp Pesto Pasta Salad.

I don’t make the classic macaroni salad very often, but I do love to eat it! It’s one of those dishes that you find on the table of nearly every summer gathering. So I created my own, with Funfetti Macaroni Salad

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • It’s an easy recipe to make ahead
  • It’s ready in about 25 minutes
  • You can easily substitute ingredients to your taste
close up shot of finished macaroni salad
KEY INGREDIENTS IN FUNFETTI MACARONI SALAD

You hear “classic” macaroni salad a lot, and most macaroni salads have the same basic ingredients.

Short-cut pasta. You can use your favorite, and for Funfetti Macaroni Salad I love to use Radiatore. The ridges hold onto the dressing, and it’s a fun shape.

Bell peppers. Red bell peppers are the most common, because of the vibrant color. You could substitute another color, or use a combination.

Carrots, celery, and red onion. I like to use matchstick carrots because of the convenience, but you could certainly cut your own. Red onions are sweeter than yellow, so I prefer to use them.

Hard-boiled eggs. You can buy packaged hard-boiled eggs at the store or make your own.

Sundried Tomatoes aren’t a classic ingredient, but I like to add them because of their subtle bite. I added them the first time because I saw them in the fridge when I was pulling everything else out. One bite and I was sold.

macaroni salad ingredients in a clear bowl
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR FUNFETTI MACARONI SALAD

If you’re making the hard-boiled eggs, start them first so they have time to cool a little before adding them to the salad.

You can eat Funfetti Macaroni Salad right away, but I recommend that you let it rest in the fridge for an hour. This allows the flavors to develop .

The bite of the sundried tomatoes mellows as the Funfetti Macaroni Salad rests.

Less is more when it comes to dressing salads. So I add the dressing a couple of tablespoons at a time and taste for seasoning. I will also serve the extra dressing on the side for guests to add more if they would like.

FUNFETTI MACARONI SALAD DRESSING

Make the dressing first, so it can rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Mayonnaise: I use Avocado Oil Mayo. It is just as delicious as regular mayo, with a wonderful, silky flavor. When I’m feeling indulgent, I use real Mayonnaise. Sometimes I’ll even use a combination.

Greek Yogurt has a wonderful tang, and the bite works so well with the mayonnaise.

Vinegar adds a little bit of acidity and helps to balance the dressing. I use Red Wine Vinegar because I like the bite, but you could substitute White Wine Vinegar.

Mustard: you can use your choice of mustard, but I like Spicy Brown Mustard for the subtle heat.

Raw Honey adds a wonderful, subtle sweetness.

Garlic: I add it to nearly every recipe. Raw garlic is too harsh for the dressing, so I use roasted garlic. The garlic basically melts into the dressing as it rests.

off-center shot of finished macaroni salad in a white bowl
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How far ahead can I make Funfetti Macaroni Salad? You can make it 1-2 days ahead, and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.

How long will Funfetti Macaroni Salad last? In an airtight container in the fridge, it will last about one week

What substitutions can I make? Add peas and/or broccoli for more vegetables. Diced avocado would add a very nice creamy bite. Cherry tomatoes add more color and a nice burst of flavor.

How do I keep the salad cold for serving at an outdoor party? 

  • Keep the salad in the fridge until you’re ready to serve
  • Put the serving bowl in a larger bowl, and add ice to surround the serving bowl
  • If you’ve made a very large batch, keep the extra salad in the fridge until it’s needed
MORE DELICIOUS SUMMER SALADS
MORE DELICIOUS PASTA RECIPES
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Funfetti Macaroni Salad - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Funfetti Macaroni Salad

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Funfetti Macaroni Salad is a classic pasta salad, full of delicious flavors and bold colors. With the easy homemade dressing, the salad gets even better as it rests

Ingredients

MACARONI SALAD

  • 8 ounces short-cut pasta (I use Radiatore, Elbows, or Cellentani)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, drained and diced (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

DRESSING

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (full fat or avocado oil mayo)
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt (I use vanilla)
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 3 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 clove roasted garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, red wine vinegar, spicy brown mustard, honey, garlic, and black pepper. Mix to combine, and put in fridge to rest
  2. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain pasta, and add to a large bowl to cool for about 5 minutes
  3. Add bell pepper, celery, red onion, egg, carrots, and half of parsley to the bowl of pasta. If using sundried tomatoes, add those too. 
  4. Add about 2 tablespoons of dressing at a time, mixing together each time until you get the desired consistency. Add remaining parsley and combine well again. 

Notes

Make the dressing first, so it can rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes

If you're making the hard-boiled eggs, start them first so they have time to cool a little before adding them to the salad.

I recommend that you let it rest in the fridge for an hour. This allows the flavors to develop .

The bite of the sundried tomatoes mellows as the Funfetti Macaroni Salad rests.

Less is more when it comes to dressing salads. So I add the dressing a couple of tablespoons at a time and taste for seasoning. I will also serve the extra dressing on the side for guests to add more if they would like.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How far ahead can I make Funfetti Macaroni Salad? You can make it 1-2 days ahead, and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.

How long will Funfetti Macaroni Salad last? In an airtight container in the fridge, it will last about one week

What substitutions can I make? Add peas and/or broccoli for more vegetables. Diced avocado would add a very nice creamy bite. Cherry tomatoes add more color and a nice burst of flavor.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 165mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 8g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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Michelle Blackwood

Monday 9th of July 2018

I have never tried cooking with ragiotore pasta but it makes your salad look so beautiful and fun. Perfect for summer, lots of great flavors and textures in one bowl.

Nicoletta Sugarlovespices

Monday 9th of July 2018

I just love when a dish, other than being healthy and delicious, is also colorful and appealing to the eye! This is a stunner!

Vanessa Price

Sunday 8th of July 2018

What a fun name for this beautiful salad! And I just adore sun dried tomatoes, so I'm so happy to see them here.

Sharon

Sunday 8th of July 2018

This is the perfect salad to take to cookouts or for a quick summer side dish.

Jennifer

Sunday 8th of July 2018

I love a good pasta salad in the summer, and I love how this recipe includes some of my favorite ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes and spicy brown mustard!

Karyl

Monday 23rd of July 2018

Thanks Jennifer! Yeah, pasta salad in the summer is so good, and perfect to just snack on when the craving hits

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