It's already been established that I REALLY like pasta salads. For Southerners, no summer picnic or BBQ is complete without a bowl of crisp, cold macaroni salad. There are hundreds of variations on the recipe, but I prefer to keep things simple - this recipe is completely vegetarian (for vegan, feel free to substitute Vegenaise for the mayonnaise), so everyone can enjoy it. Not only does this salad make a great side, but I like to eat it for a quick, healthy (ish) lunch.
Though the name is "MACARONI salad", I tend to just use whatever small pasta I have on hand; often I use ditalini since I love how it looks! For extra Southern points, be sure to serve this salad in your favorite vintage Pyrex bowl.
adapted from Cooks Illustrated via The Parsley Thief
1 lb elbow macaroni (or other small pasta)
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the package directions call for. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds. Set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the red onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Add the drained pasta and stir to combine. Let sit 5 minutes.
Add the mayonnaise and toss to combine well. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Let chill at least 1 hour before serving.