Macaroni and cheese is the foundation of every childhood diet, often the first thing kids learn to make for themselves. Meanwhile, macaroni salad is the catalyst for every summer picnic or backyard barbecue worth attending. How is it possible that these two keystone American staples have never met before? The share the same beloved noodle and the same creamy consistency; what’s kept them apart for all these years?
Mind you, I’m not talking about leftover mac and cheese eaten cold, straight out of the fridge, due to sheer apathy or lack of energy. We’ve all been there and I think we can agree, that is not the pinnacle of culinary achievement the concept truly deserves.
This summer, let’s make it happen. Macaroni and Cheese Salad is the stuff of dreams, made in brilliant full color.
Like the original inspiration, it doesn’t take crazy ingredients, tons of time, or extenuating effort to make possible. Just some noodles, some cheese, and a craving to kick-start the process.
Enough noodling around. What is a macaroni and cheese salad?
It’s quite simple, really. Take al dente elbow noodles and toss them in a creamy, mayonnaise dressing along with your favorite cheese shreds, tender green peas, and a touch of fresh scallions, and that’s it! Like magic, the combination becomes increasingly irresistible overtime as the flavors meld and grow more harmonious. Like any any good picnic offering, it’s ideal for making ahead of time, sitting out like a champ all day, and tasting just as fresh as the minute you made it, regardless of the conditions. That means it’s also an excellent addition to any packed lunchbox for school, work, or travel.
What can you add to level-up your macaroni and cheese salad?
That’s an easy one, my friend. Think of all the things you love in either of the original dishes, and you’ll be golden. That means…
- Rich caramelized onions
- Crisp meatless bacon bits
- Umami sauteed mushrooms
- Spicy vegan pepperoni
- Chopped tofu “eggs”
- Wilted spinach or arugula
- Fresh basil
- And beyond!
At long last, this is the mashup the world has been hungry for, even if that need was never verbalized. Just show up at your next big summer shindig with a big bowl of this luscious pasta powerhouse, and you’ll be the guest of honor going forward.