Filipino Macaroni Salad


Filipino Macaroni Salad
Filipino Macaroni Salad

Every Filipino has probably disparaged our very unique Macaroni Salad, as I have.   It’s not the usual macaroni, mayo and dill pickle concoction you’ll find everywhere else in the world.  I guess you could call it a bit “confusilcated” as Spouse likes to say.  A little bit of this, a little of that…and so much more.  It’s a reflection of who we are, a melange of flavors and influences all in one bundle of confusion.  I have this theory it’s also a reflection of the Pinoy’s openness to new ideas, cultures and flavors.

I really ought to stop intellectualizing  now since, one, I’m not good at it and second, it’s just a salad.   All I know is – it can be delicious if you’ll only give it a chance.

I haven’t cooked this for Spouse before, a bit afraid to jar his senses. He liked his bland (for this Filipino) Macaroni Salad with mayo and dill pickles which you’ll get in most diners and restaurants in the US.  You know what I’m talking about….the one that comes in a little plastic container with a roast beef sandwich or something.  What a  huge surprise that Spouse loved the Pinoy version.  He absolutely LOVED it.

I wanted to make a very Pinoy version of a Mac Salad for this blog.  A lot of readers have been searching for it and ended up here….it’s only fair they finally find the recipe.  I went easy on the sweet pickles…Spouse and I both don’t like sweet pickles.  But I did put the obligatory pinch of something I’m not fond of.  If you were my mom, it would be a whole lot.  But I remember all too well what we kids called it when faced with a scoop of Mac Salad at buffet parties.  The raisins we called “bangaw” or large flies.  The pickle bits….well, we called them boogers.

Never mind that, this is a good salad and is something you won’t find in many places.  I hope you’ll try it and like it!

Filipino Macaroni Salad

2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni noodles

1 c.- 1.5 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. diced ham (boiled chicken breasts and/or ham is also commonly used)

1 celery stalk, diced if you want crunch and minced if you don’t

2 tbsps. finely minced red onion

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 15 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained

1/4 c. sweet pickle relish, drained

1/2-3/4 c.  diced cheddar cheese (Shredded is fine)

1 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks ( you can blanch this if you don’t like the crunch.  I like the crunch and leave it raw)

a handful or two of raisins

salt and pepper to taste

Drain the pineapples and pickle relish overnight in the refrigerator.  If you’re out of time, squeeze out the juices instead.  My mom always strained it overnight in the refrigerator.  But when she was mixing everything up….she’d pour in a bit of pineapple or pickle relish juices if she felt it needed more sweetness.  Go figure.

Cook your macaroni according to package directions.  While that’s cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, minus the mayo.  Add the macaorni when it’s done and cooled to room temperature.  Stir this in, still without the mayo so it’s easier to get everything mixed.  Season with the pepper but not the salt.

Then add the mayo and mix again.  Correct seasonings and chill at least an hour before serving.  The longer you let this salad sit, the more the noodles will absorb the mayo. You may have to add more mayo before serving so it isn’t too dry.

TIP:  Spouse taught me a great way to cook pasta.  Bring your water and a lot of salt to a boil then add the noodles.  Bring it back to a rapid boil then turn off the heat completely.  Cover and let it sit in the simmering water for the required timd. There will be enough residual heat on the stove, your pot and your water to cook the pasta.  It will be perfectly cooked and you only had the heat turned on for a fraction of the time.  Try it, it really works.

24 Replies to “Filipino Macaroni Salad”

  1. Ladybug, Ces…even if I had my issues with Mac Salad as a kid, I found out that I love it just the same. We made a huge bowl of it when I was back home last April…and no one complained about the raisins or the pickles…LOL!

  2. Ohh sounds great surely I will try it and in fact I list them down what i needed in making it….

  3. Anna,

    Yes, I’ve heard of using cream in your mac salad. I’ve yet to try it though. As well as the Pinoy fruit salad with mayonnaise that is a Pampango recipe…

  4. Thanks for this recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I work with 2 filipinos and LOVE to try their food!! However, everytime I ask for a recipe, they say that they just throw in a little bit of this and that, and I have to have a recipe, so THANKS!!

  5. I’m cravin” for this recipe today. Google”d Pinoy Macaroni Salad. Found it the first page. If Im not busy tonight, I will make it. I need to get the cream though, I’m in AZ so I might get them at a local grocery store. Maraming Salamat.

  6. I tried the recipe, it was wonderful. I made it for a Filipino community picnic, so I made a lot, everyone loved it. I making it again today for a potluck.
    The pasta tip works, thank you.

  7. Hi Leo, this is the husband of the Cook. She’s been a bit too busy for bloging lately, but I know she read your comment and it really picked up her day … thanks.

    Where is your canteen? Maybe we’ll drop buy and do a food review 😉 I love her salad too, time she made some more. She comes from a family of good cooks, but none of them can touch her macaroni salad, that’s for sure.

  8. will try this now for our noche buena tonight. m really very excited to use this recipe. it’s my first time to make macaroni salad and everyone’s (my whole family) eyes are on me… uh-oh! PRESSURE!!!

  9. 2Morrow’s my husband birthday I’ll never try Macaroni Salad in my Life hopefully this taste Gud.TNX 4 they recipes.

  10. Your pasta tip is funny. That’s the only way I know how to cook pasta, even when I was in the Philippines. Now I’m so curious to hear what the “other” way is. That is also how I boil corn so that it’s tender, crisp, and juicy, not hard and dry like the ones sold by peddlers back home.

    Thanks for your recipes. Chicken mami is excellent (even after adding baby spinach) and so I will try the rest.. Salamat!

  11. Additional tip for cooking pasta: Add oil (I use olive oil) together with the salt. the salt makes the water reach boiling point faster so you save time cooking while the oil prevents your pasta from sticking together.

  12. I really want to make macaroni salad….but i want to know how many ingredients for hundred people to eat.thank you

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