Macaroni salad is creamy, smooth, and pleasant, but is it possible for it to be healthy?
This summertime mainstay will soon be seen at outdoor gatherings such as barbecues and potlucks. However, is macaroni salad good for you? If you’ve been trying to eat healthier, you might be wondering whether or not you can still enjoy this classic side dish. There are scrumptious modifications that can be made to reduce the number of calories and fat that are contained in macaroni salad.
What Is Macaroni Salad?
A traditional macaroni salad consists of the following elements: macaroni, red onion, celery, sweet pickles, hard-boiled eggs, and creamy salad dressing. The macaroni that is used in macaroni salad is typically a short type of pasta, such as ditalini or elbow macaroni. Vegetables that have been finely chopped give a splash of vibrant color and a satisfying crunch.
The macaroni salad would be incomplete without the tangy sweet pickles. However, if you’re not a lover of pickles, you don’t have to include them in the recipe at all. Eggs that have been cooked through and then cooled off completely are peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces. At the very end, the salad is finished off with a creamy dressing made with mayonnaise and garnished with fresh parsley.
The tangy flavor of macaroni salad makes it the ideal side dish to enjoy alongside a burger that has been freshly grilled in the backyard. The fact that it can be used in a variety of settings is the feature I value most. Make things more interesting by switching up the ingredients, as you might in a Caprese macaroni salad or a Hawaiian macaroni salad.
Is Macaroni Salad High in Fat?
Because of the creamy dressing, macaroni salad does have the potential to be rich in fat.
You should expect to consume 360 calories and 25 grams of fat from a small side order of macaroni salad that has been prepared. In addition to that, it provides roughly 20% of your recommended daily intake of saturated fat. Because saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease, the American Heart Association suggests consuming it in moderation.
Which Is Healthier: Macaroni Salad or Potato Salad?
Both macaroni salad and potato salad are robust side dishes that go well with hearty barbecue recipes. Macaroni salad is often made with macaroni and potatoes. Which one, then, is the more healthy option? It is dependent on the items you use, just as it is with any recipe.
The foundation of potato salad is cooked potatoes, which are an excellent source of several beneficial nutrients, including fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. In addition to potatoes, potato salad typically includes additional vegetables such as celery and onions. Potato salad, much like macaroni salad, is typically combined with a creamy dressing that is based on mayonnaise. Additionally, bacon is sometimes a component of it.
The nutritional value of macaroni salad and potato salad are both the highest and lowest at certain points. The number of nutrients can be increased by increasing the number of vegetables, and the amount of fat can be decreased by reducing the amount of dressing. Due to the presence of saturated fat, it is in your best interest to consume only a little quantity of either one of the salads or both of them.
How to Make Macaroni Salad Healthy
While macaroni salad is a tasty side dish, it is not the healthiest choice due to a large amount of saturated fat it contains in its ingredients. The good news is that there are a few simple techniques to reduce the amount of fat while simultaneously increasing the number of nutrients.
To get started, pick a pasta that is higher in nutrients because it is prepared with whole grains rather than with semolina flour. This results in an increase in the amount of fiber. Next, think about including some additional vegetables, such as carrots and diced red bell peppers.
Replace the mayonnaise with non-fat Greek yogurt to cut down on the amount of fat in the dish. You may also add some extra sour flavor to the dish by eliminating the creamy dressing and using a vinaigrette instead of the traditional creamy dressing. Alternatively, you might substitute mashed avocado for the mayonnaise.
Here are tips for how to make a healthy pasta salad:
- The traditional macaroni salad can be made with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
- When making a macaroni salad with a creamy texture, mayonnaise can be replaced with mashed avocado instead.
- Increase the number of veggies called for in the recipe for sweet macaroni salad by a factor of two.
- Include some lean protein, such as the chicken taco macaroni salad that I made.
- Macaroni salad with a Greek flavor is a delicious way to get your vegetables.