In the summer months especially, I love a cool and creamy macaroni salad. There's a deli near me that has the perfect macaroni salad that is a nice balance of sweet and creamy and made me a true macaroni salad fan. Since then, I have become obsessed with making a macaroni salad recipe that could compare and, dare I say, healthy. This is truly an easy and healthy macaroni salad, but you'd never know. I had more than one person taste test this with confusion because it didn't taste like a low fat macaroni salad. This tastes like the real deal, deli style macaroni salad we love.
What is in macaroni salad?
Traditional macaroni salad has elbow macaroni in a sweetened, mayo-based dressing. While there can be different vegetables mixed in, traditional macaroni salad has peppers, celery, and shredded carrots. Some recipes only have the pepper, but my favorite one had celery and carrots--it gives the salad a nice crunch and freshness.
Other popular mix-ins for macaroni salad include: hard-boiled eggs, cheese, bacon, pickles, red onion, and chives.
In my opinion, the macaroni salad dressing is key for a good macaroni salad. Dry macaroni salad bums me out. I add exactly 1 cup of vegetables to my pasta and dressing. While this could easily accommodate a sprinkling of bacon, herbs, or onion, keep in mind you may need more dressing.
Greek Yogurt Macaroni Salad?
Yes, I add Greek yogurt to my macaroni salad. No, you can't taste it. Anyone who has had light mayo knows the distinct sweetness light mayo has. The Greek yogurt balances out the mayo's sweetness, adds creaminess, and adds tang that is well balanced in the macaroni salad. Sure, I make many things with Greek Yogurt, but I hate the taste of plain Greek yogurt (although it's not as bad as the smell). My taste testers did not notice the flavor of Greek yogurt--I promise.
Weight Watchers Macaroni Salad
Many people who follow this blog follow WW, count calories, or follow some kind of healthy-ish lifestyle. This recipe makes 6 cups which came to 2 lb 8 oz. Green + Blue plan 1/2 cup serving is 4 points (it is also 4 points if split 10 ways not 12). My preferred pasta is the Barilla Plus Protein Pasta. Purple, using whole wheat pasta, can enjoy this Weight Watchers friendly macaroni salad at only 2 points for 1/2 cup (it is also 2 points if split 10 ways instead of 12). My favorite whole wheat pasta is Delallo.
For calorie counters, this is only 90 calories with 1 gram of fat. Overall, this is a great low fat macaroni salad and Weight Watchers friendly Macaroni salad.
- 8 oz. elbow noodles
- 1 cup Light Mayo
- 1/2 cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp. reserved pasta water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp celery seed
- 1/3 cup red pepper, finely diced (about 1/2 a pepper)
- 1/3 cup celery, finely diced (about 2 celery stalks)
- 1/3 cup carrots, shredded(about 1 large carrot)
- kosher salt
- Boil pasta in salted water per directions on the box. Reserve some pasta water for the dressing.
- In a large bowl, whisk mayo, Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, sugar, celery seed, and pasta water until smooth.
- Add cooked pasta, red peppers, carrots, and celery. Stir to coat everything.
- Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator until cool. This tastes good once mixed but even better the next day.
For points and nutritional info, I used Barilla Plus Protein Pasta.
Serving Size:1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 37mgCarbohydrates: 15gNet Carbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g
Want some more great health summer recipes? I got you covered.
Here are some of my favorite healthy, Weight Watchers friendly summer recipes.