How to Make Easy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian mac salad | Photo courtesy of Keeping It Relle

Hawaiian mac salad | Photo courtesy of Keeping It Relle

At noon, special lunch plates land on tables across Hawaii where many sit down to eat kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon, lau lau – pork or fish wrapped in ti leaves – accompanied by a ball of rice. It’s the ultimate comfort combo. What these plates are rarely missing is a mound of macaroni salad.

The creamy plated lunch accompaniment is a classic side dish that Hawaiian food blogger Relle Lum has perfected. “My grandma made macaroni salad all the time,” says Lum. “I tweaked it slightly, but that’s pretty much what we learned to do growing up.”

The Maui-based blogger spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her mom making things: snacks to take to teachers, holiday treats ranging from Easter candy to Christmas cookies. “And of course in Hawaii it’s all about potlucks and family gatherings and you can’t show up empty-handed.”

That’s why this macaroni salad is an easy treat for summer barbecues.

You can find her grandmother-approved mac salad recipe on her blog, Keeping It Relle, which she started in 2019. As a full-time nurse and mother of two, the blog is her way of sharing Hawaiian and local recipes. “Hawaii is such an amazing place and the culture and cuisine here is so diverse and so different than anywhere else, so why not share it?”

Lum thinks some people may be misinformed about Hawaii and its food culture. It’s not all poke bowls and spam. “Put pineapple on your pizza doesn’t make it Hawaiian,” she laughs. Through her recipes, Lum educates readers about her cuisine and culture. “Ultimately, my goal is to [have readers] sit around the table, enjoy a good meal, spend time with family and friends… and of course eat well. Like a mac salad that you must have in your potluck arsenal at all times.

Hawaiian mac salad
Hawaiian mac salad | Photo courtesy of Keeping It Relle

Hawaiian mac salad recipe

• 8 ounces of elbow macaroni
• 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
• 1 cup of mayonnaise
• ½ cup of milk
• 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 carrot, grated
• 2 tablespoons onion, diced

1. Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add salt and a drizzle of oil to the water. Then cook the macaroni according to the package directions. You will want to cook the noodles until al dente.
2. Drain the noodles and rinse with water. Toss hot noodles with apple cider vinegar and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, add mayonnaise, milk, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
4. Then add the mayonnaise mixture to the macaroni noodles and stir to combine.
5. Add carrots and onion and stir until well blended.
6. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours until chilled, or overnight.
7. Serve chilled and enjoy.

Note: Macaroni salad will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.

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Rosin Saez is the Food & Drink Editor at Thrillist.

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