Our little “staycation” is almost over, but thankfully the weather has been really nice since yesterday morning – the humidity seems to be dying off a bit and the sun has come out, so Kramer and I are determined to spend as much time outside, enjoying the roof access and grill, before we go home to Williamsburg (sans barbecue – sigh). It’s been a lot of fun having a dog around, too, although I don’t think I’m quite ready to take on the responsibility of getting one for myself. I was worried that Mia would miss Valerie and Tom too much to want to cuddle up with Kramer or myself, but she’s really taken to us and I’ve had a great time waking up to a sleeping puppy right next to me.
I made this lemony macaroni salad for a party a few weeks ago, and I thought it was just delicious. I’m a big macaroni and pasta salad fan in general, but I prefer mine to be much less mayonnaise-laden. I like a macaroni salad that is light but still big on flavor, so I figured, why not add some fresh lemon to the mix? The result was bright and summery, but still filling. I used red onion and cayenne pepper for a bit of a bite, then celery, carrot, and parsley to mellow it out a bit, along with some lemon zest for an extra punch of citrus that really picked up the entire dish, I think. I like to serve this nice and cold alongside some piping hot barbecue (ribs? burgers? anyone?) and maybe a big salad or grilled veggies, and you can make a large batch of it to use for the entire weekend, like we did. The flavors only become more pronounced as you let it sit in the fridge, so feel free to make it ahead to lighten your cooking load and enjoy this macaroni salad all summer long.
Then toss them together with your cooked macaroni, mayo, milk, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least an hour, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
- 1 lb. macaroni, cooked and cooled
- 3 stalks celery, minced
- 3 large carrots, minced
- ½ red onion, minced
- ⅓ cup parsley, minced
- ⅓ cup light mayonnaise
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- juice of 2 lemons
- zest of ½ a lemon
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- First, cook your macaroni, then when it’s done, drain the water and rinse the pasta under cold water so that it stops cooking. Set aside.
- Mince your celery, carrots, red onion, and parsley, then toss them with the macaroni, mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Let sit for at least 1 hour, covered, in the refrigerator, then taste and adjust seasonings again. This will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.