Grandma’s Mac Salad


This is not your Grandma's mac salad... it's mine.

This is not your Grandma’s mac salad… it’s mine.

You’re more likely to find a margarita in my Grandma’s hand than a tray of cookies- and I love her all the more for it. Her macaroni salad is the sole reason I eat mayonnaise, and it’s just as sassy as she is!

Meet EJ- a.k.a. my lovely and sassy grandmother- a.k.a. the mac salad master

Meet EJ- a.k.a. my lovely and sassy grandmother- a.k.a. the mac salad master

My grandma makes a mean macaroni salad. It’s fiesty, just like her. I grew up on this stuff, and in a way it set me up for a lifetime of disappointment. For example, when I first ordered mac salad in college and received a sad blend of elbow noodles, mayo, and pepper. I need more flavor. I’m not a mayo lover by nature, so if I’m going to eat it- I need other bold flavors.

This macaroni salad is not for the faint of heart, the flavors are vibrant! But, once you try eating it this way you’ll never look back. I just ruined you for all other mac salads. I’m sorry [no I’m not].

This makes a huge bowl. Like, feed-a-large-BBQ-and-still-have-extras huge.

Doesn't everyone's mac salad have it's own special bowl? No?

Doesn’t everyone’s mac salad have its own special bowl? No?

  • 1 box ring noodle pasta, cooked
  • 2 cans tuna, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 9 eggs, hardboiled and peeled
  • 1 jar bread and butter pickles, diced
  • 1 tbsp. pickle juice…at LEAST
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 jar mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • Grandma’s gross optional ingredient: green olives, diced

Boil water and cook pasta. In the meantime, grab a LARGE bowl. I cannot emphasize this enough. Mash tuna until fine, and combine with pickles, eggs, and onion. I like to reserve 2 eggs for slicing on top of the salad when I bring it other places [at home I don’t bother]. Add salt, pepper, and paprika.

Combine tuna, pickles, onion, egg, and seasoning in a large bowl

Combine tuna, pickles, onion, egg, and seasoning in a large bowl

Open kitchen windows for passerby’s.

Add mayo and pickle juice and stir to combine everything. I like to mix before adding the noodles so that they are not obliterated by the stirring process. Finally, add in drained noodles and mix. You can add more mayo from here if you’d like, I’m just not a mayo lover myself. Allow salad to chill completely and sprinkle with more paprika before serving.

You don't want to over stir these delicate little guys

You don’t want to over stir these delicate little guys

Does it bother anyone else that recipes like this are called ‘salads’? What about this is a ‘salad’? …Wait until I share my ‘strawberry salad’ that consists of jello, pretzels and butter. Oh yeah- we’re using the ‘salad’ word really loosely around here these days.

Until next time, enjoy your summertime favorites in moderation. For me and grams, that’ll be mac salad and margaritas. Life is too short to miss out on amazing flavors for the sake of a diet. Allow yourself a small helping and forget the guilt.

The sole reason I eat mayonaise

The sole reason I eat mayonnaise


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30 thoughts on “Grandma’s Mac Salad

  1. It must be a generation thing! My Grandma made the best potato salad (I seem to be the only one to be able to reproduce it), but she also used pickle juice mixed with mayo! Was your Grandma from Utah by chance? :)


  2. HAHA! Love seeing your personality shine in this post! This is too funny. And your grandma looks like she’s a good time. Also, the women in your family are all clearly blessed with great looks. You’ve got nothing to worry about in 50 years ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t do mayo anymore either because, “healthy” reasons but…….this mac salad looks like I’m going to have to make an exception….oh my GOSH looks so friggin’ good! :)


  4. Love your blog, very professional. Hope I can do as well as you. Gonna try that recipe out for sure (maybe make it with grain free pasta.) :)


  5. I love green olives! But never in a mac salad. Also, when I first saw the picture, it sort of looked liked seasoned popcorn with hard boils eggs sitting on top… I was like, “What the heck is this!?” haha! But it looks delicious!


  6. Pingback: Corn & Black Bean Salsa | peeled.

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