Macaroni Salad with Cheddar Cheese
Healthy macaroni salad with greek yogurt and cheddar. This healthy take on macaroni pasta salad with cheese has loads of garden fresh vegetables in it and Vermont sharp cheddar. Bring it to your next potluck and watch it disappear in a flash plus you’ll save more than 100 calories per serving!
Macaroni salad is one of those perennial favorites at summer cook-outs and barbeques, but I’ll often pass it by when making my rounds filling my plate at the picnic table. That’s because oftentimes it’s way too heavy—it has way too much mayo, not enough veggies, and is lacking in interesting flavor.
That’s why I knew I needed to do a healthy makeover of homemade macaroni salad on the blog this summer. And now that this week marks the first week of summer, let’s get it going on folks!
Creating This Healthy Macaroni Salad
I started with my fave trick of mixing mostly Greek yogurt with a small amount of mayonnaise for the base. (Way less mayo than classic macaroni salad. Yikes!) But to make up the difference in lower fat dressing, I took the flavor and jacked it waaaaay up! I added in white wine vinegar, coarse grain mustard, shallot and tarragon. Hello there, taste-buds. (Feel free to use dill if you’re not a fan of tarragon.)
And then, I’m sure you won’t be surprised that I went even further. No, no, you’re not. I used whole-wheat macaroni for added fiber and I loaded in the garden fresh veggies. Holla, veggie lovers! 3 cups of fresh veggies to be exact. Which works out to just slightly less than half the total volume.
But wait, there’s more! Because every macaroni noodle just wants to cry when it can’t be snuggled up with cheese, I was sure to grab the most cheesy cheddar I could find to make it happy. And I added that too! You’re welcome. That way the cheese flavor really goes a long way. I only used 4 ounces for the whole bowl, but trust me you can really taste it.
How to Make Macaroni Salad
I’m not saying that this is the easiest side dish ever…but I’m just saying that it totally is the easiest side dish ever. This healthy macaroni salad is finished in mere minutes. The trick to prepping this potluck side dish quickly is to prep the garden veggies while the macaroni noodles are cooking!
To make this healthy macaroni salad, you’ll first need to bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles until al dente. Cooking them until al dente is very important, because the noodles will further soak up moisture from the veggies and yogurt. If you cook the noodles until they’re fully soft, you’ll wind up with a mushy, sad macaroni salad.
While the macaroni is cooking, peel and shred the carrots (you can use a food processor or box grater for this). If you’re using frozen peas, set them out to thaw—no need to cook them! Then, mince the shallot and halve the cherry tomatoes. By the time you’ve finished prepping the vegetables, the macaroni should be ready to come off the stove.
Mix all the ingredients (minus the cherry tomatoes) into a bowl and let the healthy macaroni salad sit for 30 or so minutes before digging in. Of course, you can eat this right away, but it actually tastes better after you’ve let the flavors come together.
How to Store Macaroni Salad
This healthy Greek yogurt macaroni salad keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days. However, if you plan on making the macaroni salad recipe ahead of time and bringing it to a potluck later, I recommend halving and storing the cherry tomatoes in a separate container until you’re ready to eat. Otherwise the tomatoes will make this salad soggy, which isn’t what you want. Like I mentioned before, this macaroni salad tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge, so I think you’ll really enjoy the leftovers!
More Easy Cookout Recipes:
- These Grilled Crispy Chicken Wings make a fun cookout appetizer.
- Tomato and Bread Salad also known as Panzanella is a favorite of mine, and this one is bursting with summer veggies.
- Blueberry Quinoa Tabbouleh is totally not traditional, but delicious nevertheless!
- For a flavorful twist on bean salad try this Mexican Four Bean Salad
- I love eating raw zucchini when it is prepared like this in my Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Hazelnuts and Feta recipe.
- This Asian Coleslaw is beautiful and so yummy!
Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter or follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
This healthy macaroni salad is made with cheddar and loads of garden fresh vegetables. Bring it to your next potluck and watch it disappear in a flash!
- 2 cups dry macaroni, preferably whole wheat
- ½ cup Greek yogurt, fat-free if desired
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon coarse grain or brown deli mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon or dill
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese, such as Cabot Alpine (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes for garnish
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add macaroni, stir and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cool running water. Drain thoroughly.
- Meanwhile whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add shallot.
- Mix the cooked macaroni into the yogurt mixture until coated. Add carrots, peas and cheddar and stir to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with cherry tomatoes just before serving.
- Serving Size: 3/4 cup
- Calories: 210
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 542 mg
- Fat: 8 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Carbohydrates: 26 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 12 g