Cajun/Creole, Side Dishes

Cajun Macaroni Salad

Today, we’re diving into a dish that’s sure to spice up any gathering—Cajun Macaroni Salad. If you’re tired of the same old macaroni salad, this bold and zesty version is just what you need to elevate your summer BBQs, picnics, or family dinners.

Cajun Macaroni Salad is the perfect fusion of creamy, tangy, and spicy flavors. It combines the comforting texture of traditional macaroni salad with the robust, spicy undertones of Cajun seasoning. Whether you’re a fan of classic Southern cuisine or just looking to try something new, this dish is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Not only is it packed with flavor, but it’s also incredibly easy to make. Plus, it’s versatile enough to serve as a side dish or a light meal on its own.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ sweet onion, minced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced small
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, diced small
  • 2 teaspoons Creole Kick
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for extra heat)
  • 1½ cups mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Creole mustard (or any whole grain mustard, or yellow mustard)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley and sliced hard boiled egg for garnish (optional)
  • Andouille Sausage, diced

Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Cajun Macaroni Salad

Step 1: Cook the Macaroni

  1. Boil Water: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Cook Macaroni: Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
  3. Drain and Rinse: Drain the macaroni, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, and repeat. This ensures the pasta is cool and ready to absorb the dressing.
  4. Toss with Olive Oil: Transfer the macaroni to a large bowl, toss with olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Dressing

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Creole mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  2. Adjust Consistency: Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of water, gradually adding up to ¼ cup of water to achieve a thinner consistency if necessary.
  3. Incorporate Vegetables: Stir in the minced onion, diced celery,adouille sausage and diced hard boiled eggs.

Step 3: Mix and Serve

  1. Combine with Macaroni: Pour the dressing over the cooked macaroni and toss to combine thoroughly.
  2. Adjust Seasoning: Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or hot sauce as needed.
  3. Garnish and Serve: Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley and sliced hard boiled eggs if desired, or refrigerate until ready to serve. If the salad seems dry after refrigerating, add a little water to refresh it before serving.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Freshly cracked black pepper and high-quality mayonnaise can make a significant difference in the flavor.
  • Don’t Overcook the Pasta: Ensure the macaroni is al dente to avoid a mushy texture.
  • Chill for Better Flavor: Allow the salad to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving to let the flavors meld together.
  • Adjust Heat Levels: Control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper and hot sauce to your taste.

Variations

  1. Bacon Lover’s Cajun Macaroni Salad: Add crispy bacon bits for a smoky, savory twist.
  2. Seafood Cajun Macaroni Salad: Mix in cooked shrimp or crab meat for a coastal flair.
  3. Veggie Packed: Incorporate diced bell peppers, carrots, or cherry tomatoes for added crunch and color.
  4. Cheesy Delight: Stir in shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese.
  5. Greek Yogurt: Replace half the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt for a lighter version.
  6. Avocado: Add diced avocado for a creamy, healthy addition.
  7. Pickle Relish: Stir in some sweet pickle relish for a tangy kick.
  8. Spicy Jalapeño: Add diced pickled jalapeños for extra heat.
  9. Roasted Garlic: Mix in roasted garlic for a deeper, more complex flavor.
  10. Herb Infused: Add chopped fresh herbs like dill, cilantro, or basil for a fresh, aromatic touch.

What to Serve With Cajun Macaroni Salad

  1. Grilled Chicken: Perfectly complements the creamy and spicy salad.
  2. BBQ Ribs: The tangy, savory flavors balance beautifully.
  3. Fried Catfish: Adds a Southern flair to your meal.
  4. Cornbread: A sweet and savory pairing.
  5. Coleslaw: Another classic Southern side dish.
  6. Grilled Vegetables: A healthy and flavorful accompaniment.
  7. Pulled Pork: The rich, smoky flavors are a great match.
  8. Hot Dogs or Burgers: Ideal for a summer BBQ.
  9. Baked Beans: A hearty and delicious side.
  10. Green Salad: For a light and fresh contrast.

Storage Tips

  • Refrigeration: Store the Cajun Macaroni Salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days.
  • Refreshing Before Serving: If the salad becomes dry, stir in a little water or additional mayonnaise before serving.
  • Avoid Freezing: This salad is best enjoyed fresh; freezing may alter the texture and flavor.

Cajun Macaroni Salad

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 30 minutesCook time: 40 minutesRest time: 40 minutesTotal time: minutesServings:4 servingsCalories:300 kcal Best Season:Summer

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
  3. Drain the macaroni, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, and repeat. This ensures the pasta is cool and ready to absorb the dressing.
  4. Transfer the macaroni to a large bowl, toss with olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Creole mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  6. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of water, gradually adding up to ¼ cup of water to achieve a thinner consistency if necessary.
  7. Stir in the minced onion, diced celery, adouille sausage and diced hard boiled eggs.
  8. Pour the dressing over the cooked macaroni and toss to combine thoroughly.
  9. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or hot sauce as needed.
  10. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley and sliced hard boiled eggs if desired, or refrigerate until ready to serve. If the salad seems dry after refrigerating, add a little water to refresh it before serving.
Keywords:BBQ side dish, Black Pepper, Cajun Macaroni Salad, cajun seasoning, Cayenne Pepper, Celery, Creole Mustard, Crystal hot sauce, Duke’s mayonnaise, easy pasta salad, elbow macaroni, fresh parsley, hard boiled eggs, high-quality mayonnaise, Kosher Salt, Lemon Juice, Louisiana hot sauce, no-salt seasoning blend, Olive Oil, red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, Southern recipes, spicy macaroni salad, summer picnic salad, sweet onion, Tabasco sauce, Vidalia onion, whole grain mustard, Yellow mustard

Hey family,

My name is Aaron Brown. You can call me “A.B.”

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