Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

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No plate lunch would be complete without a scoop of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, am I right?

I love the simplicity of this dish – fresh crunchy veggies veggies, a quick pull together dressing that is sweet and tangy and all tossed together with perfectly cooked past. This, my friends, is the perfect macaroni salad.

You can easily adapt this to your tastes. Whenever I’m serving Kalua Pork, I love to serve mac salad to go with and this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is my go-to recipe. Hawaii Magazine has a great article on all things mac salad and they are right – once you learn the basics, you can customize it to your tastes. My friend’s mom adds a touch of rice wine vinegar and brown sugar to her traditional salad so, over the years, I incorporated that. Also, I reached for my trusty Ono Seasoning and Red Hawaiian Sea Salt to add a bit of sass. End result – the best ever mac salad that will make you start planning your next luau. All you need is some Kalua Pork, a scoop of rice, and a cocktail to go with!

Next time you have a craving for a somewhat traditional mac salad, make this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad for your next gathering. Just don’t count on leftovers – it’s that good.

On to the recipe:


For the salad:

  • 1 pound of elbow pasta
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely grated
  • 3 carrots, sliced into finely diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely diced

For the dressing:

  • 1½ – 2 cups of light mayonnaise (I am not a fan of too much mayo)
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup of rice vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt (I used Hawaiian Red Alae Salt)
  • ½ teaspoon of Ono Hawaiian Seasoning (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

For the Garnish:

  • 2 green scallions, white and green cuts, thinly sliced


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the pasta. Cook for about 6 – 7 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.

Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water. Set in a large bowl to cool.

To the cooled pasta, add the grated onion, diced carrots, and carrots. Toss together.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, brown sugar, rice vinegar, salt, Ono seasoning (if using) and black pepper.

Add half of the dressing to the salad and toss to combine. If it needs more dressing, add the remaining dressing until everything is coated.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours so that the flavors can meld.

To serve, garnish with the sliced scallions and enjoy!

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