I am not Hawaiian and I’ve never lived in Hawaii. However, my parents were stationed there prior to my arrival and bestowed upon me the nickname “Lani”, which means “heavenly” in Hawaiian. I’ve actually never gone by my real name and thus I’ve always been confused with being Hawaiian. However, my mom did take some of her favorite influences from their time there and integrated them in our life. This included the yummy Hawaiian macaroni salad!
If you’ve ever been to Hawaii or eaten a classic Hawaiian meal, macaroni salad tends to be an easy staple to include along with your roasted pork, poke, etc. It’s actually quite simple and I grew up with this easy side dish, oftentimes at our family parties. It is definitely different from common macaroni salads because of its distinct sweetness vs. sour qualities. If you are looking for a new spin on macaroni salad that isn’t very expensive, here is my take on it!
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- 1 box elbow macaroni
- 2 cans of crushed pineapple (8 oz each)
- 1/2 cup of chopped sweet pickles (I have a preference for Sweet Midgets!)
- 1 cup of shredded carrots
- 1 small onion
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 Tbs vinegar
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional add ins: 2 cans of tuna (for those who don’t have allergies!) or shredded chicken
1. Boil elbow macaroni. My mother usually boiled them until they were super soft, but if you prefer al dente, have at it!
2. Chop sweet pickles, shred carrots, and grate onion directly over the cooked macaroni. I like to grate the onion directly over the macaroni so that it catches all of the juices of the onion!
3. Drain crushed pineapple and add to the macaroni.
4. Make dressing: combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, paprika, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add to the macaroni.
5. Combine thoroughly and put in fridge until ready to eat! This macaroni salad can seem to taste better the longer you allow it to sit and marinate in the fridge! However, it still tastes good immediately after making!
As I said earlier, for me this salad tends to taste super delicious alongside roasted pork (as filipinos call it: lechon). I also like it alongside fish, fried chicken (or anything fried!), …okay, basically any delicious protein! The macaroni and veggies are the base, but you can add tuna (my mom always did!) or shredded chicken. Bring it to your next potluck, picnic, or spring/summer family dinner!