Dad’s Favorite Macaroni Salad ((Just in time for Father’s Day!!))

Dad’s Favorite Macaroni Salad ((Just in time for Father’s Day!!))

Dad’s Favorite! Every time I think of this macaroni salad, a scene plays over in my mind. It isn’t an exciting scene, nor is it monumental in forming me into who I am today.

But it is still quietly and comfortingly present every single time I recall this recipe. I can see my dad, sitting in ‘his spot’ at the head of the dining table. From the kitchen mom asks ((dad)): “What do you want to go with the steaks ((or burgers, or fried fish))?” and dad’s reply is almost always the same: “How about that macaroni salad?” Sometimes he says: “mmm, your potato salad sounds good!”  ((mom’s potato salad is an anchor in our family)).

Let me clarify, the potato salad isn’t an actual anchor – just the recipe, haha!!


 This recipe comes from a little family cookbook pamphlet published by a senator’s wife in TX: “Jim Turner’s favorite recipes, Jim Turner for State Senator: 1990”,


A Secret Ingredient!

Over the years, mom has tweaked a few things, added a few things – and omitted something as well. From the looks of this recipe, you may be rubber-necking at the can of sweetened condensed milk & secretly hoping that is what mom omitted. Well, she didn’t.  

I bet you have never had a macaroni salad with this ingredient! Trust me it will be just fine – you will be surprised at how good it is! This may just become your favorite too! But the sugar? It’s gone!


Finely diced veggies including: a rainbow of bell peppers, a small sweet onion, celery & shredded carrots.


A big handful of garden-fresh flat leaf Italian parsley and a bundle of freshly snipped garlic chives work magic into this recipe.


Next, measure out your creamy components – I love using LIGHT HELLMAN’S MAYO! ((As a side, I was reading an article about what fat-free and low-fat grocery items to avoid and which ones to use – Hellman’s Light Mayo was the #1 recommended light product to use!)).


Pour everything into the pasta (which needs to be cooled to room temp). Stir.


Add all of your beautifully chopped and shredded veggies – stir some more.


Place in a serving bowl & refrigerate until ready to serve (1 hour to overnight).

Dad's Favorite Macaroni Salad
Serves 8
Sweet and tangy, a hint of salty & an explosion of veggies and garden-fresh herbs make the macaroni salad a family favorite!
Write a review
Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
418 calories
45 g
38 g
25 g
6 g
6 g
342 g
798 g
33 g
0 g
17 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 418
Calories from Fat 217
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 11g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 38mg
Sodium 798mg
Total Carbohydrates 45g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 33g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 16 oz package of Ditalini (a shorter, straight version of elbow macaroni), boiled according to package instructions and cooled to room temp.
Sauce & Seasonings
  1. 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  2. 2 c light mayo
  3. 1 c vinegar ((I used tarragon infused apple cider vinegar but you can use your favorite))
  4. 1 t Kosher salt
  5. 1/4 - 1/2 t fresh cracked pepper
  1. 3 medium carrots, shredded (unpeeled)
  2. 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  3. 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
  4. 2 - 3 red, green and or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  5. 1/2 c fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
  6. 1/3 c fresh chives finely chopped
  1. In the same pot that the pasta* was cooked & cooled in, add all of the Sauce & Seasonings ingredients. Stir until combined, add veggies & herbs, stir until combined.
  2. Place the macaroni salad in a serving bowl, refrigerate 1 hour up to overnight.
  3. Serves 8-10. Lasts one week in fridge.
  1. *save your pasta water! I will tell you why next week!
Adapted from Jim Turner's Wife
Adapted from Jim Turner's Wife
Food for a Year:

I wonder if your dad will love this as much as my dad does. I thank God for good dad’s ((and my great dad!)) and the privilege to honor them – not just tomorrow but every day.