Rainbow Macaroni Salad

I grew up in New York and we New Yorkers love our delis, I mean REALLY love our delis.  So much so they are on almost every corner of every street.   You have Italian delis and Jewish delis.  Both have their specialties, it just depends on what you’re looking for.

The Italian delis have the most delicious fresh baked bread on the PLANET but they also have a kick a** macaroni salad.

New York deli macaroni salad just consists of macaroni, a dressing and MAYBE some chopped celery.  It’s very simple and very good.

I’ve tried to replicate their salads ever since I left the East Coast.  They are sooo different in the Mid West.  I think I came pretty darn close, but I  wanted to cut back on the mayonnaise and sugar so I added in some Greek Yogurt which adds a great flavor and thickness to it.

I also like to add veggies whenever I can to my recipes now.  It adds a lovely crunch to the soft al dente pasta and sneaks in some much needed vegetables that are lacking in most of our diets.

I added carrots, celery, peppers, and a little onion.  This is customizable so feel free to add, use less of, or even omit some of these.


Pasta continues to absorb liquid when warm.  I’ve had the best results with this salad when I’ve rinsed the pasta in cold water and then submerged it in an ice bath while making the dressing and chopping the veggies.  This will STOP the cooking process and allow the dressing to sit on top of the macaroni better.


Rainbow Macaroni Salad




  • 4 Cups Organic Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 Cup Matchstick Carrots, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Red Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Yellow Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Celery, diced
  • 1/41/2 Cup Organic Onion, diced


  • 1 Cup Organic Mayonnaise
  • 1 Cup Organic Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup Whole Organic Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Organic Yellow Mustard (Annie’s makes a good one)
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cane Sugar


  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of heavily salted water until al dente
  2. Plunge the pasta into a pot of ice cold water to stop it from cooking. This is an important step to prevent the pasta from soaking up the sauce and becoming dry
  3. As the pasta is soaking, cut up the veggies and prepare the sauce
  4. Put it all together in a large bowl and mix until combined. Refrigerate until cold

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  1. Dear Debi ~ Being an east coaster my entire life (74 yrs) i too am familiar with NY Deli offerings. I like your rainbow macaroni salad and offer a recommendation to add (packed in water) fork shredded Solid white Albacore Tuna .Best wishes.

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