Deli Style Pasta Salad

A classic pasta salad that is customizable depending on what flavors you like.

4 servings

Time: 1 hr 30 mins

By Ethan Chlebowski

A classic deli-style macaroni salad. Experiment with the dressing, vegetables, and aromatics for different flavor profiles, just like I demonstrate in this video.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Salad components

    • dried macaroni noodles
      454 g1 lb
    • celery
      , diced
      2 ribs
    • carrots
      , diced
    • dill pickles
      , minced
    • red onions
      , diced
    • salt
  • Deli-style dressing

    • kewpie mayo
      200 g
    • dijon mustard
      20 g
    • lemon juice
      1/4 lemon
    • garlic powder
      a sprinkle
    • sugar
      a spoonful
    • salt
      to taste
    • msg
      a sprinkle


Step 1: Boil the pasta

Add your pasta to a pot of , salted water. Undercook the pasta by 3 or 4 minutes longer than the package instructions suggest. This overcooking allows the pasta to maintain a perfect chewy texture when cooled for the salad, instead of just hardening.

Once the pasta is cooked, strain it and spread it onto a baking sheet to cool.

  • For an extra touch, consider mixing in a couple of spoonfuls of pickle liquid to the pasta so it absorbs some of that flavor.

While the pasta cools for about 30 minutes, you can use this time to prepare everything else.

Step 2: Prepare the vegetables & the dressing

Dice your onion, carrot, and celery finely. Mince the dill pickle (it serves as an aromatic in this recipe).

Next, combine the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, sugar, garlic powder, black pepper, and MSG in a bowl and mix until well blended.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. The flavor should be powerful as it will season the pasta and vegetables.

Step 3: Assemble & serve

In a large bowl or container, mix cooked pasta, vegetables, and dressing until everything is evenly coated. You can adjust the amount of dressing to your preference.

For best results, let the mac salad rest in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. It tastes even better if left overnight. Enjoy



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