Expecting a crowd for a backyard get-together? Make-Ahead Mexican Macaroni Salad is the perfect dish to serve as an accompaniment to grilled meats, chicken, burgers or even sandwiches with slow cooker fillings. It’s also great to take for a pot-luck dish, since it’s colorful and serves a lot. Although this salad can be made the day of serving, it gets better as it sits in the refrigerator, so busy cooks can get the preparation out of the way and not have to worry about making a salad at the last minute.
Make-ahead Mexican Macaroni salad is loaded with colorful, crunchy vegetables, as well as yummy Mexican Queso Fresco (fresh crumbling cheese). For a main dish salad, shredded pork from the Basic Pork Module or shredded chicken from the Poached Chicken Module (or even rotisserie chicken from the local supermarket) can be added. The dressing is quickly made in the blender or MagicBullet with store-bought salsa, a little vinegar, vegetable oil, and lime juice. Hands-on time is about 30 minutes to chop the vegetables, but can be reduced if a chopper or food processor is available. Although the recipe calls for whole wheat pasta, regular pasta can be used with almost identical results; the whole wheat variety seems to hold up better in salads and adds a little fiber and miscellaneous nutritional elements.
1 13.25 ounce package whole wheat elbows (or thereabouts)
Boiling salted water
8 ounces zucchini, finely diced (1 medium)
1 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
1 cup fresh jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 cups frozen corn, rinsed and drained
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups jicama, diced
1 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
12 ounces queso fresco, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped, or substitute parsley
1 cup medium salsa
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
- Cook the elbows in the boiling salted water until al dente.
- Pour into a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain well.
- Transfer the macaroni to a large serving bowl.
- Add the zucchini, peppers, onions, corn, tomatoes, jicama, olives, cheese, and cilantro to the macaroni and toss with the dressing.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight; Stir before serving.
- Dressing: Place salsa, vinegar, vegetable oil, and lime juice in a blender or MagicBullet; blend until smooth.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 185 Calories from Fat 83
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 45% Protein 15% Carb. 41%
Nutrient Amount per Serving Value
Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 13 mg
Sodium 133 mg
Total Carbohydrate 19 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 7 g
Vitamin A 21% Vitamin C 41% Calcium 0% Iron 6%