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Auntie Ahulani’s Amazingly Good Mac Salad recipe

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Are you ready for flaming torches, tropical drinks, amazing roast pig, Huli Huli chicken and all things tiki??  The sound of the Hawaii War Chant is in the air and the leis are lined up.  It is SO on.  In just under 5 weeks… WE ARE HAVING A LUAU!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Join me over the next month as I post some fabulous Luau Recipes – everything from Beach Baby Pudding Cups to Huli Huli chicken – perfect summer recipes for your next barbecue, cookout or family reunion.  We’ll be starting with one of my personal favorites – Auntie Ahulani’s Amazingly Good Mac Salad.

I received this recipe, along with many others, from Auntie Ahulani, a wonderful Hawaiian lady.   At 76 she is still going strong and, if you’re looking for her, is likely found in her tiny retro kitchen fussing over a bubbling pot of beautiful sun-orange lilikoi jelly. Small but feisty and very kind, Auntie Ahulani was quick to offer to share some of her most amazing recipes with me as long as I would pass them on.  I’ll be sharing them with you in the coming months. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Here is Aunti Ahulani’s Amazing Good Mac Salad recipe.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Authentic Hawaiian Mac Salad is ridiculously simple. In fact, a true Hawaiian macaroni salad is basically just macaroni, carrot, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  If you’re feeling frisky you can add celery, extra onion, potatoes, crab, or peas.  But don’t even think of mixing in ham or pineapple – it’s just not authentic.  This version omits the carrot.

Hawaiian Cole Slaw

Besides being true to the add-in options, there are 2 main things that make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad authentic:  lots of mayonnaise (which is partly why it’s so wonderful) and soft plump macaroni.  Actually the two go hand in hand.  Hawaiians cook their macaroni until it’s very soft. There’s a reason for this. It enables the macaroni to soak up more of the wonderful dressing.  In Hawaii it’s all about the mayonnaise.

And you don’t want to use just any brand of mayonnaise.  It has to be Hellman’s (sold as Best Foods to our friends west of the Rockies). That’s it.  Trust me, it just won’t taste right with any other brand.  And don’t hold back on the mayonnaise amount.  I know it sounds like a lot, but the creamy delicious results will speak for themselves.

 

Luau Recipes

Have you ever had a Hawaiian-style plate lunch?   Macaroni salad is a staple of the Hawaii-style plate lunch.

A plate lunch is great meal and consists of a scoop of mayonnaise-rich mac salad along with a couple mounds of white rice to mix into some huli huli chicken or teriyaki chicken with a sweet-and-tangy shoyu, sugar, garlic, ginger marinade.  This mac salad is right at home in the mix.

 

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Family Size

 

Auntie Ahulani’s Macaroni Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
A classic authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Perfect for your next BBQ! An AlohaDreams.com recipe.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15 servings
Author: Auntie Ahulani
Ingredients
For the macaroni
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
For the Dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise or Best mayonnaise
  • 1/2 small onion diced
  • 8 ounces imitation crab chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas cooked
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 2 large hard boiled eggs chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 green onion chopped
Instructions
  1. In a very large pot bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until soft, about 13 - 15 minutes (you don't want al dente pasta for this). Drain pasta and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine onions, crab, peas, celery, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix in the mayonnaise.

  3. Gently stir in the cooked and drained macaroni.
MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
  1. Can, and should, be made at least 4 hours in advance and preferably up to 1 day for the flavors to marry. Cover and refrigerate. Serve sprinkled with the chopped green onion.

Large Group

 

Auntie Ahulani’s Macaroni Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A classic authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.  Note: After multiple testing and considerable feedback, this recipe will reliably feed 30 as part of a buffet or multi-course dinner.  Makes 110 ounces or 30 3.6 ounce servings.  An AlohaDreams.com recipe.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Cooking for a Crowd
Servings: 30 servings
Author: Auntie Ahulani
Ingredients
For the macaroni
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon salt
For the Dressing
  • 3 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise (or Best mayonnaise)
  • 1 small onion , diced (or 1/2 larger onion)
  • 1 pound imitation crab , chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas , cooked
  • 2 stalks celery , chopped
  • 4 hard boiled eggs , chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 green onions chopped
Instructions
  1. In a very large pot bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until soft, about 13 - 15 minutes (you don't want al dente pasta for this).  Drain pasta and return to pot.

  2. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine onions, crab, peas, celery, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix in the mayonnaise.

  3. Gently stir in the cooked and drained macaroni.
MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
  1. Can, and should, be made at least 4 hours in advance and preferably up to 1 day for the flavors to marry.  Cover and refrigerate.  Serve sprinkled with the chopped green onion.

 

8 Comments

  1. Gary

    When I lived in Hawaii some of the Mac salad had a orange tint to it. I love making this version, but do you have an idea of what they used to give it that orange color?

    Reply
    • Betsy Edwards

      I’m betting it is the shredded carrots some people use. Regardless of what else you add, the key to any good authentic Hawaiian Mac salad is lots of mayonnaise.

      Reply
  2. Candace Takahashi

    Having a Hawaiian themed salad lunch at the school where I work. I’m trying this out!

    Reply
    • Betsy Edwards

      I’d love to hear how you like it!

      Reply
  3. S. Misukan

    WOW!! Best Mac Salad ever.

    Reply
    • Betsy Edwards

      Thank you, I think so too!

      Reply
  4. Jeanine Fotheringhame

    This is the VERY best macaroni salad I have ever had! I was at the Luau and my friend, wow, this macaroni salad rocks! I quickly proceeded to twist my plate around and try it! It really is the BEST! Thank you Aloha Dreams!

    Reply
    • Betsy Edwards

      Thanks Jeanine!! I’m so glad you liked it as much as I do. It’s even better the next day – if there’s any left. : )

      Reply

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