Taco Macaroni Salad


After leaving behind the gelatin molds, after turning my back on high-fat cheesy potato casserole, after deciding I was going to hold myself to a higher standard than bad coffee from a jumbo percolator, I’m left with one dish from the church basement that made its way into my weekly family food lineup—the ever-righteous batch of macaroni salad.

Sure, I’ve tried to glam it up with fancy, designer pickles. I’ve even tried to swap out the elbow macaroni for penne and changed its name to pasta salad. At its heart, macaroni salad, no matter how it’s done, is that same food that I waited in line for, ate with a plastic fork, and asked for a blessing from the Lord for before I dove into it. Here, I continue to change up the recipe, add some ethnic flair (if one can really call hot sauce and kidney beans ethnic flair), and find an interesting new twist on this beloved multi-generational family friend.


1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked

½ cup red onion, diced

½ cup green onion, diced

1 6-ounce can black olives, sliced

1 15-ounce can kidney beans

3-4 roma tomatoes, diced

½ cup green pepper, diced

¾ cup cheddar cheese, cubed


½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons white vinegar

3 tablespoons taco sauce

5 drops hot sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients for sauce together, then combine with macaroni and other ingredients until evenly coated.


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