8 Abot-Kayang Macaroni Salad Ingredients for Parties

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Macaroni salad ingredients are standard. They typically include macaroni, carrots, pickle relish, shredded chicken, pineapple tidbits, and mayonnaise – simple components that combine to become a flavorsome starter or side dish suitable for any feast. But just because everyone uses the same ingredients does not mean your pasta salads should taste the same. Make yours stand out. Try these creative wallet-friendly tweaks on your traditional macaroni recipe.

1. Fruit Cocktail

A bowl of fruit cocktail next to a tin can on a surface covered with a jute sack

Don't shrug this suggestion off. This panghimagas uses only five ingredients, making it economical, nutritious, and filling. Maybe it's the reason this fruity dessert/snack is a fixture in fiestas. Just combine elbow macaroni with a can of fruit cocktail, mayonnaise, condensed milk, and cream for a fuss-free, unforgettable treat.

Do you want to make this version even more special? Add some nata de coco, kaong, and cheese cubes into the mix. Raisins and fresh coconut strips can also add color and texture to the salad. 

2. Canned Tuna

A clear glass bowl filled with tuna chunks surrounded by tin cans

Do you lean towards more savory flavors? For this year's family reunion, why not switch up the chicken for tuna, the chicken of the seas? Canned tuna works fine but opt for the "in water" variety. Drain it thoroughly before mixing it into your fave macaroni salad recipe.

Pro tip: stabilize the salad dressing and boost its flavor by adding a bit of white vinegar.

3. Jiggly Gelatin

A white bowl filled with gelatin cubes garnished with mint leaves

If you're still partial to chicken macaroni salad, you can make it more attention-grabbing with a bright pop of color. Use lightly sweetened gelatin in red or green hues. The unflavored kind is the safer choice. But if you want to be more adventurous, try the orange, lemon, or pineapple varieties. Then, balance out all the flavors by combining Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise with Knorr Liquid Seasoning for an umami-fied dressing. Garnish gelatin on top of the salad right before serving.

4. Crunchy Cucumbers

Cucumber slices in a glass bowl on a wooden chopping board surrounded by fresh produce

Reduce the umay factor of creamy macaroni by incorporating cucumber pieces into the dish. This unlikely ingredient adds a dose of freshness to your macaroni recipe. Take out the seeds to keep your salad from becoming watery and spoiling quickly.

5. Juicy Hot Dogs

Several pieces of hot dogs on a wooden chopping board

Take elbow macaroni pasta dishes up a notch with meaty hot dog slices. Grab your favorite hot dog or sausage brand and chop it up before pan-frying. Use as little oil as possible to avoid greasiness. Drain on paper towels before adding them to your macaroni. Use the cheese-filled version for extra creaminess!

6. Sweet Corn Kernels

A bowl of sweet corn kernels placed on top of a blue and white table napkin

Introduce a bit of a bite to any salad with canned corn kernels. High in fiber, corn gives savory dishes the hint of sweetness that kids and adults both love. Drain the corn thoroughly before tossing it in with the rest of the ingredients. The best part? This filling ingredient is affordable and easily accessible.

7. Egg Salad

A bowl of creamy egg salad on a wooden chopping board with lettuce on the side and bread in the background

Some macaroni salad recipes suggest hard-boiled eggs as a garnish, but you can add this protein-packed ingredient to the dish in other ways. Instead of just using it as a topping, incorporate it into the mix! Do you have a favorite egg salad recipe? Stir that into your macaroni dressing. Voila! Eggstra creamy party food that won’t break the bank.

8. Crisp Apples

A bowl of apple slices and whole apples on a wooden table

Don’t let spare apples go to waste. Give your macaroni a Waldorf salad flair with fresh apple chunks in the recipe. Juicy, crisp apples impart a sweet and tart flavor that compliments the creaminess of classic chicken macaroni salad. Make sure to cut the apples into bite-sized pieces for better enjoyment. Try using pears, too!

You don’t need to go over the budget if you choose your macaroni salad ingredients wisely. Use these suggestions to revamp and extend the serving size of any classic macaroni recipe. Try them out yourself and watch party guests come back for more.

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