Jul 16, 2012

Macaroni Salad

In most Filipino households, the making of salads -- macaroni, potato, fruit -- herald festivities or an important occasion.  I remember around Christmastime, or during my birthday, my lola would usually be found boiling potatoes or chicken breast or both to make a big batch of macaroni or potato salad.  The salad gets stellar billing on the dining table, and whatever's left after noche buena or after the party gets distributed in mayonnaise jars to neighbors and/or relatives who are more than happy to receive them. 

In my case however, I made macaroni salad as a way to break the potato salad fixation pervading in our house. :) I've made potato salad two nights in a row, which my sons took to school as baon, and happily gorged on again upon coming home.  When they egged me to make potato salad a third time, I said, "Tantanan na ang potato salad, puede ba? Macaroni salad naman! (Let up on the potato salad, will you? Let's move on to macaroni salad!)"

Because salads are fairly easy to make, as all it takes is the mixing and tossing together of ingredients, there are as many versions of a particular salad as those who make it. This recipe therefore is but a drop in the bucket, so to speak, but I'm posting it just the same because I've been requested to do so. :)  This version also is my lola's version, updated just a wee bit. :)


What's In It?

400 g Del Monte salad macaroni, cooked al dente
1 470 ml pack (about 5 cups) Best Foods Mayo Magic all-purpose dressing*
1 250 ml pack (about 3 cups) Lady's Choice chicken sandwich spread
1 chicken breast, skinned, boiled and flaked
1 large scallion (red onion), peeled and minced
1 large red bell pepper, minced
3-4 stalks celery, minced
1 medium or 2 small carrots, peeled and diced finely
1 can Del Monte crushed pineapple, syrup drained and reserved
3-4 cooked ham or luncheon meat slices, diced (optional)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, ensuring the dressing is well distributed to coat the other ingredients.  Check taste, adjust by adding sugar or salt or a little of the drained pineapple syrup if necessary, in order to achieve a good harmony of the tang, sweetness and saltiness.  Serve chilled. :)


1. I add ham, luncheon meat, hotdog or sausage slices -- whichever is in my refrigerator -- to boost flavor as chicken breast is kind of bland.  It also adds color and texture, therefore interest, to the salad. :)

2. Feel free to use leftover fried or roast chicken if that's what's you have available instead of boiled chicken breast. Use any part, not just the breast, but be sure to flake or chop it into small bits.

3.  Add raisins if you like.  I didn't because my sons are not raisin fans. :)

4.  If you'd be using regular mayonnaise you may have to sprinkle a little sugar, salt, ground white pepper into the mix as mayonnaise is usually unseasoned.   Both the Mayo Magic and the chicken sandwich spread I used here already had salt, spice and sugar in them so I didn't need to add any, and so they are not mentioned in the recipe.

5. Like I always say, I am an oido cook...I do not measure while cooking. So the measurements here are approximations of what I think were the volumes of the ingredients I used. I suggest therefore that you start with the smaller values first (i.e., if I say 1 to 1 1/2, try 1 first) and just adjust or add seasonings, spices or dressing little by little until you get the desired result. :)