Eat Sides

Light Summer Macaroni Salad

A healthier version of a classic, with a light dressing and loads of veggies and fresh herbs.

This macaroni salad is a fresh and much healthier version of the classic. It features a very light creamy dressing, is packed with veggies, and loads of parsley and dill add a punch of flavor. It comes together in just 30 minutes! Perfect for a summer cookout, or do what I’m doing and eat it for lunch this week. Enjoy!

Light Summer Macaroni Salad

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Cookout, Macaroni, Salad, Summer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8


  • ½ cup light or regular mayo, make it heaping
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ½ small lemon), more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp brine from the capers or pickles
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. dry elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • ¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp diced dill pickles
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley


  1. 1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, brine, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

  2. 2. Cook the macaroni in a pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. It should be completely cool before you mix it with the other salad ingredients.

  3. 3. Add the macaroni to the bowl along with the red onion, red pepper, celery, peas, capers, pickles, dill, and parsley. Like most salad recipes, this one is flexible, so taste and adjust it to your liking before you serve it! Stir to combine and season to taste with more lemon, salt and pepper as needed. Serve cold.

Recipe Notes

• This salad can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
• The herbs give this dish a fresh, punchy finish. But, if you’re not a fan of dill, feel free to use less.

Bon Appétit!

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