Oh em gee, you guys, have I been craving a retro picnic macaroni salad. I mean the whole full meal deal here guys, white noodles, chunks of cheese, eggs, peas, green onions and more. The classic BBQ salad that graced every table since the 1960’s.
I finally dug around in my recipe box where I have written down my grandma’s recipes and came up with this one. Where it’s from, I have no idea but this is seriously the best macaroni salad ever. There isn’t a store bought salad that can compare to this beauty.
Let’s get in real close and take a look, shall we? Oh baby. The only thing that would make this more retro is ham chunks and I fully encourage you to put ham chunks in it! I used bacon, which is utterly fabulous IF you make sure to let this salad sit for a few hours.
However, chunks of ham? Oh yah. That’s how it’s originally made!
I was kind of clapping my hands with glee making this salad. Sometimes it is so much darn fun to get into the older classics.
For the first time EVER on this website – and most likely not the last- I used a dry powder Ranch Dressing packet!
Man, what glorious fun I had making this! Bread and butter pickles….Ranch powder… frozen peas…these things amuse me!
Now a warning: this is a large and in charge recipe. This is definitely from the days when you were feeding 12-14 people at a picnic. This makes a LOT of salad, we are talking a large Tupperware bowl full! The LARGE bowl that I make bread in! If you are making it for your family, then halve the recipe.
What makes this salad so epic is that you can add whatever you want. Want more eggs? Use 6! Want more bacon? Add it in! This is a base that you can tweak to your liking. I was trying to stay a little healthier so I only used half a pound of bacon in mine, but feel free to use the entire pound, it will make it better!
Also make sure to use the curled Tortiglioni pasta, it’s so much better than elbow pasta for this! It also goes by riccioli pasta, but whatever name it is, it’s a hollow twisted tube pasta and nothing beats it for this salad!
Prepare thyselves for more classic recipes. I’m bringing back the oldies!
Any classic suggestions you’d like to see on here? Porcupine meatballs (oh man, my mom made those ALL THE TIME), meatloaf? Think of something you haven’t eaten for years, I’ll find my mom’s recipe for it!
Happy retro eating! Love you more than the 70’s!
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Classic Retro Picnic Macaroni Salad
- Prep Time
- 20 minutes
- Cook Time
- 20 minutes
- Total Time
- 40 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- macaroni salad
- 1-500 gram box Tortiglioni/Rocoli pasta twisted hollow tube pasta like curls!
- 1 1/4 cups old cheddar cheese cubed small
- 1 cup bread and butter pickles chopped small
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 10 green onion stems chopped
- 1 lb cooked cooled bacon chopped or 1 cup diced ham cubes
- 3 -6 eggs hard boiled and chopped depends how eggy you like it!
- 1 package dry Ranch salad dressing mix
- 1 cup real mayonnaise I use Hellmann's
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup sweet pickle juice
- 2 Tablespoons mustard
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- black pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box for "firm" pasta. Drain, run under cool water until cold, drain again and place in a large bowl.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients for the salad in the large bowl.
- Mix together all the dressing ingredients.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and other ingredients; stir to cover the salad entirely with the dressing.
- Refrigerate until serving. This salad is best if left a few hours in the fridge or even overnight so that the flavors can meld together.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.