Creamy Macaroni Salad

adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favourites
While we try to vary our menu from week to week, there are, of course, a few family favourites that recur pretty frequently – lasagne, Dr. T’s very excellent pizza, and the chili posted below. These, and a few other stalwarts, show up every two or three weeks without fail.
The other regular item on the menu is the macaroni & cheese, which Colin now makes pretty much all by himself (see? Having kids can pay off!). We have this mac & cheese every week, usually with a couple of very good friends and some trashy TV. It is a good, good thing.
This past week, however, temperatures hit the mid-thirties, and coupled with our traditional high humidity, the weather just wasn’t good mac & cheese weather, no matter how amazing the mac & cheese. My very smart friend, and frequent attendee of the weekly mac & cheese night, Aurora, suggested pasta salad instead – so Colin went looking, and found this recipe in the Moosewood Low-Fat Favourites (which, incidentally, I strongly recommend. TONS of great recipes, mostly vegetarian (Moosewood has apparently decided that fish are vegetables), and reasonably easy on the diet.). We made a few modifications, and ended up with a salad that was unanimously lauded:

Pasta: 1 box whole wheat macaroni (14 oz. uncooked)
Cream sauce:
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise (or low-fat)
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups broccoli florets, steamed for 5 minutes
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium dill pickles, chopped
Top with:
fresh dill
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1. Prepare the pasta according to package directions – you want relatively firm, al dente, pasta. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
2. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth, and set aside.
3. Mix the pasta with the other salad ingredients, then mix in the sauce. Chill for at least 20 minutes.

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