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Catalina Macaroni Salad

This delicious salad was prompted by a post on What’s For Dinner Moms? blog.  I love pasta salads but using straight mayo tends to get boring.  I do love Catalina Dressing so this recipe tickled my fancy.  I hoped it would tickle my tongue!  It’s summertime and we eat a lot of cold salads with burgers or sandwiches for dinner.  After a long day for both my P.S. (Patient Spouse) and I like to have dinner ready fast.

As usual for a blogger, I did tweak the recipe  I used a whole 16 ounce box of pasta because I didn’t want 4 ounces left in a box.  I also added green onions.  The recipe didn’t call for any onions but we like green onions in everything.  Well not in ice cream but you know.  Savory things.  Otherwise it was perfection in about 20 minutes.  Boiling time.  We ate it the next day for dinner and several days after.  I’d make this again.  Often.  Thanks for the recipe, Moms!

I cooked a box of radiatore pasta in salted water until it was just al dente.  I used that shaped pasta because the blog did.  But it’s one of my favorites anyway, because the pasta has ridges that nicely grip any sauce or dressing.  You could use elbow macaroni or whatever you have on hand.

While the pasta cooked I finely diced a red sweet bell pepper.  I prefer red to green as it’s a little sweeter (duh) and not as bitter.  And for some reason only the green pepper gives me heartburn.  Besides, red peppers are pretty and go with the Catalina’s color nicely.  I put the diced pepper into a large mixing bowl.

I sliced up some green onions thinly, about 1/4 a cup.  You could add more or simply omit them.

I got lucky and already had hard boiled some eggs the previous day so I quickly peeled and diced 4 of them up into the bowl.  Boil them your favorite way, I find that varies a lot from person to person!  Add the eggs to the large bowl with the pepper and green onion.

In a separate bowl I measured the Catalina dressing, mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and whisked it well.  I didn’t follow the directions there either, I just went with it and felt bad afterwards.  I knew the sugar would melt because I was making it a day ahead anyway.

When the pasta was cooked and drained I rinsed it with cold water to cool.  I added the pasta o the bowl of peppers, green onions and eggs and poured the dressing over it all.  I stirred well and placed it into a shoebox type Ziploc container, put a lid on it and refrigerated it overnight.

The next morning I was excited to see how my salad had weathered the overnight hours.  Sometimes a pasta salad will suck the living daylights out of the dressing and it’s so dry I have to add more.  This salad played nice with the dressing and was moist and nicely covered still.  I stirred well and put it back into the fridge.

For dinner we had grilled chicken thighs that my P.S. had marinated in a ginger and herb dressing.  It was a bottled dressing so I won’t elaborate on that.  But the salad was smashing!  We loved it!  The tangy but sweet dressing was a great change from my usual seasoned mayo dressings.  And very pretty as well!

Catalina Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A pretty pink cold pasta salad that's both tangy and sweet!

  • 16 ounces dried macaroni (I used radiatore)
  • 1/2 cup Catalina dressing
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (not low fat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced (I used a red pepper)
  • 1/4 cup green onion; thinly sliced (optional)
  • 4 large hard-boiled eggs; diced


Cook pasta in salted water according to directions for al dente. Drain and rinse under cool running water. Transfer to a large bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, mix together the Catalina dressing, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.

To a large bowl add the peppers, green onion and diced eggs. Add the pasta when cooled.

Pour dressing into the large bowl and mix well. Taste test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Store in covered container in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

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