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“Pasta” is pretty much a magic word around my niece and nephew (6 and 4) these days. They are still in the stage where they are fairly picky eaters, despite my sister always providing them healthy and balanced meals. My nephew wishes he could survive on fruit alone and my niece will devour pizza, but just picks at a lot of other foods. But they both go nuts for pasta!
It doesn’t really matter to them if it’s spaghetti, mac & cheese, stuffed shells, or macaroni salad. It’s all simply “pasta” to them! So, of course, we try to sneak as many healthy things in there for them as we possibly can!
How is it lighter?
- This lighter macaroni salad uses whole wheat macaroni instead plain white pasta for a little extra boost of fiber to keep them full longer, and some extra nutrients and antioxidants.
- I also replaced the traditional mayo with Greek yogurt and sour cream to keep the creaminess, but get rid of a lot of the excess fat and sodium and added some extra protein.
- And I added more veggies! Traditional macaroni salad still has vegetables, but I decided to up the amount, both because I love them and they are good for you. And, of course, you can cater the veggies to your tastes! Use zucchini instead of cucumber, add bell pepper or peas, use red onion instead of green onion for a little more bite – the options are endless!
For the Salad
- 4 c. uncooked whole wheat macaroni noodles
- 1 c. finely diced cucumber
- 1 c. finely diced celery
- 1 c. finely diced carrot
- 4 stalks diced green onion
For the Dressing
- 1 c. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 c. light sour cream
- 1/2 c. sweet pickle relish
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Mix together all dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add macaroni and vegetables. Stir to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving (I prefer overnight!).
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