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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is made lighter with Greek Yogurt for a super creamy pasta salad that skimps on calories, but not flavor. This Hawaiian Mac Salad is the perfect side dish for barbecues, picnics or just dinner with your family.
If you’re feeling a little tropical, enjoy this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with our Huli Huli Barbecue Baked Chicken and Pineapple Cobbler. You’ll be transported to the islands and won’t ever want to leave!
If you’ve ever visited the islands of Hawaii, then you’re probably familiar with the term “plate lunch.” It’s a popular order for lunch or dinner or many food trucks and counter service restaurants all over the islands. The Two Scoop Hawaiian Plate Lunch consists of a meat entree, like Kalua Pork or Katsu Chicken, and two scoops of white rice and/or macaroni salad.
While staying at Disney’s Aulani Resort a few years ago, we had the Plate Lunch at a little counter service joint called Zippy’s, which is really popular with the locals. It may have very well been the best meal I ate during our entire trip. The Macaroni Salad is not like the traditional Macaroni Salad we have stateside (like this one). It’s sweeter, creamier and is absolutely divine. The other thing it is, is full of unhealthy (but still quite tasty) fat and sugar. So when I wanted to make this salad at home, I knew I needed to bring the fat and calories down a bit.
The plate lunch, with a scoop of rice and a scoop of sweet Hawaiian mac salad was a popular lunch for hungry workers during the booming pineapple and sugar cane plantations era of the 1880s. By the 1950s, that era had ended but the plate lunch, with it’s two scoop rice and mac salad, had found its place as a Hawaiian staple.
My recipe still uses good old traditional mayo, but instead of 2 ½ cups of the stuff, I used half mayo and half Greek Yogurt. Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipes usually also call for whole milk and a bit of white sugar, which I swapped out for nonfat milk and honey. Still super creamy and super delicious, but you can feel a little bit better about having that extra helping (or three)!
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is pretty adaptable to a variety of entrees, but because of the sweetness it pairs especially well with more savory, salty dishes like Kalua Pork, Korean Short Ribs and grilled meats like chicken and steak. Some like to add tuna to the salad and make it a complete meal. Whatever way you enjoy your Hawaiian Mac Salad, it’s sure to become a family favorite!
If properly stored in an airtight container in the fridge, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad will last 4-5 days. If it seems dry, add a touch of mayo or greek yogurt and stir it up to moisten.
If you love Hawaiian Mac Salad, you love’ll these other pasta salad recipes!