Love of the macaroni salad runs deep in Hawaii. Did you know that macaroni salad is a requirement when you’re eating a classic Hawaiian plate lunch? Seriously, if you’ve never had a classic plate lunch, it’s always served with two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and meat. ALWAYS.
A macaroni salad (and rice) is not only a requirement on a plate lunch, it’s a “must have” at family gatherings too. A normal plate lunch macaroni salad is pretty basic with little to no vegetables or tuna. The salads are still great, but the ladies in my family always made it better by adding their own special twist to it.
Like my aunts, my Hawaiian Style Loaded Tuna Macaroni Salad recipe isn’t the typical plate lunch macaroni salad, but a pumped up version of salads that I’ve eaten at family gatherings. This hearty macaroni salad is full of tuna, eggs, carrots, celery, and onions. This salad can be eaten as a tasty side or as a mid-day snack.
Recently, I made my own Kalua pig plate lunch for my family and had the opportunity to get feedback on my Hawaiian Style Loaded Tuna Salad Recipe. Normally, I don’t add any vegetables and only use tuna and egg in the salad because I have really picker eaters to please.
Sorry to call all of you out, but my boys are the most difficult to please. My husband likes simple ingredients and eats everything plain. He’s the type of guy that finds A-1 sauce “fancy”. Then I have to deal with my two boys, who are extremely picky with food. Both boys don’t like onions and one doesn’t care for carrots, but will eat it if I can hide or shred it small enough.
Needless to say, I was worried about serving this loaded tuna salad to my kids, but guess what? I was able to split the base of the salad into two bowls and only added onions to one, which pleased everyone.
Okay, I did receive some grief about the carrots not being shredded small enough for my pickiest son. I guess I can’t please everyone all of the time…*sigh*. Despite his complaint, the rest of my picker eaters managed to finish off this salad in less than 24 hours. Yes, this salad only lasted through one dinner, several snack bowls the next day, and lunch. Just know that you can adapt this recipe to please your own picker eaters too.
To start this salad, we need to prepare the pasta in salted water and boil some eggs. While the pasta and eggs are cooking, prep all the other ingredients for the salad – drain the tuna, shred the carrot, and chop the celery.This next step is for the onion lovers. If you don’t care for onions, omit this step and leave the onions out.
I tend to like the subtle taste of onions in my macaroni salad and use a little trick to avoid a strong onion taste. I finely chop the onions, place it on a paper napkin, and gently pat out some of the juice. For those that want a stronger onion flavor, skip the squeezing and add the finely chopped onion into the macaroni mix.
By the time all the prep is done, the pasta and eggs should be done cooking. Peel and coarsely chop the eggs to add in later.
Strain the pasta, add it to a large mixing bowl, and mix in apple cider vinegar to the hot pasta for a little bit of tangy. Next, start mixing in all of the prepared ingredients – tuna, carrots, eggs, parsley, and onions*.
*If you have kids/family that aren’t onion lovers, separate the salad mix into two bowls after the mayonnaise/milk mixture is added in the next step and only add onions to one bowl. Make sure you reduce the chopped onions when doing this. Mix together the mayonnaise and milk. Add this to the macaroni mix. If you feel the mix is too dry, add a little more milk/mayo. Salt and pepper to taste.
At this point, the salad is still warm and I prefer my salad cold. If you’re the same, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving and serve with low sodium soy sauce. Soy sauce adds even more flavor and most Hawaii locals will add some on their salads . Yum! That’s what I call a Hawaiian Style Loaded Tuna Macaroni Salad that “brok da’ mout”!
What is your family favorite summer side?
Hawaiian Style Tuna Macaroni Salad
|Prep time||20 minutes|
|Cook time||13 minutes|
|Total time||33 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Snack|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold|
|Occasion||Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party|
- 3 1/2 cups dry macaroni noodles
- 1 - 12oz. can tuna
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1-2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 5 eggs (boiled)
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots (about one medium carrot)
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon dry parsley
- kosher salt
- soy sauce (low sodium preferred)
- 2 - 4 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion (juice squeezed out - see notes)
- My kids don't care for lots of mayonnaise, so if you find the salad too dry, add in a few tablespoons of milk to get the consistency that you like.
- For non-onion lovers, split the salad into two bowls and add 2 T. of onions to only one bowl.
- If everyone are onion lovers, add in 3-4 T. of finely chopped onions into the entire large bowl of pasta.
- Adding less salt is best in the beginning, as the salt flavor will intensify as the salad cools and the ingredients mix together. You can always add more salt/pepper before serving.
- The salad is best chilled.
|Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, making sure to salt the water. Drain and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix in the apple cider vinegar - use 1 T. for a subtle flavor and 2 T. if you like it tangy.|
|At the same time as the pasta is boiling, boil 5 eggs. When the eggs are done, peel and coarsely chop. Set aside.|
|While the pasta and eggs are cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Open and drain the tuna. Use a fork to shred the tuna meat. Set aside.|
|Use a food processor or grater to shred the carrot and chop the celery. Set aside. Finely chop the onion. Add all of these ingredients to the pasta with the tuna and parsley. Mixture thoroughly. |
Optional - To prevent a strong onion flavor, take a paper napkin and gently press some of the onion juice out. Set aside.
|For the mayonnaise mixture, mix together the milk and mayonnaise. Add this into the salad and mix together.|
|Taste the mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate till ready to serve. Serve with soy sauce.|