The best of both worlds for any macaroni salad is to lie midway between baked macaroni and cheese goodness and the refreshing coolness of a chilled pasta salad. And broccoli, the mainstay of most cheesy soups, adds another healthy dimension to the picnic potluck favorite.
Broccoli Mac & Cheese Salad
by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
This delicious salad combines the best of both worlds: macaroni salad and baked macaroni and cheese. Try it for a unique twist on an old favorite!
I made it one afternoon when I couldn’t decide if I was hungry for macaroni and cheese or macaroni salad, but I knew macaroni was in there somewhere. “And why not have both?” I thought to myself. Except I didn;t just want a mac salad with cheese cubes added. I’ve seen those, and while they are good, I wanted something with more cheese spread throughout. And so this recipe came to be, combining the tricks of melting cheese into pasta with “blue box” mac and cheese I learned as a teenager, and all the best ideas of mac salad, with a little green veggie to boot.
It went over swimmingly at the Lau household, and is perfect for taking something *different* to any potluck cookout or barbecue, where people gaze at the usual salad table suspects, probably longing for something else. And most people adore baked macaroni, so this is perfect.
This is also good for vegetarians, and you can probably work out the gluten if there is a gluten free pasta you like. Sometimes I use rice macaroni noodles for gluten free, which there are many varieties and brands now. Time was, I could only pick that up in an Asian grocer.
I do hope you enjoy, and if your friends ask for the recipe, send them here to Palatable Pastime!
Broccoli Mac and Cheese Salad
- 2 cups dry macaroni or rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
- 2 cups small raw broccoli florets, blanched and shocked in cold water, then drained
- 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup half and half or milk
- 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions
- 1 ounces cubed cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- salt and black pepper
- Boil noodles and drain; place back in pan with butter, milk and shredded cheese and stir until cheese melts, turning heat back on low if needed.
- Blanch broccoli for one minute in boiling water then plunge into ice water and drain.
- Combine all ingredients and stir.
- Chill before serving. Salad can thicken up if chilled awhile (pasta absorbs liquid); if you need it thinner after chilling, stir in cold water in small amounts until a good consistency is achieved.
Makes 1 quart.
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