Classic Southern Macaroni Salad Recipe loaded with fresh crunchy celery, crisp red onion, tender sweet peas and cubes of sharp cheddar cheese all wrapped up in a tangy homemade dressing.
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 cup frozen peas
½ small red onion diced
2 ribs celery diced
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup mayonnaise (plus ¼ cup more if needed for desired consistency)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, diced
2 large eggs hard boiled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the macaroni. Cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes adding the peas for the last minute of cooking. Drain the macaroni and peas in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain briefly, but leave enough water so the macaroni is still moist. Transfer the macaroni and peas back into the large pot.
Add the onion and celery to the macaroni. Combine the vinegar, mustard and cayenne in a small measuring cup and pour over the macaroni. Toss gently to combine. Leave the mixture to marinate for a few minutes so the macaroni absorbs the flavors.
Add the mayonnaise to the macaroni and stir gently using a rubber spatula to combine. Gently fold in the cheese and eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a covered container. Refrigerate until ready to serve. May be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold.