I’m so not a winter person – give me the beach and hot summer days anytime! The kids and I are spending as much time as we can outside right now, soaking up the sun, so easy prep-ahead meals like this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad are perfect for keeping in the fridge and enjoying cold – maybe while spread out on a picnic blanket in the backyard or as an easy side salad at a summer barbecue.
We didn’t see much of Hawaii past the beaches and hotel when I was a kid, but I’ve been longing to go back as an adult and experience all of the wonderful hidden food gems the Island is known for. Mom & pop joints and food trucks are where I’m going to head to really experience Hawaiian food culture – but for now, this salad is tiding me over.
This easy cold pasta salad recipe is fresh and slightly sweet, thanks to a hit of pineapple juice. Even when left to marinade overnight the vegetables stay crunchy – providing a great contrast to the soft, perfectly cooked noodles.
Of course, you can use any pasta to make this salad, and you can swap out the vegetables I’ve suggested here for ones your crew is more likely to eat. I added some leftover ham from our Honey-caramel ham recipe because that just seemed more authentically Hawaiian to me – well, maybe not as authentic as Spam but I’m not that brave! Chicken or even tofu would work well, too.
My kids devoured this salad and our pink pasta salad version at Ella’s Sleeping Beauty party was a hit with our grown-up guests, too!
How to Make Hawaiian Pasta Salad
First, gather your ingredients:
- 4 cups cooked pasta, prepared according to package directions
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
- 1-2 cup cubed cooked ham
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside while you whisk together the pineapple dressing.
Here is your free printable recipe:
Check out our other delicious salad recipes for more healthy options, like our mayo-free Caesar salad and our Sunshine bowl with quinoa and a poached egg on top!