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Bacon Balsamic Macaroni Salad

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Crisp bacon pieces strewn throughout this delectable, creamy bacon balsamic macaroni salad; loaded with crunchy celery, bright red grape tomatoes, sharp cheddar cheese and topped with a mouthwatering and tangy creamy balsamic ranch dressing.

You read that right….BACON Balsamic Macaroni Salad!! 

Bacon! People go nuts with bacon! Why is that? Perhaps it’s the crispy, salty nature of a slice of bacon, or the heavenly aroma wafting up to your bedroom tickling your nose and beckoning you to come downstairs on a sleepy Saturday morning, whatever it is, it works!

If you adore bacon, like we do, try this delicious Bacon Minestrone Soup or Best Ever Cowboy Baked Beans that are topped with, you guessed it BACON!

white porcelain bowl of bacon balsamic macaroni salad with red tomatoes, green onions and crisp celery and bacon | thefreshcooky.com

I’m not a huge pork fan and yet I L.O.V.E crispy bacon! Can’t be limp or undercooked, no siree, has to be cooked crisp and crunchy! Heck, I know several vegetarians who say they have one exception; BACON!! That cracks me up!

This recipe is from my dear friend, fellow blogger and cookbook author, Eliza! When she posted this recipe from her latest cookbook, Bacon, Beans and Beer I knew I had to try it. I’m not a big fan of your standard over mayo’d up macaroni salad — this is quite the opposite, lighter and fresher and in case I didn’t mention it — it has BACON!

HOW TO MAKE BACON BALSAMIC MACARONI SALAD

Gather your simple ingredients. Hollywood Safflower Mayo just happens to be the mayo I grew up on, I’ve never been satisfied with other mayos, give it a try! I find it at our local grocery store in the natural section.

Basic ingredients for balsamic dressing, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, ranch dressing ready to measure. thefreshcooky.com

Add several teaspoons of salt to your boiling water. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse well with cold water.

While your pasta is cooking; chop your celery, green onions and halve your grape tomatoes (or a large tomato, chopped). Hold off on the bacon and and cheese, you’ll add those after it’s chilled out a few hours.

Class bowl filled with crisp celery, bright red cherry tomatoes, slivers of green onions atop fresh cooked elbow macaroni | thefreshcooky.com

Grab a small mixing bowl, combine your dressing ingredients and gently whisk until combined and smooth.

balsamic dressing mixture with a whisk in a glass bowl ready to whip into a lovely, creamy balsamic dressing | thefreshcooky.com

Pour it over your pasta and veggies…

…mix gently coating everything.

 gigantic spoon of creamy balsamic pasta salad | thefreshcooky.com

Now, cover and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or even overnight. Time is your friend with this dish.

While your pasta salad is handing out, cook your bacon — I love using my cast iron griddle.

 frying up crisp bacon close up | thefreshcooky.com

Just before serving add your cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and if desired chop a little fresh tarragon and mix to combine.

Garnish with fresh chopped onions and a sprig of tarragon if desired. I think tarragon is a highly undervalued herb; highly aromatic, sporting a taste somewhat similar and yet so different than anise. Try it on your cooked carrots sometime…be still my pulsating palate!

bowl of bacon balsamic macaroni salad with bits of crisp bacon, crisp green onion slices, elbow macaronis covered in a creamy balsamic dressing. thefreshcooky.com

This dish tastes even better the second day! It’s delicious and pairs perfectly with Hanneman’s Flank Steak or Summertime Kebab’s.

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This amazing recipe has been slightly adapted from my friend Eliza’s Bacon, Beans and Beer Cookbook!

Try these other Summertime recipes:

Happily sharing this week on Meal Plan Monday and Weekend Potluck!

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Yield: 8-12 servings

Bacon Balsamic Macaroni Salad

Bacon Balsamic Macaroni Salad

Crisp bacon pieces strewn throughout this delectable, creamy bacon balsamic macaroni salad that is loaded with crunchy celery, bright red grape tomatoes, sharp cheddar cheese and topped with a mouthwatering creamy balsamic ranch dressing.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and halved (sub. with 1 large tomato, chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped (reserve a few as a garnish)
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped (optional) (1/2- 1 tsp dried may be substituted)

DRESSING

  • 1 cup good quality mayonnaise (I love Chosen Foods Avocado mayo)
  • 1/4 cup prepared ranch dressing
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

YUMMY MIX-INS

  • 1 lb crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Garnish with a few chopped green onions and a sprig of fresh tarragon (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package instructions, be sure to add a couple teaspoons of salt to the boiling water.
  2. While pasta is boiling, chop your tomatoes, celery, and green onions. Once the pasta is done, drain in a colander and rinse well under COLD water. Place cooked and drained pasta in a large bowl, mix in chopped tomatoes, onions, and celery.

DRESSING

  1. In a small mixing bowl combine your mayonnaise, ranch dressing, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk well until combined and smooth. Pour dressing over pasta and stir gently to coat.
  2. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, up to overnight (or longer if needed). When ready to serve, add your crumbled crispy bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and optional fresh or dried tarragon. Stir to combine. Garnish with sprig of tarragon (or basil) and a few chopped green onions.
  3. Tastes delicious after a couple of days as well. Keep covered and refrigerated, lasts up to 5-7 days in the fridge.

Notes

This recipe slightly adapted from the original at Happy Simple Living.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 469Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 568mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

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Jennifer Stewart

Tuesday 4th of August 2020

As if I needed another reason to love macaroni salad any more than I already do, you come along with this fabulous recipe!

Kathleen

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

Sorry...not sorry! I love the balsamic, adds a nutty flavor!

MICHAELA KENKEL

Monday 3rd of August 2020

You just rocked my pasta salad world! this is SO GOOD!! Perfect addition to our cookout yesterday! Thank you!!

Kathleen

Monday 3rd of August 2020

Love it, thank you so much Michaela, it's a favorite of ours too!

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