Not My Mama’s Macaroni Salad…or is it?

Continuing the spring/summer salad series, I decided to make a pasta salad.

When I was a child, my mother was always making two kinds of pasta salad (back then she called them macaroni salad). One had canned peas (yes, gag), celery (more gag), a little green onion and used elbow macaroni. The dressing was miracle whip based and I avoided this mixture like the plague. But, she made another one with shell macaroni that involved fresh diced tomatoes, sliced manzanilla olives, a little red onion and the dressing was mayo based. I loved this one.


what’s not to love about tomatoes and green olives?

Unfortunately I neglected to get the recipe from her before she passed, and while I have made similar salads, I have never been able to recreate her exact recipe. Finally I decided to just make my own creation and this is the result.


2 cups of dry israeli cous cous (also called pearl cous cous)

3 roma tomatoes, finely diced

1/2 cup of manzanilla olives, sliced

1 tbl roasted red pepper strips, finely diced

1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced

Dressing Ingredients

1/3 cup of mayonnaise, (I used Hellman’s)

1 tbl swedish mustard (I am seriously in love with this stuff)

1 tbl rice wine vinegar

1/2 tbl honey

salt & pepper to taste


Cook couscous according to package directions.


dry couscous

Rinse with cold water (to cool) and drain well.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients until blended.

Add vegetables to pasta and mix well.


sans dressing

Add dressing and stir until incorporated.



Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Somehow, despite not having her original recipe, I managed to make this taste almost EXACTLY like hers. I think I was channeling her when I made my choices for the dressing, heh.


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