Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

This creamy island inspired Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is the perfect high protein side dish. Crunchy, sweet, and slightly tangy, this low-fat pasta salad will give you major island fever and leave you wanting more.
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Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad perfect for hot summer days.
  • Light, refreshing, and bursting with island flavors.
  • Great for meal prep, bbq’s and large families.
  • Using chickpea noodles makes this high protein and naturally gluten-free. 

I used to go to Hawaii often for work and want to know the one thing I looked most forward to? Was it the beaches? The sun? The laid back attitude? No! It was the Hawaiian macaroni salad. Each restaurant puts their own unique twist on their version and I loved how each meal came with a little side of it. I taste tested dozens of macaroni salads and I knew I had to recreate my own while still being faithful to the classic salad I fell in love with. 

What I came up with is what island dreams are made of. Light, crispy and refreshing, it has the perfect crunch from fresh veggies and is tossed in a slightly sweet and tangy yogurt based dressing. Ridiculously easy to make and uses chickpea noodles, non-fat yogurt and light mayo to make this high protein low-fat salad not just amazingly delicious, but also healthy. So, grab your fork, your lai, and your appetite because this will transport you to the islands.

What are chickpea noodles?

Chickpea noodles are exactly how they sound. Noodles made from chickpeas. They are a great alternative to white pasta because they are high in fiber, protein and iron and are naturally gluten-free. You can sub out chickpea noodles for most pasta dishes, just know the cooking times for chickpea pasta is different. Texturally, chickpeas noodles can sometimes be softer than white pasta so be careful not to overcook them.

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For the Hawaiian macaroni salad I used Banza chickpea noodles as those are my go-to chickpea pasta alternative. The creamy, tangy Hawaiian dressing and crunchy veggies ensure you will not be bale to tell any difference in these noodles, I promise!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad-43

Is this gluten and dairy free?

If using chickpea noodles then the Hawaiian macaroni salad is gluten-free. However, because of the yogurt and mayo, it is not dairy-free. You can always sub out the yogurt with favorite non-dairy alternative. Forager makes a great dairy-free Greek Yogurt and I personally love Chosen Foods and Primal Kitchen mayo. 

Can I make this ahead of time?

The Hawaiian macaroni salad should be made at least an hour before serving time to allow it to chill in the fridge. You want this to be served cold for the best taste. It can be stored and used for meal prep or leftovers for up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Ingredients and Substitutes:

These are the main ingredients and substitutions. See recipe card below for full ingredients list and instructions for this Hawaiian macaroni salad recipe.

Chickpea Pasta: this recipe is high in protein due to the use of chickpea pasta which is much higher than typical noodles. You can use any other type of noodle but note the protein may be lower. 

Pineapple: this really sweetens up the salad and I would recommend keeping it in the recipe.

Veggies: we are using red bell pepper, celery, red onion and green onions. 

Greek Yogurt: I am using Fage non-fat plain Greek yogurt. Use any you prefer but I find Fage to be the best.

Mayonnaise: I used light mayo to keep the fat lower but you can use full-fat if you prefer or a dairy free alternative like Primal Kitchen mayo. 

Honey: adds an extra touch of sweet. 

Apple Cider Vinegar: helps counter the tang in the Greek yogurt. 

How to make Hawaiian macaroni salad:

Cook the pasta

First, cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and fill the pot with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta. Set aside.

Prepare the dressing

In a small mixing bowl, combine the non-fat Greek yogurt, light mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Mix well until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble your salad

Then, add the cooled macaroni, pineapple tidbits, red bell pepper, celery, red onion and green onions to a large mixing bowl. Top with the yogurt dressing and gently fold the ingredients together, ensuring that the macaroni and other ingredients are evenly coated with the yogurt dressing.

Refrigerate

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled. This allows the flavors to meld together.

Stir and serve!

Before serving, give the salad a quick stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional green onions, cilantro or even shredded coconut, if desired.

What to serve with this salad

The Hawaiian macaroni salad is a great side dish to a main protein. I make mine with my grilled teriyaki chicken for bbq’s and it’s a family favorite. It’s great with sandwiches too!

Serving notes!

This recipe makes a total of 8 servings weighing approximately 135g each. 

If you like this recipe be sure to check out some of our other easy summer recipes!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

This creamy island inspired Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is the perfect high protein side dish. Crunchy, sweet, and slightly tangy, this low-fat pasta salad will give you major island fever and leave you wanting more.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Salad, Side Dish
Servings 8 servings
Calories 146 kcal

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Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz chickpea macaroni noodles Banza
  • 8 oz can pineapple tidbits drained
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 2 green onions chopped

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt 112g
  • 1/4 cup light mayonaise 60g
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • First, cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and fill the pot with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta. Set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the non-fat Greek yogurt, light mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Mix well until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Then, add the cooled macaroni, pineapple tidbits, red bell pepper, celery, red onion and green onions to a large mixing bowl. 
  • Top with the yogurt dressing and gently fold the ingredients together, ensuring that the macaroni and other ingredients are evenly coated with the yogurt dressing.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled. This allows the flavors to meld together.
  • Before serving, give the salad a quick stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional green onions, cilantro or even shredded coconut, if desired.

Notes

All nutrition facts are an estimate. 
  • Chickpea noodles make this high in protein and gluten-free. Subbing them out will change protein amount. 
  • Sub out Greek yogurt and mayo for non-dairy alternative to make this dairy-free.
  • Refrigerate for an hour before serving. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. 

Nutrition

Serving: 135gramsCalories: 146kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 7gFat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 78mgPotassium: 363mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Tastes great, even with the chickpea pasta where I struggle a little with texture. (I’m more a fan of whole wheat pastas.) More filling that it seems it would be. Pairs great with teriyaki chicken to an added protein boost. Loved it!

  2. 5 stars
    I made the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad for a 4th of July bbq. I did use regular pasta and made a pound, so I doubled the recipe. Everyone complimented how good it was! I will definitely be making it again but want to use the Banza pasta.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this to pair with pulled pork sandwiches. My family loved it! The texture and flavors are great. I loved how easy it was to make. Definitely add this to your next bbq!

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