Even the smallest available pack of macaroni salad in the groceries can yield so much to satisfy a person’s craving. Those who love pasta reach their limit on carbohydrate intake. There are a lot of other dishes you can do with leftover pasta, so it’s a good idea to freeze them after for future use.
Freezing macaroni salad is possible using tricks and considerations before even preparing the dish. Macaroni salad, when already mixed with the dressing is not advisable to be frozen since it cannot retain the taste and quality. It is best to separately freeze the dressing and pasta. The mayonnaise in the dressing tends to change consistency and affects the taste of the salad. To preserve the flavor of a macaroni salad, each ingredient must be kept in the freezer individually.
The macaroni pasta itself must be cooked al dente, firm enough to hold its shape. Freezing soggy pasta must be avoided since too much water content holds moisture. Excess moisture encourages bacterial growth and decreases the effects of taste of other ingredients.
Separately freezing the pasta from the dressing adds more flexibility for future use. In case you decided to add additional ingredients later on, it will not overpower the flavor of the pasta itself.
After cooking the pasta, immediately place it under running water or soak it in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.
Have separate plastic containers with air tight lids for storing each individual ingredient of your macaroni salad. You can also use zip lock plastic bags to save space.
Nutritional contents of the pasta and the ingredients will not be reduced when frozen. Make sure that you buy good quality pasta, which is usually made from Durum or Semolina.
Thaw macaroni salad in the fridge at least three hours before mixing the ingredients. Slow thawing is important to prevent excess water content to immediately come out of your pasta. Otherwise, you will be dealing with soggy pasta.
How to Freeze Macaroni Salad
Having in mind that leftovers is inevitable, place your macaroni salad ingredients in their individual containers. Prepare your salad based on your estimated consumption. Anyway, it’s easy to do a refill when somebody wants some extra.
- Make sure that the pasta is already cold before placing it in separate container. You do not want that steam forming water bubbles on the cover of the container since this will become moist. Moist provides favorable growth for bacteria.
- Have all possible ingredients you want to mix with your salad. Be it vegetables, chicken meat or ham.
- For vegetables, place them in a plastic zip lock and squeeze out excess air before placing them in the fridge. If possible, blanch the veggies before freezing them.
- Have your dressing mixed. A basic macaroni salad requires mayonnaise. Mustard and ground pepper can also be added. Place your pre-mixed dressing in a squeeze tube before placing it in the fridge.
Macaroni Salad Recipes
Chicken Macaroni Salad
For protein, adding chicken strips to macaroni salad will make it more filling. This recipe is usually served as an appetizer.
Sweet Macaroni Salad
If you opt to have the macaroni salad as dessert, adding fruits will do the trick. This recipe needs some canned fruits for added sweetness and finely diced cheese for a hint of saltiness.
Potato Macaroni Salad
Potatoes can also be added to macaroni especially if you want to have other texture in the dish. Just be cautious of the proportions of these two ingredients since both are carbohydrates.