Summer is here. So, I made the Filipino-style Macaroni Salad with Chicken and Pineapple. This was a staple at my aunt’s family reunions when we lived in Manila. I have always associated this sweet-savory pasta salad with Tita Pat, a favorite aunt. This cold salad is also a readers’ favorite here on my blog. Thus, I took new photos to share an updated version.
Summer means outdoor grilling. We pair this salad with Filipino-style pork or chicken barbecues. Our neighbors crane their necks to follow the aromas of what we’re grilling. This chilled salad goes well with most anything – like burgers or a rack of ribs. Or else fresh fish in banana leaves.
This Macaroni Salad, is Filipino-influenced, and thus it is more on the sweet side. Filipinos love sweet-tasting foods. There’s a long explanation as to how sugar became an extender in food in the early years of our history. But that’s another post for next time.
We needed comfort food today. This salad reminded me of my aunt and family get-togethers we had years ago in the Philippines. As I mixed the ingredients, the memories came back to me. I can still savor the sharp sweetness of Tita Pat’s salad. I still remember the tender chicken bits, the crunchy relish, the creamy mayo dressing that coated the firm, supple elbow macaroni noodles. But the best I remember was Tita Pat’s smile, calling us to the table, eager to feed us. And she would enthusiastically say out loud in Kapampangan, “Mangan, mangan!” It translates to ‘eat, eat’!. These are the food memories we hold dear in our hearts. When today’s rough times roll in, I bring those lovely times back with a large, chilled bowl of Macaroni Salad to soothe my family.
Macaroni Salad with Chicken and Pineapple
- 2 cups elbow macaroni pasta cooked according to box directions
- 2 cups finely chopped boiled chicken
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish bottled; drained
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup pineapple chunks, canned; drained
- 2-3 cups mayonnaise, use regular
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper powder
- fresh lettuce leaves for garnish
- Cook the elbow macaroni pasta in boiling water according to package directions. This takes approximately 11 minutes. When pasta is cooked, drain the liquid. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked macaroni pasta with the rest of the ingredients: chopped cooked chicken, celery, pickle relish, raisins, and pineapple.Add the mayonnaise and sour cream. Season with sugar, salt and white ground pepper powder. Mix everything well till mayonnaise coats the pasta and ingredients.Cover the macaroni salad and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours, or up to overnight.Serve chilled. Garnish with lettuce leaves lining the salad bowl.
- I have used leftover rotisserie chicken, chopped fine for this recipe if I am in a rush to make the salad and don't have time to boil the chicken.I use a food chopper or processor to chop the chicken and celery if I am in a hurry.Safety precautions: Dishes with mayonnaise dressing should not be left outdoors under the sun or heat for prolonged periods of time. When serving this salad outdoors, keep refrigerated, then serve and pass around during the meal. Cover and return to the refrigerator again.
- If I do not have leftover cooked chicken here's how to boil chicken: Boil ½ pound boneless chicken breast in 2 cups water, with a stalk of chopped celery, a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 40 minutes in a medium stock pot, over medium-high heat or till cooked thoroughly (no pink parts). When chicken is cooked, drain and chop fine. Keep the leftover broth in the refrigerator or freezer to use for soups or other dishes.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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