It’s backyard grilling season and I’ve always prided myself on delivering some unique side dish options for cookouts. This Bacon Macaroni Salad is really quick to throw together, packed with flavor and has a unique ingredient: Charred Spring Onions!
Betsy and I live near one of the larger parks in Denver, and each year we have dreams and plans to have “park days” a few times a month where we just hang out in a shady spot, fill a cooler with drinks and invite friends and play all day.
I think we end up doing it about once a month because we have little kids and it was a lot easier don’t plan things.
But when we have park days it’s always a good idea to have a great side salad to accompany the grilled dishes. So you better believe I bring big containers of salads like this Macaroni Salad with Charred Spring Onions and Bacon.
What makes a good macaroni salad
My nightmare when it comes to pasta salads is the kind you find in deli departments that are swimming pools with mayo and dressing. The purpose of a good dressing is simply to hold everything together. This recipe has the right amount. No more and no less. It also has charred scallions, which you might not have known was something, but it is SO a thing.
Another thing that can make or break your bacon and macaroni salad is how you cook the pasta. If you overcook the pasta, it will become very mushy and won’t keep well. A perfect one al dente Pasta is the key to a good pasta salad.
When it comes to what type of pasta to use, elbow macaroni pasta is the standard, but it’s far from the rule. Any smaller extruded pasta works well!
Boil the bacon for this salad
You can cook the bacon however you like for this recipe. I like to bake mine with some foil underneath for easier cleanup and because it makes it easier to pour off the bacon grease that we’ll be using because it’s delicious.
Bake your bacon until really crispy, probably about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Be sure to rotate your pan if your oven is cooking a little unevenly, like mine does.
Be sure to save some bacon fat, which adds great flavor to the charred green onions!
The charred spring onions
These guys bring the taste. It’s crazy how addictive they are. Clean the spring onions well and cut off the roots. Dry them and toss them with some reserved bacon fat and kosher salt.
Blast this under your grill for 2-3 minutes. They cook very quickly, so keep a close eye on them. Depending on the strength of your broiler, they may take a minute on each side. So watch them closely while they cook.
They’re done when they’re smoked and partially charred. They will still be a little crispy in places, which is nice.
The macaroni salad dressing
I can’t stand overdone pasta salads. That’s just enough to hold everything together. You can always double it if you want more dressing, but it’s the right amount in my opinion.
Simply stir together the mayo, vinegar (you can substitute apple cider vinegar for the rice vinegar), mustard, and hot sauce.
Then throw in your cooked and rinsed macaroni. Each piece should be lightly coated.
Then stir in your chopped crispy bacon and scallions in a large bowl.
Try the bacon and macaroni salad and season with salt and pepper. It shouldn’t need a lot of extra seasoning, but maybe a little sprinkling of both.
Enjoy a few park days this spring, everyone!
Easy substitute for this Bacon Macaroni Salad
There are so many substitutions beyond just using different noodles. Here are some ideas!
- Boost the veggies in the macaroni salad with celery, diced tomatoes, crispy broccoli, or even diced cucumbers!
- Make a creamy dressing by adding some more mayonnaise and some Greek yogurt to the dressing.
- Substitute a rotisserie chicken in place of bacon for an easy protein boost for the salad.
- cheese it up! Add some diced sharp cheddar or Havarti cheese.
My Bacon Macaroni Salad Recipe
Macaroni salad with charred green onions and bacon
Your new favorite macaroni salad, just in time for picnics and outdoor parties. Green onions, bacon and dressing!
- 12 oz. Elbow Macaroni Cooked al dente
- 8th oz. bacon baked
- 2 Grapes spring onions
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat or olive oil
- ⅔ Cup mayonnaise
- ¼ Cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teas hot sauce
- salt and pepper taste good
Bake bacon at 350 degrees F. on a foil-lined baking sheet until very crisp, about 18-20 minutes. Drain bacon fat, but reserve 1 tablespoon. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water.
When the bacon is done cooking, prepare your scallions by cutting off the root ends and washing them well. Dry scallions and toss with reserved bacon fat and a large sprinkling of kosher salt. Spread spring onions on a baking sheet. Heat oven for grilling.
Grill the spring onions until charred in spots, about 2 minutes. Rotate the pan if necessary. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn completely. Depending on your broiler, you may need slightly longer or shorter.
Leave the scallions to cool. Meanwhile, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, mustard, and hot sauce. Stir in cooked macaroni to coat with dressing.
Roughly chop the bacon and spring onions and stir into the macaroni salad. Season with salt and pepper. Chill the salad until ready to serve.
Leftovers keep well for 3-4 days and then the spring onions will become too wilted.
Calories: 564kcalCarbohydrates: 44GProtein: 13GFat: 37GSaturated Fatty Acids: 8thGPolyunsaturated fat: 14GMonounsaturated fatty acids: 13GTrans fats: 0.1GCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 652mgPotassium: 233mgFiber: 2GSugar: 2GVitamin A: 113ieVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg
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