I can’ express how much I love this pasta salad, and it can easily be made gluten-free by changing out the pasta. It’s my great Aunt Mae’s famous (within our family, at least) macaroni salad. Macaroni salad has always been a perfect dish for picnics or anytime during the spring and summer months. The delicious but pastime way of making macaroni salad was to add a little mayonnaise, a few onions, peppers, and call it a day. But, my aunt, Mae, wasn’t satisfied with that and came up with a different macaroni salad that is both sweet and savory. I changed it just a little by adding the bow-tie pasta instead of elbow macaroni.
I cooked the pasta to al dente because I like my pasta a little firm, but still cooked through. The onions and cucumbers omit such a fragrance that has my appetite soaring for this one. I prefer red onions, but Vidalia onions work wonderfully in this recipe to add a little extra heat. This recipe makes a lot of salad, but it tastes even better the next day after the dressing has soaked into the vegetables so believe me when I say none will go to waste. I’m not one who has to have vinegar in much of anything; I tend to keep away from it, altogether. But, the vinegar mixed with sugar in this recipe makes me rethink my aversion to the bitter and acidic condiment. While heating the vinegar and sugar, be sure to bring it to a boil for thinning and pour directly on the salad. The recipe calls for white vinegar, but I only had apple cider vinegar, which works just as well.
This bow-tie pasta salad is sweet, savory, vibrant, fragrant, delicious, low-fat, and so easy. If you try it, be sure to rate it, let me know, and tag #southerncooked on social media.
Sweet and Savory Bow-tie Pasta Salad
Yield 10 servings
A sweet and savory dish that is perfect for picnics or as a side dish.
- 2 small boxes bow-tie pasta
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 medium cucumbers, chopped
- 1 qt canned tomatoes, drained
- 1 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- Cook pasta according to directions on the box, rinse, and drain.
- Peel and chop onions and cucumbers and add to pasta along with tomatoes. Set aside.
- Heat sugar and vinegar over high heat and bring to a boil. Add to pasta mixture and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Keep refrigerated.
Variation: Chopped celery and green pepper may be added for more flavor and color. Elbow macaroni or any pasta can be used in place of bow-tie pasta.
Courses Side Dish
Serving Size 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Sodium 8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 60 g
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
Sugars 24.7 g
Protein 7.1 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.