I love Japanese macaroni and potato salad. I love the sweetness of Japanese mayo, but I understand that for others it is overly sweet and cloying. Recently, I made a pasta salad that combined the two, because I did not have enough American mayo and I had a ton of leftover Japanese mayo from my foray with mentaiko.
After several heavy, greasy meals, my friends and I struck upon the idea of cold salad and I had my eye on Simply Recipes’ “lighter” macaroni salad. Although she uses a “generous” amount of mayo, it still pales against what some of the other recipes call for. It does not show up in the picture, but it is a pretty salad. The Japanese mayo has a slight orange-y tinge and it’s rather colorful with the green of the onions, yellow and red of the pepper, and stark white of the chopped egg.
We threw together a dinner of cheese, crackers, a chopped salad, and pasta salad with white wine, and finished with cherries. It was very delicious!
Easiest Light Pasta Salad
ADAPTED from Simply Recipes
NOTES: This is a super easy recipe if you have jarred roasted peppers, but it’s pretty simple to roast a pepper. You can do it in the oven or on the stove, but it’s a lot faster on the stove.
2 cups (about 1/2 lb) dry short pasta
1 hard boiled egg
1 roasted red or yellow pepper, or combination, you can reserve the rest for a sandwich or for snacking
1/4 cup chopped green onion or scallion
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (I used slightly less than 1/3 cup and used a combination of tangy American mayo and sweeter Japanese mayo)
Several pinches of paprika
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Roast the pepper. I used half a red and half a yellow, and I set it directly on the burner and stand over the stove with a pair of tongs. I rotate the pepper every 30 seconds to a minute until I have a nice even char. Then you can let them steam their skins off in a folded over paper bag or a sealed plastic container. Once the peppers have cooled for 5 to 10 minutes, remove the skins. They should rub off and finely chop them, discarding the stem and seeds.
Boil the egg. I like to start off the egg in cold water, raise it to a rolling boil for a minute, and then cover and let it sit in the hot water for eight or nine minutes. The egg yolk with by fully cooked but still moist. Cool completely in water before removing the shell and dicing.
Cook pasta, as directed on its package, in salted water. When cooked through, but still slightly firm (al dente) remove from heat, drain and rinse with cool water until room temperature.
While macaroni is cooking, put chopped onions into a small bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice or vinegar over them. This will serve to take the edge off the onions.
Combine cooked pasta, onions, and all other ingredients in a large serving bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste.