Marty’s Memorial Day macaroni salad (recipe) |

Marty’s Memorial Day macaroni salad (recipe)

Marty's macaroni salad is kind of like antipasto meets pasta resulting in a lifelong friendship.
Courtesy Simone Grandmain |

As a rule, I try to avoid getting recipes from chefs. This is not because I don’t want them — I do, I do! It is because inevitably they will either leave out an entire step in the process, assuming I, of course, know it (It is so obvious!) or they will use words like “chiffonade” (a fancy way to cut spinach), which leaves me excusing myself to the restroom so I can Google it on my phone.

I had to have Marty’s macaroni salad recipe however. Just had to. I didn’t care if he was once the chef for President Bush or considers The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, and Seascapes in Kennebunkport, Maine, his culinary stomping grounds — I had to have it.

I grew up in Hawaii where the classic mac salad consisted of macaroni, lots of mayonnaise, salt and maybe two or three peas. I thought Marty was going to weep when he heard this.

Maybe that is why he was so forthcoming with this beauty of a recipe — he wanted to break the cycle of mac salad abuse. You’ll notice the ingredients for his balsamic dressing are ample, but you will be thankful to have a supply on hand in the summer salad months to come.

Marty’s Memorial Day macaroni salad

Mac salad ingredients

1 16-ounce pack elbow macaroni


Olive oil

1/4 cup chopped pepperoncini

1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomato

1 cup spinach, chopped

4 ounces salami or pepperoni, chopped

4 ounces ham, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Pesto mayo dressing ingredients

2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup pesto

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt to taste

Marty’s balsamic vinaigrette ingredients

3 cups balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

1-1/2 cups olive oil

Topping ingredients

3 ounces crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons chopped green onions


Salt and oil pasta water (amount of water per macaroni package directions) and bring to vigorous boil. Add macaroni and stir for the first minute. Then cook until al dente, strain well and let cool.

In large mixing bowl, combine all macaroni salad ingredients, adding the cooled pasta at the end. In small mixing bowl, combine pesto mayonnaise dressing ingredients. Pour this onto macaroni salad and mix thoroughly.

Now make balsamic vinaigrette by blending together, at medium speed, all Marty’s balsamic dressing ingredients, except the olive oil. Once the ingredients are blended, slowly add the olive oil, blending on lower speed.

Lastly, put your salad in potluck picnic-style serving dish. Drizzle with Marty’s balsamic and top with feta and green onions. Enjoy.

Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee home. She welcomes your favorite family recipes and the story behind them at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User