Macaroni salad is one of those obligatory BBQ items that we all kind of like, but know it's not really worth the calories-to-taste ratio. As summer BBQs are becoming fewer with summer heading into fall, we start getting a little tired of the same old potluck items.
At least, we start getting tired of the unhealthful stuff that messes with all our hard summer training (minus wine/beer. Those are acceptable when the sun is shining and it's above 68 degrees). Enter: tofu. It took a big of tweeking, but using silken tofu over mayo means less fat and more protein. Keep the pasta to an organic whole grain and you can feel far less guilt at the last few get-togethers of the season!
Mayo-Less Macaroni Salad
4 cups elbow macaroni shells (usually about 2 boxes)
1 box silken firm tofu
2 T vinegar, ideally white wine. Apple Cider works well, too
1-2T spicy or dijion mustard
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 diced red or sweet onion
5 T fresh dill (or 2T dried)
2 T agave nectar or cane sugar
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt, black pepper
Chopped chives or green onion to garnish
Water or oil to thin
Cook noodles according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
Chop veggies and set aside.
Dressing: Toss silken tofu (no need to attempt draining like normal tofu), dill, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sugar, vinegar and 1 tablespoon mustard to a blender and blend until smooth and evenly combined.
Add water or oil in tablespoon amounts until desired consistency (somewhere between thick mess and runny)
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, such as the second tablespoon of mustard, more paprika, more salt, etc. These sorts of dressings are often about personal taste so seasoning amounts can drastically vary.
Toss drained noodles and veggies with the dressing in a large serving bowl. Chill for at least 1-2 hours before serving, allowing flavors to blend and settle in together. If yours turned out a bit runny, this will also give the tofu time to thicken up.