pot luck salad recipe – lose the fat & bring a Macaroni Salad

beat the heat with these recipes – you know my mantra by now – summer=easy dishes.   Healthier Macaroni Salad and  Zucchini stuffed with ground beef and rice – on the BBQ.

Love the classic macaroni salad recipe that your Mom used to make?  Scared by the amount of mayo in it?   Look no further – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  The first recipe is an update to an old favorite for picnics and summer barbecues.  What is a pot luck without a Classic Macaroni Salad?  What’s a tweaked macaroni salad taste like?  Delicious!  That’s  what!

But before we get to the recipe – just for fun I compared the nutritional breakdown of 2 cups of different types of mayonnaise.

*EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

“Real” Mayonnaise              Light  Mayo             Fat Free Mayo         EVOO 1/2 fat

cal                       2880                          1120                            358.4                          1600

Fat                       320 g                          112 g                           13.8 g                          160 g

Saturated Fat   4.8 g                          16 g                              2.6 g                           16 g

Cholesterol         160 mg                   128  mg                        51.2 mg                     160 mg

Sodium                 2880 mg                 4160 mg                     3840 mg                    3360 mg

Pretty darn scary eh?   The light mayo looks good – except for that sodium level! WOW! that is almost 3 X the amount of your recommended daily maximum sodium intake!  YIKES!

The 1/2 fat  EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) Mayannoinse may present the better choice for those of us that fight with high cholesterol.

Olive oil has long been thought to help maintain a healthy heart, but it is only recently that scientists have begun to understand why. This latest research is the clearest evidence yet that phenols in olive oil are responsible for these health benefits. Virgin olive oil contains the highest amount of phenols … states the SAGA, Healthy Living Site

*  Phenols are compounds that are believed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties, all known to benefit cardiovascular health.

My recipe below uses 3/4 cup EVOO mayo  but feel free to play with the ingredients to make it your own!  The lemon and dill make this recipe a winner – no worries about leftovers here!

Healthier Macaroni Salad 

a twist on the classic macaroni salad to lighten it up in taste and nutrition! Its also a great lunch with a cut up fresh tomato or other fresh veggies

2 cups uncooked pasta or your choice (we like mini shells)

1 quart fresh peas – shucked (removed from pod) OR about a cup of thawed frozen peas (not cooked)

3/4 c Light Sour cream(not fat free)

3/4 c 1/2 Fat EVOO mayo

1/4 c shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (or use cheddar or  marble)

4 fresh scallions chopped or 1/4 c  – red onion, green onion or white/yellow/sweet onion diced)

1 TB olive oil

1 large lemon

1 TB dill

salt & pepper to taste.

1/2-3/4 c leftover Chicken or Turkey chopped OR 1 can tuna packed in water drained and flaked OR  or chopped lean ham or crumbled bacon (peameal is a far better choice than regular bacon)

makes about 6 cups


Cook pasta according to directions, run under cold water until cooled.  Set aside.

Shuck peas.  Set aside.

In a large non-metallic* bowl, mix mayo, sour cream ( if you like less dressing reduce to 1/2 c of each), EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), the juice of the lemon, the dill and the salt and pepper.  To punch up the lemon – you can also add 1 tsp of lemon zest. Once mixed add cheese, the meat,  then peas (raw) and cooled pasta and fold in.  It may seem runny, once refrigerated this thickens up.  You can serve immediately or put in refrigerator for later.

* always use non-metallic bowls with working with foods with a high acid level such as lemons or other citrus fruit.

This recipe using 3/4 c of each sour cream and 1/2 fat EVOO mayo, left over white turkey breast meat and partly skim mozzarella cheese per cup is 308 calories, 16 g fat, 5.0 saturated fat, 34mg cholesterol, 478mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, 1.7g fiber, 5.7 g sugar and 12.2 gram of protein.

By substituting 1/2 of the light sour cream for 1/2 fat EVOO mayo you SAVE (per 1 cup serving):  360 calories, 45 g of fat and  1290 mg of sodium!  

Stuffed Zucchini on the Barbecue

1 LB ground beef (or substitute crumbled sausage meat (removed from casing))

1 cup rice (cooked)

1-2 tomatoes


3 garlic scapes – chopped

3 med – large zucchini’s – sliced in half lengthwise

1/4 c or so of the Joy of Pasta sauce

Fresh Basil – 3 large leaves crushed

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped or diced onion

2 TB parmesan cheese

optional – 1/4 cup diced peppers or other veggies (use colourful ones for presentation – try yellow squash!)

optional – extra garlic powder

Brown meat and mix with rest of ingredients.

After slicing the zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out some of the seeds/pulp out of the middle to create zucchini canoes.  Chop up the zucchini that you just removed and add the meat/rice mixture.

Lay foil out and spray with non stick spray – place zucchini boat on foil, add the “stuffing” to the middle of the zucchini’s (it will be overflowing) and then wrap tightly with more foil.

Cook on top rack of barbeque for about 40 min on 400 degrees (or use oven).


Makes  6 servings of ½ a zucchini boat each.  Serve with a nice glass of white wine, a salad or grilled vegetables  and grilled peaches drizzled in balsamic vinegar for a  lovely summer evening meal!

Nutritional break out per 1/2 a zucchini boat Calories: 226.7, Fat9.4 g , Saturated Fat 3.7g , Cholesterol 77.9mg , Sodium 128.1mg

Until next time – Happy & Healthy Eating!

want more pot luck salad recipes?  Click here.


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