Avocado and Bacon Macaroni Salad
Avocado and Bacon Macaroni Salad
Rating: (1 rated)
Recipe Yield: Serves 8 to 12

For the croutons and macaroni:
4 to 5 (1/4-inch-thick) slices whole-grain bread
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the pasta:
2 quarts water
2 to 3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces elbow macaroni

For the dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 to 2 pinches red chile flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

To finish:
3 avocados, pitted and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
6 thick-cut bacon slices, cooked and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
Olive oil or lemon oil (optional)

Make the croutons: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F.

Cut the bread slices into 1/4-inch cubes (you want the croutons to be smaller)
and place in a small bowl. Add the chile flakes, lemon zest, and salt. Pour the butter into the bowl and toss until completely coated.

Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until golden-brown and crispy, stirring halfway through to ensure even browning, 10 to 12 minutes. Watch carefully so the croutons do not burn.

Cook the pasta: Bring the water to a rolling boil in a large pot over high heat. Season with the salt and oil. Add the macaroni and let the water return to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and cover, leaving it slightly cracked to release the steam. Cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain in a colander and let cool to room temperature in the colander. Meanwhile, make the dressing.

Make the dressing: Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl, season with pepper, and whisk until creamy and smooth.

Transfer the cooled macaroni to a large bowl. Add the avocado, bacon, and onion. Pour the dressing over top and gently fold together until all the ingredients are combined.

Transfer the salad to a large serving bowl or platter. Pile the croutons on top. Lightly drizzle with olive oil or lemon oil to finish, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: The salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Make ahead: The dressing, macaroni, and bacon can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. The croutons can be made and stored in an airtight contai
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