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Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

by Chef Gabby
Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

The aroma of homemade Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad takes me on an enchanting, adventure-filled journey to my childhood memories and my family’s ancestral roots. This delightful dish has always been a staple in our household and is synonymous with festive occasions, milestones, and the warm, nurturing presence of my close-knit family. Today, I am incredibly thrilled to share with you my family’s treasured recipe for this luscious, colorful salad, which is a delightful fusion of tender chicken chunks, al dente macaroni, fresh vegetables, and a generous dollop of creamy, zesty dressing.

How to make Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad

Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad is a popular dish in the Philippines, often served during special occasions and celebrations such as birthdays, holidays, and family gatherings. It’s a unique and delightful variation of the traditional macaroni salad, incorporating a mix of sweet and savory flavors.

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, finely grated
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the Chicken: Start by boiling the chicken breasts in a pot with enough water to cover them. Cook them for roughly 20 minutes or until they’re no longer pink in the center. Once cooked, set them aside to cool, then shred the chicken.
  2. Prepare the Macaroni: While your chicken is cooling, cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and let it cool.
  3. Combine the Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, cooled macaroni, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, chopped onion, and grated carrot.
  4. Add the Cheese and Pineapple: Gently fold in the pineapple tidbits and shredded cheese into the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chill: Cover the salad and refrigerate it for at least an hour. This dish is best served chilled, allowing all the flavors to marry together.

Tips

  • Quality of Ingredients: Use high-quality mayonnaise for a thicker and creamier texture.
  • Cooking the Chicken: Simplify the process by using leftover roast or rotisserie chicken.
  • Salad Dressing: Adjust the amount of mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish according to your preference. Some like it creamier, while others like it tangier.
  • Additional Ingredients: Feel free to toss in some boiled eggs or ham for added flavor and protein.
  • Serving: Filipino Chicken Macaroni salad is best served cold. Allow it to chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving to let all the flavors meld together.

What to serve with

Whether it’s a hearty family dinner, a summer barbecue, or a festive celebration, this vibrant salad has the power to enhance any meal it accompanies.

  • Barbecued/Grilled Meats: Chicken Macaroni Salad makes the perfect accompaniment for grilled meats because its creamy, tangy flavor perfectly offsets the smoky char from the barbecue. Consider serving it alongside classic barbecue chicken, grilled pork chops, or even flame-grilled fish.
  • Pan De Sal: The classic Filipino sweet bread roll called ‘Pan De Sal’ brilliantly complements this salad. The slightly sweet and fluffy texture of the rolls pairs excellently with the creamy, savory characteristics of the salad. It also makes a satisfying breakfast combination in many Filipino households!
  • Fried or Grilled Seafood: Seafood, especially fried calamari or grilled shrimps, goes exceptionally well with the Chicken Macaroni Salad. The zingy, creamy salad adds extra oomph to the seafood, creating a delightful meal.
  • Roasted Dishes: Roasted dishes like Lechon (roasted pig) or roasted chicken are common Filipino fares that pair wonderfully with Chicken Macaroni Salad. The salad’s creaminess and tang add a wonderful contrast to the delicious, juicy, roasted meats.
  • Standalone Light Meal: The Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad can also be a standalone light meal due to its balanced combination of macaroni, vegetables, and chicken. This makes it an excellent choice for a light lunch or even dinner.
  • Dessert: If you are planning a traditional Filipino meal, why not pair the Chicken Macaroni Salad with a classic Filipino dessert? The comforting, creamy halo-halo or leche flan can complement the salad to round off your meal perfectly.

FAQ

What is the origin of Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad?

Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad has its roots in traditional Filipino cuisine, which is a blend of indigenous, Spanish, Chinese, and American influences. Including ingredients like pineapple, mayonnaise, and sweet pickle relish shows the mix of these culinary influences. The dish became particularly popular during festive occasions and family gatherings and continues to be a favorite among Filipinos and food lovers around the world.

Is it possible to make a vegetarian version of Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad?

Yes, a vegetarian version of Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad is possible! For a delicious vegetarian Filipino salad, simply omit the chicken and replace it with your preferred protein source like tofu, tempeh, or chickpeas. You can also add more vegetables like chopped bell peppers, peas, corn, or celery to make the dish even more nutritious and colorful!

Can I prepare Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad in advance?

Absolutely! Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad tastes even better after it has had time to chill in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to meld together. You can make the salad a day in advance and store it in the fridge, covered, to let it chill and have the ingredients absorb the flavors even more.

How long can Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad last in the refrigerator?

Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad can last 3-5 days in the refrigerator when stored properly in an airtight container. To maintain its freshness and quality, ensure all the ingredients are fresh when you prepare the salad and always use clean utensils when handling it.

Can I freeze Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad?

Although it’s possible to freeze the salad, it’s not recommended, as the texture and quality may suffer when thawed. Freezing the salad may cause the macaroni to become mushy, while the mayonnaise-based dressing can separate when thawed, leading to a less-than-ideal texture and appearance. It’s best to prepare the salad a day or two in advance and store it in the refrigerator for optimal freshness and quality.

Final Thoughts

Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad is more than just a delightful recipe with a burst of flavors and a harmony of different textures. It embodies the very essence of Filipino heritage and serves as a symbol of family traditions and togetherness. The recipe is easy to make, perfect for every occasion, and customizable to suit your taste preference.

More Chicken Recipes:

Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 435 calories 22 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, finely grated
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the Chicken: Start by boiling the chicken breasts in a pot with enough water to cover them. Cook them for roughly 20 minutes or until they're no longer pink in the center. Once cooked, set them aside to cool, then shred the chicken.
  2. Prepare the Macaroni: While your chicken is cooling, cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and let it cool.
  3. Combine the Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, cooled macaroni, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, chopped onion, and grated carrot.
  4. Add the Cheese and Pineapple: Gently fold in the pineapple tidbits and shredded cheese into the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chill: Cover the salad and refrigerate it for at least an hour. This dish is best served chilled, allowing all the flavors to marry together.

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