Enjoy classic bacon mac and cheese flavor in a cool summer salad with this simple recipe from Cabot. You can let everyone personalize each portion by serving it with small bowls of fresh salad toppings – green onions, Italian parsley, fresh basil, raw fresh corn kernels, diced tomatoes, diced bell peppers and sliced romaine lettuce. This is a cool way to savor the flavor of macaroni and cheese on a sizzling summer day. It even comes with the requisite crispy crumb topping. The basic recipe will appeal to everyone, but it's fun to add small bowls of our suggested “extras” to customize each serving. Get more mac and cheese makeovers today!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs
12 slices flavorful smoked bacon
3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
½ cup Cabot Lowfat Plain Greek Yogurt or Cabot Plain Greek Yogurt
¼ cup mayonnaise
8 ounces Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar or Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups), plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 medium clove garlic, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
OPTIONS: sliced green onions, chopped Italian parsley, slivered fresh basil, raw fresh corn kernels, diced fresh tomatoes, diced bell peppers, thinly sliced romaine lettuce
HEAT oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir and shake in pan until golden, about 1 ½ minutes; immediately scrape into small bowl and set aside.
ADD bacon to skillet and cook until crisp; transfer to paper towels to drain, then crumble or chop and set aside.
PREPARE in large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni according to package directions until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
COMBINE yogurt and mayonnaise in blender; add cheddar, vinegar, hot sauce, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper; blend until the consistency of mayonnaise and nearly smooth, stirring and scraping down side of container as needed to help ingredients “liquefy”. (Salad may be prepared ahead up to this point: refrigerate dressing and other ingredients separately, combining just before serving.)
TOSS together in a large bowl macaroni, cheddar dressing and reserved bacon in large bowl, mixing well. Serve topped with additional cheese and reserved toasted breadcrumbs. Surround with bowls of optional extras as desired.
I made 2x the dressing because I know how pasta soaks up the dressing—had ample leftover but better more than not enough. I added chopped fresh jalapeño to the green bell pepper. My family loved that we could mix whatever veggies we wanted. We will definitely have this again!
Ok, I didn’t follow directions and used plain cheddar cheese. It did not taste cheesy at all, and had a strong vinegar taste. I think I might experiment more with this recipe. I was thinking of a more creamy, cheesy sauce. It just was not what I expected.
Fabulous; easy to make; everyone loved it.
There is not enough liquid in this recipe to get the consistency of mayonnaise after adding cheese. I recommend a food processor and 1/2-3/4 cup milk,half and half, or stock to bring this together.
We enjoyed the recipe after tweaking.
Thanks so much for the info!