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This easy summer Pasta Salad with Shredded Carrots and a light, paprika-spiked lemon and mayonnaise sauce is a family favorite, filled with all the flavors of summer at grandma’s. This foolproof macaroni salad is also great for making ahead, so it will quickly become your go-to recipe for potlucks, barbecues and family gatherings.
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You might not think that this recipe for Pasta Salad with Shredded Carrots is up to much. It’s a simple and easy pasta salad, you say. Made with just macaroni or other small pasta shapes, mayonnaise, shredded carrots and some seasonings. Something to suit everyone.
And you would be right, it is.
But to me, every bite is so much more.
To me, a mere taste transports me back to those endless, sunburnt, childhood days of summer.
At grandma’s house.
Everything was exciting and new and different… at grandma’s house.
There was always a scorching summer sun… on that side of the mountains.
The gravel lanes were dusty and intriguing… to a child of suburbia.
Trees reached to the sky in endless orchards groves… and forever grassy meadows.
Skippers were unheard of and somewhat scary insects that hopped irrigation ditches along the rocky roads in grandma’s town.
And if we were lucky… we could catch them in our hands for a few seconds before skipping away.
Cousins became everyday playmates and complicit adventurers in the childhood games of summer; hopscotch, tree climbing, grasshopper catching, mudpie making, and fellow actors in our endless summer plays.
And picnics. It wouldn’t be summer without picnics… at grandma’s house.
In my memory, there were always two kinds of salads. Potato salad and pasta salad. Perhaps they were the only ones I liked.
Through the years the pasta salad of my memory has morphed and adapted and changed. I think it may have been my mom who added the carrots.
While I’ve never had a recipe for this summer pasta salad I begin craving in early June, this is close.
So close that with every delicious, perfect bite, I travel back in time to those glorious days of summer… at grandma’s house.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes this can be made ahead, but it is one of those rare pasta salads that is just as delicious served immediately.
Of course – chopped bell peppers would be particularly good here – this is an easily customizable recipe.
I use ditalini, but any small, soup-sized pasta shape would work well. You can of course make this with larger shapes, but the recipe won’t stretch as far.
If you enjoyed this recipe on 31 Daily, you might also enjoy:
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- Cold Italian Tortellini Salad Recipe with Spinach
- Simple Potato Salad Recipe with Eggs and Mayonnaise
- Hot German Potato Salad with Cider Vinegar
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