Perfect for any gathering, this macaroni salad has all the great flavor of a jalapeño popper... jalapeños, cheddar cheese, bacon, and creamy dressing!
Course: Side Dish
1lbdried elbow macaroni pasta
1cupcanned jalapeños, choppedI prefer the mild version (can substitute with fresh chopped jalapeños as well)
1cupcheddar cheese, cubed small (or shredded)(monterey jack or Colby jack are good as well)
8slicesbacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2cupmayonnaise(I like to use the canola oil mayo for a less calorie dressing)
2Tbspcream cheese, room temperature
2Tbsplemon juicefresh is best
generous pinch of black pepper
fresh parsley, mincedfor garnish (optional)
Bring large pot of water to a boil, add generous pinch of salt and boil pasta per package directions. Drain, and rinse pasta with cold water until cooled.
To a small mixing bowl, add mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and black pepper and whisk until smooth and creamy.
To a large mixing or serving bowl, add cooked and cooled pasta, jalapeños, cheese, and most of the bacon. Pour dressing over pasta and toss to combine.
Sprinkle with remaining bacon, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to fully combine.
If desired, add a bit of melted butter to some panko breadcrumbs and cook in a dry skillet over LOW heat until fragrant and toasty. Before serving pasta salad, sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs over the top.