Thursday, December 27, 2012

King Hawaiian Pasta Salad


I first had this salad at a little Asian restaurant in Los Angeles. They would serve this salad with teriyaki chicken, white rice, and  a side of congee

Yes, that was a lot of food, and probably way too much rice and pasta in one sitting, but the food was so good. I have been making this for about 10 years, I usually fill this salad full of veggies and use light mayonnaise which makes it a little bit healthier.  

I loved this salad so much I would always forget to eat my teriyaki chicken. Eventually, I would tell them hold the rice, give me double Hawaiian salad and make the teriyaki chicken extra crispy.

It was ice cold and rainy today, for some reason I jumped up and said, baby girl let's make pasta salad. She said "mom, it's too cold for pasta salad."

I was like whatever, put the pasta pot on, and grab the bacon.  And while your at it, grab that Genoa salami also.

I used 1/2 of three different bell peppers because one, that is what I had in the frig, and two, I like the color, you could just use green bell peppers but why would I do something that predictable.

Don't forget, you must grate the onion, and do this in the bowl your making the salad because the onion juice is key. I used half red and half white onion.

The dressing consisted of mayonnaise, I used Kraft light, again it's what I keep in the refrigerator at all times, extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Sometimes I use rice wine vinegar depending on how I am feeling.

Mix everything together in a big bowl and if you can wait, allow the salad to chill overnight for the flavors to blend together.

Baby girl and I, obviously could not wait 24 hours to eat, time to dig in.

King Hawaiian Pasta Salad
adapted from Hawaii Magazine

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes plus chill time
Servings: 6-8


1 lb pasta, penne, macaroni, or rotini
1/2 lb genoa salami, sliced into strips (optional)
8 slices cooked, crumbled bacon (optional)
1 1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/2 white onion, grated
1/2 red onion, grated
3 stalks green onions. sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. milk
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1 c. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tsp. salt for pasta water
campari tomatoes, seeded for garnish


Bring a large pasta pot of water to boil. Cover with lid to bring up to boil quickly. Remove lid, add salt, stir, add pasta, stir and cook for 14 minutes stirring occasionally. Do not put lid on pot while pasta cooks.

Heat oven to 400 degrees and cook bacon until crisp about 15 minutes. Remove from pan, drain on paper napkins, chop and set aside.

Rinse vegetables and in a large salad bowl grate white and red onion directly into bowl, you want to capture the onion juice for the salad. Dice green onions, and bell pepper. Add crushed garlic and place in bowl.

Mix spice mixture in a small bowl and set aside.

In another small bowl mix mayonnaise, milk, apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add 2 teaspoons of spice mixture and 1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce to dressing and mix well, refrigerate until ready to use.

Drain pasta, rinse in cold water and allow pasta to sit for 30 minutes to dry out.


In the large salad bowl with vegetable mixture, add pasta, dressing, cheese, salami, bacon and remaining spice blend, stir well and refrigerate until ready to serve preferably overnight. Stir well before serving.

Garnish with fresh diced tomatoes.

For a vegetarian option, you can omit the bacon, genoa and cheese. 

Note: I know the pasta is being over cooked, it's the Hawaiian way for this dish. The pasta is suppose to allegedly swell up. Sorry Italy but this is the way it's done in Hawaii. I would never do this to pasta any other time but for this dish it works.


  1. Replies
    1. Hello Pat, I like Sharp cheddar and Jack but you can use whatever cheese you like.

  2. I'm not a big mayo fan but this looks SOOOO YUMMY!!! Gotta try this


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I must confess I love great food. I decided to create The Creole Contessa blog after cooking and eating a great meal with my family Big Goo the hubby of almost twenty years and my lil’ Contessa Summer aka “Baby Girl." I told Big Goo and Baby Girl, it is just not fair to not share these great recipes with the world; and the Creole Contessa blog was born.

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