Real Meals Modified

Level 7: Easy to Chew Magnificent Macaroni Salad

Magnificent Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is a true midwestern classic. My recipe for Level 7: Easy to Chew Magnificent Macaroni Salad makes this potluck dish accessible for those on modified diets.

elbow macaroni salad with peas on a purple plate

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A Midwestern Classic

Okay…I’m going to be honest with you. I’m really not a big fan of macaroni salad. I grew up in the Midwest, so macaroni salad was at every potluck I ever went to, but I was never drawn to it. I’m not sure why because I love pasta in every sense. Everyone else always seemed to love it, so I spent some time recently while back at home asking people how they made macaroni salad. 

Everyone does it differently – some people go heavy on the mayo, where some people enjoy ranch dressing instead. Some people have it warm and some eat it cold. Don’t even get me started on what goes into the salad because the options are truly endless. You can definitely omit the cheese and/or peas from this recipe, and add other small things that you may enjoy (as long as they fit into the diet requirements). Just ensure that you follow the ratio for pasta and mayo, and it will still meet your Level 7 diet.

Level 7: Easy to Chew

Level 7: Easy to Chew is appropriate for individuals who can manage chewing and processing foods of any size without tiring across the meal. Because this level allows pieces of any size, individuals who are at a higher choking risk are typically not appropriate for this level. At Level 7, most everyday foods are allowed, but must be soft and tender. This includes mixed consistency foods, such as cereal and milk or soup with chunks or noodles, but cannot include hard, tough, chewy, fibrous, or crumbly bits.

Foods at this level must still be mashable under pressure. Although bite size is not predetermined, choose a sample size that is 15mm square for adults or 8mm square for children when testing the sample. The pressure from a fork or spoon must be able to mash the pieces easily; this is called the Fork Pressure or Spoon Pressure Test. In these tests, the utensil must be able to easily cut through or break apart the food using only the side of the utensil. When mashing the sample to test, only use as much pressure as causes your thumbnail or fingernail to blanche white. After mashing, the food must not return to its original shape. We recommend watching IDDSI’s Youtube video of the Fork Pressure and Spoon Pressure Test before you cook as well as during the testing of your final modified portion.

Always test your food before serving to ensure that it meets all the IDDSI testing guidelines.

Give us your feedback!

Let us know your thoughts on our Level 7: Easy to Chew Magnificent Macaroni Salad! Even though I’m not a huge fan of macaroni salad, I think this is a great summertime side dish. It requires minimal cooking, so you won’t heat your kitchen up on a hot summer day (something we definitely try and avoid here in AZ). Your family and friends will enjoy it too. Leave us a comment and let us know if you like this recipe! 

If you loved this recipe, check out our other Level 7: Easy to Chew recipes, or learn more about us!

elbow macaroni salad with peas on a purple plate
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Level 7: Easy to Chew Magnificent Macaroni Salad

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy to chew
Servings: 8 bowlfuls
Calories: 509kcal


  • 16 ounces uncooked macaroni
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup miracle whip
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 teaspoons minced onion
  • Pinch sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese


  • Bring water to a boil and cook macaroni according to package instructions. In the last two minutes, add in the frozen peas. Drain and allow pasta to cool completely.
  • While pasta is cooling, mix together miracle whip, mayo, yellow mustard, minced onion, sugar, black pepper, and salt. Taste and adjust for seasonings.
  • Once pasta is cooled completely, mix pasta in with the miracle whip mixture.
  • Add in the grated cheddar cheese. Taste and adjust for seasonings again.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature and enjoy!


Calories: 509kcal

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