Macaroni salad? Delicious! But please do it yourself

The barbecue season is in full swing! During my last visit to Berlin, I saw them, puffs of smoke rising in the parks of the capital. It smelled everywhere, like sausage, pork neck, and sometimes even grilled mutton. After all, grilling is anarchy because, of course, what tastes good is grilled. Good preparation is objective, but taste is very subjective.

And then the happy faces of people who just gather together quietly and use the summer time to celebrate a happy outdoor grilling together. Whether with charcoal in the park or on the tiny electric grill on the balcony, everyone is happy to have a barbecue because for many it is the ritual of the warmest and most beautiful time of the year.

We have already written something about how you manage to arouse enthusiasm at various camps and combine them with grilled vegetables. We have already shown you recipes for grill marinades and healthy salads. Apart from the grilled vegetables mentioned, salads in particular broaden the assortment and, in addition to thick sausages, substantially contribute to a better dining experience. Salad – you’ll almost always find it when there’s a grill out there – has a very dubious reputation.

We are smiling especially abroad. The French consider it (like white wine with ice cubes) simply barbaric and vulgar, the Italians are appalled because the main ingredient there is a national dish. Not applicable? Do you already know what’s going on? Now you should know! It is not the meat salad that is truly noble for us, the Germans, nor the potato salad. Certainly not the cable salad.


Cold pasta with cream or mayonnaise? The Italian doesn’t just turn around in the grave. Already during his lifetime, he considered us Germans to be barbarians.

Italians believe that pasta salad is a great sin!

It’s a pasta salad. Several times in Italy I was asked if it is true that we actually cook pasta and then serve it cold with mayonnaise, gray and overcooked peas and canned carrots. And then also as an addition to grilled pork neck. This is not possible for an Italian Catholic and is tantamount to blasphemy.

When this conversation started, I felt really trapped. The current Frenchman shook his head not understanding, the Italian women looked at me reproachfully, and the present Englishman smiled happily at my desperation. Probably also because at that point there was no question that most people in Britain ate worse than the scrap-fed pig in the yard.

The criticism of my Romansh friends struck me like lightning; All my efforts to make German cuisine look good in an international comparison have suddenly disappeared. And this despite the fact that Berlin in particular is slowly growing into a metropolis of the culinary world. But none of it helped: the pasta salad is absolutely unacceptable.

How am I gonna get out of this? I just came out as a gourmet, friend of Slow Food and Italian cuisine, when I was out of action due to the freezing cold. So how do you explain that? Only one thing helps: stick to it! They are enthusiastic about it, explaining to people what they are missing. Why not? The pasta salad is amazing i said! While the variant with cheaper pasta, cheap mayonnaise, and molded meat is quite raw, there is a remedy for that.

There are over 350 types of pasta – lots of room for experimentation

There are over 350 different types of pasta. Not all are suitable for a pasta salad. Not exactly tortellini or spaghetti. If you have a recipe, I’d love to find out otherwise. Text me!

For me, farfalle, fusilli or penne are pasta salad. However, given the wide range, it’s easy to go back to other varieties. Maccheroni, risoni, trophies, fregola sarda or even gnocchi will work. The latter are also quite German and everyone likes them potatoes. The other possible ingredients are as diverse as the pasta options. If couscous, bulgur, and quinoa are all good salads, why not pasta? At least from a culinary point of view – we prefer to leave the nutritional evaluation to the professionals. After all, it’s about pleasure.

So, andiamohe will live high up, pasta salad! Here are three recipes. I know it’s not much, but take it as an inspiration. If you know recipes that are just as good or even tastier, write to me:


Worst example from practice: Nobody wants to eat that gray frozen peas and that fusilli.

Pasta salad with Fregola Sarda, fennel, cucumber, onion, dill and red pepper

Ingredients for 4 people: 250 g Fregola Sarda or Orzo pasta, 1 fennel, 1 bunch of dill, ½ bunch of mint, 1 small red onion, ½ cucumber, 1 teaspoon of red pepper salt, olive oil, juice and lemon zest

Preparation: Boil sarda fregola in salted water. Of course, this time the water is as salty as the San Teodoro Lagoon. The rest of the preparations continue. Take your time and focus on your work. Imagine the happy face of Nelson Müller looking proudly at your mise en place. So we start with a lemon, grind it and squeeze it.

We mix both of them with about 100 milliliters of olive oil and a little salt, this is our marinade (not quite ready yet, you’ll see). Then we crush the red pepper berries – this fits well in the saucepan – and add them as well. Finely chop the green dill along with the dill and mint.

We cut the head of fennel and red onion into thin slices. The cucumber is peeled and hollowed out. We rub the grains with our marinade, thanks to which it becomes especially fresh (you see!). Cut the rest of the cucumber into small boats or cubes. When the pasta is ready, let it cool down a bit, then everything is mixed together. Only at the end, when everything is really cool, do we add the chopped herbs. Don’t forget: try and try!

Pasta salad with potato dumplings, snow peas, spinach, melted onion and raisins

Ingredients for 4 people: 250 g gnocchi, 2 medium white onions, 2 tablespoons raisins, 2 tablespoons pine nuts, snow peas, fresh spinach leaves, 4-5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, lots of olive oil, salt and pepper, cayenne powder

Preparation: We also prepare everything nicely here. The most important thing is that we make the salad in a pan and then eat it lukewarm or cold. We start with the onion, cut it into small strips, and then caramelize in a pan with a little olive oil until golden brown (it takes quite a long time). When the onions are ready, set them aside.

Then we roast pine nuts, cut sugar snap peas into trapeziums and prepare raisins and spices. We cook the gnocchi and then put them in the pan to lightly brown them. When the gnocchi is lightly golden brown, add the remaining ingredients, deglass with balsamic vinegar and take the pan out of the oven. If everything is lukewarm, season with salt, pepper and cayenne (maybe more balsamic vinegar and olive oil?). It tastes wonderfully fresh and at the same time is a bit like Sicily.

Feliks Hanika

Felix Hanika: Passionate chef and Mallorca by choice, for whom a pound of butter is it all.

Pasta salad with rigate pipe, kebab meat, cinnamon, chickpeas and vegetables

Ingredients for 4 people: 200 g rigate pipes, 150 g kebab meat (alternatively finely chopped chicken or vegan alternative), 100 g chickpeas (canned), ½ zucchini, ½ eggplant, 3-4 cauliflower florets, 1 red pepper, salt, cinnamon, rasp Hanout, 1 lime (zest and juice), parsley and mint, olive oil, 100 g of yogurt, ½ clove of garlic.

Preparation: You can get kebab meat directly from the kebab shop. Alternatively, they cut the chicken or veal very finely and fry with lots of garlic, ras el hanout and cinnamon. One of the many vegan alternatives is also possible, also for yogurt. When the meat is ready, set it aside and prepare the rest.

Boil the noodles and prepare the vegetables in parallel to the cooking process. Everything is cut into small cubes and fried in a pan with a lot of olive oil. When everything is ready, add spices such as salt, ras el hanout and cinnamon. Squeeze or finely chop the garlic cloves and mix with the yoghurt (salt to taste). Then chop the herbs, grate and squeeze the lime.


Those were the days: in 2003, a doner kebab cost 3 euros in Munich. For our kebab pasta salad you need the best kebab meat …

When the pasta is ready, put it in a bowl, then add the chickpeas with liquid, then the meat and vegetables. Now everything is seasoned with spices, lime juice and zest, herbs and lots of olive oil. If you like, you can add Piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper. Before serving, soak everything well and taste it again. Place the yoghurt in a small bowl next to it.

To some gourmets, all of this may sound a bit “harsh”. But this Italo-Germanic-Levantine dish is like a mirror of our interconnected cultures. And it tastes good, guaranteed even if it doesn’t sound like that!

Do you have questions about our regulations? Ideas and wishes for stories or a restaurant tip for us? Then write to ours Chef Jesko zu Dohna on Instagram or by e-mail:

Feliks Hanika initially he was an investment banker, then he did an internship as a chef at the Hotel & Restaurant Bareiss in the Black Forest. For eight years he cooked in the best restaurants in the world. He regularly publishes his favorite recipes in the weekend edition of the “Berliner Zeitung”.

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