Tahoe-Truckee recipe: Marty’s Memorial Day macaroni salad | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee recipe: Marty’s Memorial Day macaroni salad

Marty's macaroni salad is kind of like antipasto meets pasta resulting in a lifelong friendship.
Courtesy Simone Grandmain |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — As a rule, I try to avoid getting recipes from chefs. This is not because I don’t want them — I do, I do! It is because inevitably they will either leave out an entire step in the process, assuming I, of course, know it (It is so obvious!) or they will use words like “chiffonade” (a fancy way to cut spinach etc.), which leaves me excusing myself to the restroom so I can Google it on my phone.

But I had to have Marty’s macaroni salad recipe. Just had to. I didn’t care if he was once the chef for President Bush or considers The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills and Seascapes in Kennebunkport, Maine, his culinary stomping grounds — I had to have it.

I decided no matter how much chef-ese Marty was going to throw at me, I would decipher it later, and get my mac’ salad on for the Memorial Day holiday.

So I timed my arrival at Marty’s Cafe (martyscafetruckee.com) in Downtown Truckee for 8:05 a.m., knowing he opens at 8, and therefore should not be busy. Wrong. Super busy. The man was already chefing like crazy and the line was growing out the door, so I just took a seat, ordered my usual Eggs Benedict and then came back after hours to pin him down.

I got it. Chef Marty Carlton not only spilled the beans, but gave me some product to go and a hopeful message for Marty fans everywhere — he is opening a gourmet market in Truckee on June 1, Marty’s Provisions, located across from Sears on Donner Pass Road.

It will be serving up all kinds of take home meals, sides (that means my mac’ salad!) smoked salmon and brisket, seafood, whole prime ribs — basically all your culinary wants, needs and, well, Provisions.

Marty’s Macaroni Salad

I grew up in Hawaii where the classic mac’ salad consisted of macaroni, lots of mayonnaise, salt and maybe two or three peas. I thought Marty was going to weep when he heard this.

Maybe that is why he was so forthcoming with this beauty of a recipe — he wanted to break the cycle of mac’ salad abuse. You’ll notice the ingredients for his balsamic dressing are ample, but you will be thankful to have a supply on hand in the summer salad months to come.

Ingredients for mac’ salad:

one 16 oz. pack elbow macaroni


olive oil

1/4 cup chopped pepperoncini

1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomato

1 cup spinach, chopped

4 oz. salami or pepperoni, chopped

4 oz. ham, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for pesto mayo dressing:

2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup pesto

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup 2 tbls. red wine vinegar

salt to taste

Ingredients for Marty’s balsamic vinaigrette:

3 cups balsamic vinegar

1 tbls. Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

1 and 1/2 cup olive oil


3 oz. crumbled feta cheese

3 tbls. chopped green onions


Salt and oil your pasta water (amount of water per macaroni package directions) and bring to vigorous boil. Add your macaroni and stir for the first minute. Then cook until al dente, strain well and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl combine all your macaroni salad ingredients, adding the cooled pasta at the end. In small mixing bowl, combine your pesto mayonnaise dressing ingredients. Pour this onto your macaroni salad and mix thoroughly.

Now make your balsamic vinaigrette by blending together, at medium speed, all Marty’s balsamic dressing ingredients, except the olive oil. Once the ingredients are blended, slowly add the olive oil, blending on lower speed.

Lastly, put your salad in pot-luck picnic style serving dish. Drizzle with Marty’s balsamic and top with your feta and green onions. Enjoy.

Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your favorite family recipes and the story behind them at simonegrandmain@gmail.com.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.