General Question

jca's avatar

Is it my imagination, or did the pasta in the pasta salad absorb the mayonnaise?

Asked by jca (36054points) July 9th, 2012

Yesterday, I made a pasta salad with tuna and hardboiled eggs. I put mayonnaise and celery in it, as well. The pasta, eggs and mayonnaise were all room temperature when I mixed them together (mayo was from a brand new jar which was why it was not refrigerated at the time). Everything was nice and mushy when I made it. I chilled it, and today I looked at it and it looks dry. Could the pasta have absorbed the mayonnaise?

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19 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Yes, it could have.

bkcunningham's avatar

Yes, the pasta does absorb the mayonnaise. That is why you should always use a good mayo. Yum.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It could do that or the mayonnaise LEECH got to it. Pasta is absorbent and will suck-up the oil and all in mayo.

Remember to add more mayo if the salad is stored overnight, same thing with tuna fish salad.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Was the pasta salad covered or uncovered while in the refrigerator?

jca's avatar

@bkcunningham: I used Hellmann’s (full fat version).

Pasta salad is in a casserole dish with a glass lid on it, so it’s covered.

bkcunningham's avatar

I found this article, @jca, that says to coat the pasta with a little olive oil to prevent it from absorbing the mayo and becoming dry. I’ve never done that before, but I’m going to try it the next time I make pasta salad. I always have to revive the leftover pasta salad with more mayo and I know that isn’t good for you health wise. But oh, it taste so good.

Sunny2's avatar

A little oil,vinegar and salt & pepper will do a more flavorful job than just the oil to keep the pasta moist. Add veggies with the pasta in the marinade. Later, add the eggs and mayo.

jca's avatar

@Sunny2: I should use oil and mayo?

Ponderer983's avatar

That’s weird! Whenever I mkae pasta salad this never happens. I use Hellman’s as well (The regular, no reduced fat or anything). The difference for me may be that I add some vinegar to my salads and maybe the pasta absorbs that first because it is more liquid-y lol. Also, did you make the pasta al dente or over cook it a bit? I tend to over cook it so more water is absorbed into mine from the get go.

And as a general not, oil will prevent any sauce from sticking to the pasta, which is why you should never add oil to your pasta water while boiling. But, in this instance, it may be to your advantage, but the mayo won’t attach as well.

creative1's avatar

Yup thats why I make the pasta and while its still warm add some mayo, when it cools add the other ingredients then when I am ready to serve add the rest of mayo. If you are only going to use half now half later then only mix up half because once the pasta gets a chance it takes up all the mayo.

gailcalled's avatar

@jca; Mayo is simply vinegar and an egg beaten together and then the oil beaten in until the mixture emulsifies…essentially an eggy vinaigrette.

Kardamom's avatar

I learned by trial and error, and then had this confirmed by a good friend who has been cooking much longer than me.

After you drain your pasta, do add a teensy bit of olive oil and mix it in well so it coats every strand or piece of noodle. This will help to make the noodles less absorbent, like adding a delicious raincoat. Then put the oiled pasta into the fridge until it cools, before adding your mayo or other dressing. Warm pasta is more susceptible to absorption.

Tomorrow I’m making Hawaiian style cole slaw with crushed pineapple, un-sweetened coconut, macadamia nuts and dried cranberries

bkcunningham's avatar

Oh, @Kardamom, that made my mouth water.

jca's avatar

@gailcalled: I know what it is – that’s why I was questioning if she meant I should add more oil to it.

@all – I added more mayo and some pickle juice. Next time I’ll take the suggestions about adding a bit of oil and chilling first.

@Kardamom: That sounds good, but a bit sweet.

Kardamom's avatar

@jca It actually has kind of a tart flavor, more so than sweet, because of both the mayo (which I forgot to list) and the pineapple. Also, the coconut is the unsweetened kind. And it takes a squeeze of lemon juice.

Your pasta salad made me think that I really needed to make some cool summer salads. Time for a Fluther Potluck!

SpatzieLover's avatar

To not have it absorb all the mayo, the pasta needs to be al dente, then rinsed in cold water (ideally ice water) to stop the cooking, then tossed with olive oil (I season mine first), then follow the salad recipe.

jca's avatar

@SpatzieLover: Then, wouldn’t that make crunchy pasta salad?

JLeslie's avatar

I would think just making sure all ingredients were cold before mixing would do the trick. A mini amount of oil on the pasta makes sense if the pasta will be sitting a long time before adding the other ingredients to ensure it doesn’t stick, but rinsing it when cooked to perfection in very cold water should wash away the extra starch that can cause the pasta to stick and it stops the pasta from cooking more.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@jca Nope. It makes it perfect. Al dente would just be chewy after running it through the ice water. After adding the oil, and then the mayo it gets to be just like what you’d buy at the deli counter…or in my family, like grandma used to make.

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