Mom’s Macaroni Salad

When you have a week straight of over 100° temps, you start looking for cooler things to make. My mother whipped up this macaroni salad earlier this week and I think I ate half of the whole bowl. Think macaroni and deviled egg make love child and you’ll be in the vicinity. There is a hard boiled egg, some roasted red bell pepper, chopped spring onions, a generous amount of mayo, and seasoning with sweet paprika. Perfect for a summer BBQ or picnic salad.

Mom’s Macaroni Salad Recipe

  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (about 1/2 lb) dry macaroni pasta (use rice pasta for gluten-free version)
  • Salt
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper*, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onion or green onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • A generous amount of mayonnaise (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
  • Several pinches of paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


* Trader Joes carries a good product, jarred roasted red bell peppers packed in oil and vinegar. We usually use these in recipes calling for roasted bell peppers. Alternatively, you can roast a fresh bell pepper by blackening it over an open flame on a gas range or broiling until the skin blisters on all sides. Remove from heat source, place in paper bag, after a few minutes remove from bag and scrape off the blackened bits. Discard seeds and stem.

Method

1 Cook macaroni, as directed on its package, in at least 2 quarts of salted water (1 teaspoon of salt per quart of water). When cooked through, but still slightly firm (al dente) remove from heat, drain and rinse with cool water until room temperature.

2 While macaroni is cooking, put chopped onions into a small bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice or vinegar over them. This will serve to take the edge off the onions.

2 Combine cooked macaroni, onions, and all other ingredients in a large serving bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste.

23 Comments

  1. Bill

    I believe I’m seeing red onion in this image accompanying the recipe but the ingredients list spring or green onions? Does it make a more defined taste with the red onion? Is there any reason not to use it? I think I would prefer the stronger accent of the red onion.

    That’s a red spring onion (looks like a giant green onion, but purple-reddish). You can use red onion too. ~Elise

  2. BW

    From the picture it looks like there are also purple onion in the salad, but I don’t see it in the recipe. Am I misinterpreting what the purple bits in the salad are? Or maybe my screen colors are just way off… In any case, the salad looks so yummy!

    That’s a red spring onion. ~Elise

  3. jo

    I keep hoping it will finally get hot enough around here to make My Mom’s. Ever so close to yours, however in our family this, and this only, must be made with Miracle Whip instead of Mayo and we add a wee bit of celery seed. Thanks for making me drool at the screen.

  4. Ktbt334

    I make macaroni salad all the time in the summer; put in a can of chicken breast meat or tuna… some frozen peas… and even halves of cherry tomatoes…. mmmmm!

  5. Kathy - Panini Happy

    That’s so funny you mentioned the macaroni-deviled egg connection – a very similar thought came to my mind on the 4th of July when I was preparing potato salad. The flavors in all three dishes are so similar (at least the way I make ‘em). The paprika is key. I hadn’t taken it to the “love child” level, but I’m with you on it! :-)

  6. Linda

    This looks wonderful. Just in time for hour picnic later on today. I never thought of red bell peppers in mac salad. I’ll give it a try. You mentioned Trader Joe’s – have you used their unsweetened mayonnaise? It is superior to the regular, off-the-shelf jarred mayo in the grocery stores. I highly recommend it. Thanks for another great sounding recipe.

    Haven’t tried it. Am sort of partial to Best Foods (Hellmans). ~Elise

  7. michael bash

    I used to make mac salad that was great just after you mixed in the dressing stuff. But in a bit the mac soaked up the dressing, and the salad got dry. Solution: add a bit of the dressing and stir to make mac not stick together. Then just before you serve, stir in all the rest.

  8. GinnyRED57

    UPDATE: Wow, this came out really well, and the roasted red peppers were the standouts. This is the kind of thing that would be easy to make on vacation, as we generally stay in condos with kitchens… we’re planning our next Maui trip and will definitely take this recipe with us. Mac salad always reminds me of “plate lunch” Hawaiian-style.

  9. Susan

    Good heavens, I made this today and you would have thought I never fed my family! They gobbled it down like they were starving to death! Excellent salad. I took a cue from your description of “deviled egg marries pasta”. I mooshed up the egg yolks and added a little of the dressing to it, when it was fluffy, I added them (I used 2 eggs) back to the rest of the dressing. Wow! It did give the salad a hint of the deviled egg flavor. I added some mustard too..so that really spiced it up. Thanks, Elise and Ms Elise’s Mom. We loved it.

  10. Natasa

    Great stuff Elise!
    Personally, for the high summer I prefer something less obviously fat :D so I usually substitute at least half of the mayo with yogurt. Gives that extra bit of freshness.
    Brgrds,
    Natasa

  11. Hannah

    My family makes mac salad unlike anybody else that I’ve ever tried. I’m not really sure how ours ended up so different, but it doesn’t have that slightly sweet flavor that everbody else’s does here in Oregon. We chop up hard-boiled eggs, dill pickles, and black olives, then dump them into the cooked macaroni. Then we put in a very big scoop of mayo, a couple good squirts of mustard (or more if my mom isn’t making it), a drizzle of pickle juice, then salt, pepper, garlic, and sometimes Johnny’s seasoning salt (or Tony’s if we’re not out). Mix it all together and it goes like hot cakes in our house! We also sometimes add diced cheddar cheese and sometimes fresh peas. It makes for a very savory mac salad, and DELICIOUS!

  12. Jean

    Add sliced green olives to this salad, along with some prepared spicy mustard, and you are in for a wonderful treat. My friends love it.

  13. Mirescu

    I make something very similar, but I prefer to have some diced raw bell peppers as well to add some contrasting textures (and maybe a little celery as well). Otherwise I feel the salad is a bit too ‘mushy’. I prefer red onions to scallions for this as well, but that’s just me.

    On a side note, you can take this basic recipe, puree the roasted peppers with a little chipotle in adobo (maybe a chili or two with a tablespoon of adobo) add some chopped smoked chicken and you have a killer main dish.

    Great idea, thanks! ~Elise

  14. teresa

    Do I note a touch of red onion in the picture? It looks wonderful.

    It’s a red spring onion. Regular red onions could be used too. ~Elise

  15. Wayne

    I make a simiar recipe without the egg and a few other ingredients, but I do add a few cans of flaked tuna. Makes a great meal or side dish for the summer!

    Yes, we have a tuna macaroni salad too, that we eat all the time. ~Elise

  16. Kelly M.

    Another knock out recipe! I followed your moms macaroni salad recipe to the tee and it is really really good -ok, I doubled it for a party. Also, I found the same jarred fire roasted peppers you mention at the supermarket -they were located in the same aisle as the jarred green olives.
    Thank you SOOO much for your wonderful recipes! Everytime I use one, it is always so good!

  17. li

    I have an almost identical recipe, but mine has fresh peas added. I also add diced ham or slald shrimp. Depending on my mood, I’ll drop in a little horseradish as well.

  18. Jon

    Re: Mayonnaise (Trader Joe’s etc.)

    Five minutes to make your own. And ALWAYS much better than in a bottle.

    In a blender, food processor or any other spinning kitchen device:

    1 Tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar)
    1 whole egg
    1 – 2 cups liquid oil: I like 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2/3 cup canola/safflower/corn oil.

    A little Salt / Pepper / optional Herbs (tarragon, marjoram, oregano, onion, garlic…)

    In the food processor, combine everything except the oil. Buzz until smooth. With the machine running, pour in oil in a slow stream. Taste. Adjust salt, herbs, etc. Add more oil if you think it’s needed. Add a bit of water if it needs thinning.

    Enjoy the best mayonnaise you’ve ever eaten. And the next time you make it, it will be better!

    Must be refrigerated, of course.

    Jon

  19. Tracey

    I have fallen in love with the subtle taste of shallots when summer salads call for onions. Shallots are a pretty purple and don’t overwhelm the taste buds if you bite into a piece of it.

  20. Ron

    Loved this recipe but I made a couple changes to enhance it for my family. I added 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp celery seed. I also included the vinegar along with the lemon juice.

    Came out yummy!

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