Sweet and Smoky “Summer Picnic” Macaroni Salad

Summer picnics and barbeques just aren’t complete without a traditional macaroni salad. I’ve always preferred macaroni salad to potato salad, and as a child any summer time trip to the beach, springs, or park included some type of macaroni salad. As I was planning my husband’s 30th birthday barbeque I knew I wanted to include a macaroni salad and this one came about based on the fact I had some beautiful summer zucchini and I have a slight spice obsession at the moment.  I only recently started cooking with smoked paprika after I read a magazine article about its fabulous flavor; since trying the bright clay red spice I have been in love with the rich, sweet and smoky flavor. The smokiness of the paprika pairs well with the sweetness of the zucchini and peppers. Try this for a different spin on the traditional macaroni salad … I think you’ll like it!


  • 1 lb. dry macaroni pasta
  • Salt
  • 1 large zucchini, or 2 small, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (optional, see instructions below)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2  cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • Ground black pepper


Cook the macaroni in salted water until al dente, remove from heat, drain and rinse with cool water. Place macaroni in a large bowl.

While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Red onion can sometimes have quite a kick, to sweeten them up a bit you can mix the chopped red onion with the lemon juice before adding to the pasta.  Once the macaroni is at room temperature, add all other ingredients and stir to combine. Season with S/P. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. If you plan on serving later, I usually stir in another spoonful of mayonnaise or yogurt prior to serving as macaroni can sometimes dry out in the fridge.

Serves: 10-12

Recipe source: Original

Time: 20 minutes