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Macaroni Pasta Salad Recipe

This easy, creamy macaroni salad is a flavorful pasta salad side dish that is the perfect combination of sweet and tart. The mayo based dressing is simple and not too overpowering, and it’s sure to be a hit at every potluck or BBQ this summer! Made with sweet pickles, red onion, celery and red pepper, it can be made gluten free, dairy free, vegan and in under 30 minutes!

  • Author: Bailey
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Meatless
  • Method: Salad
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet gherkin pickle juice
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried parsley, or 1.5 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper,¬†finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sweet gherkin pickles, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • Salt to taste


  1. Bring a pot of boiling water to a boil and add in the noodles. Cook until al dente
  2. While the noodles are cooking, add the mayo, vinegar, honey, dijon, pickle juice, parsley and garlic powder to a large mixing bowl. Stir to incorporate everything together until the dressing is smooth and well combined
  3. Add the chopped celery, bell pepper, red onion and pickles into the bowl
  4. Drain the pasta noodles and run under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool them. Add the cooked pasta into the bowl with the dressing and vegetables
  5. Gently toss everything together until the noodles and vegetables are well coated. Add the salt and pepper, taste, and adjust spices as needed
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour prior to serving


  • You can easily use gluten-free noodles for this recipe
  • For the sweet pickles, I recommend using Gherkins, but any variety of sweet pickle will work
  • Optional ingredients to add:
    • 1 cup cheddar cheese cubes
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas
    • 2 hardboiled eggs, finely chopped
    • To add a meat: baby shrimp or diced ham