Macaroni Salad with Basil Dressing

Total Time

Prep: 10 min. + chilling


10 servings

Updated: Oct. 03, 2022
When my husband and I planned our first garden, we overdid the tomato and zucchini plants. By the end of harvest, I was at my wit's end wondering what else I could do with all those vegetables (sound familiar?). That's when my sister and I came up with this great-tasting salad. Today, even though we have our garden under control, we still make this popular dish.


  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 to 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 7 to 8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or part-skim mozzarella cheese


  1. In a blender container or food processor, combine the basil, garlic, pepper, and salt if desired. Process until finely chopped. Add oil and vinegar; process until well blended. Set aside. In a 4-qt. salad bowl, combine tomatoes, zucchini, macaroni and cheese; toss lightly. Pour dressing over all; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.