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Macaroni Salad with Basil Dressing


  • 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.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/4 cups: 273 calories, 18g fat (0 saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 126mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 10g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 fat, 1 starch, 1 meat, 1 vegetable.


Average Rating: 4
  • cwbuff
    Feb 18, 2012

    I hate to turn thumbs down on other people's recipes, but I made this for a baby shower at work and was very disappointed. I usually like subtle flavors but this was too bland and too oily. Also, the recipe did not say to mince or cut the garlic, so I added it whole to the dressing. I used a blender, and the garlic just fell to the bottom and did not get chopped. I think using garlic powder would be better. Also, I think mozzarella is one of the most tasteless cheeses in existence, so I would use another variety. All in all, I don't think this recipe is worth tweaking and I will not be making it again.

  • bubbles71
    Aug 6, 2009

    I've made this salad for many occasions. The salad dressing is very tasty and adds lots of flavour to pasta which can sometimes be bland. I use tri-colour pasta instead of the shells, and cherry tomatoes instead of regular - less cutting and they don't sour as quickly. I also add green peppers for more crunch and I cube the mozerella so it absorbs the dressing. I love garlic but I only use 2 cloves instead of the 3. I also find that I need to add a little more olive oil just before serving. Thanks for a more original recipe.

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