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Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta

Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta was inspired by a salad I had from the deli in a local grocery store, and this salad is loaded with summer flavors. Use the Salads Index to find more summer salad ideas!

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Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta found on KalynsKitchen.com
Pasta salads often don’t get much respect, and while it’s true there are a lot of soggy and bland pasta salad concoctions, this Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta is loaded with flavor. The dressing ingredients are mixed with the tomatoes and basil and allowed to hang out together for a few hours, then about 45 minutes before you want to serve it you cook the macaroni, let it cool a bit, and then mix the dressing into the slightly-warm pasta.

The recipe was inspired by a spaghetti salad I used to love at a local deli, so you could use whole wheat spaghetti if you prefer. If you have fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden, this is a delicious new salad option.


Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta found on KalynsKitchen.com

When I was at The Spice House in Chicago I bought some tomato powder (made from dried tomatoes and no added ingredients.) I mixed a couple of teaspoons of this into the dressing to bump up the tomato flavor, and loved the results. If you don’t have the tomato powder, use a tablespoon of double-thick tomato paste that comes in a tube. (You can also cook down regular tomato paste if you don’t have the double thick type.) Mix the Spike Seasoning, black pepper, and tomato powder (or paste) into the vinegar, then whisk in the olive oil. (The first time I made this I did it in a small dish as shown, but the second time I made the salad I got smart and mixed the dressing in the bowl I was going to make the salad in, saving a dish to wash!) Then mix in the chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, and chopped basil and let the mixture marinate on the counter for an hour or two.

About 45 minutes before you want to serve the salad, cook the macaroni and drain well in a colander. Let macaroni cool about 15 minutes. Then mix the tomato-basil mixture into the slightly warm pasta, season with salt and pepper, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Right before serving, mix in a generous amount of basil (cut into chiffonade strips), and sprinkle the salad with crumbled feta and serve.

Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta found on KalynsKitchen.com

Make it a Meal: This would be great served with something like Rosemary Mustard Grilled Chicken or Hamburger Kebabs.

More Macaroni or Pasta Salads You Might Like:

Family Favorite Shrimp and Macaroni Salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Macaroni Salad from Life’s Ambrosia
Pasta Salad with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Zucchini, and Basil from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Mom’s Macaroni Salad from Simply Recipes
Pasta Salad with Italian Sausage, Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Olives from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta

This Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil is loaded with summer flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 3 T white balsamic vinegar (or use white wine vinegar, but the white balsamic vinegar is a bit milder)
  • 1 T double-thick tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but recommended)
  • a few grinds black pepper (to taste)
  • 5 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (cherry tomatoes would be perfect, but I used tomatoes from the garden)
  • 1 cup sliced green onion (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil + 1/2 cup basil for basil chiffonade to stir into finished salad (You could probably get by with less basil if you don’t have it in the garden, but I loved this with all the basil flavor.)
  • 2 cups  whole wheat or low carb macaroni
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta (or more)

Directions:

  1. In a glass bowl (large enough to hold finished salad) mix together white balsamic vinegar, tomato powder or paste, Spike seasoning, and black pepper.
  2. Whisk in olive oil, one tablespoon at a time.
  3. Chop tomatoes and basil and slice green onions and add to dressing mixture, stirring to combine.
  4. Let ingredients marinate on the counter for an hour or two.
  5. About 45 minutes before you want to serve salad, bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding a generous amount of salt to the water (it should taste slightly salty.)
  6. When water is boiling add macaroni and cook until barely al dente.
  7. When pasta is barely tender, with still a little bite to it, drain into colander placed in the sink.
  8. Let pasta cool 15 minutes, stirring a few times so it doesn’t stick together. (Don’t rinse!)
  9. When macaroni is partly cooled (but still slightly warm) mix it into dressing mixture and gently stir to combine.
  10. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Let the salad continue to cool 15-20 minutes, while you chiffonade the basil and crumble feta.
  11. Just before serving, gently stir in basil strips, then sprinkle finished salad with feta.
  12. This will keep for one day in the fridge, although it’s much better served just after it’s made.

Recipe created by Kalyn, inspired by the Spaghetti Salad at Smiths Deli.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Made with whole wheat or low-carb pasta, this Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta would be suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. The salad is probably too high inc carbs for most low-carb diet plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta found on KalynsKitchen.com

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20 comments on “Macaroni Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Feta”

  1. sounds very ggood. i wish I had some fresh basil and fresh tomato's from a garden 🙁 city life. All cities should have a garden on their roof top. Especially in California

  2. Last night I attempted to make the macaroni salad but sadly I ran out of macaroni, I nice replacement I found was spiral pasta. It maintained a nice texture and had a lovely taste.

  3. excellent recipe, great kalyn!
    please join my new linkedin group ;
    south beach lifestyle club!

  4. I must admit, I'm a macaroni addict, and this looks so good!

  5. That looks so good! I make a similar salad with orzo; I like it when the pasta is not too big as somehow it just seems to get a bit rubbery tasting. I haven't tried Dreamfield's; now I want to.

  6. I posted an orzo recipe today, using very similar ingredients! Don't you love summer's bounty!

  7. I do think anyone who is a slightly creative cook will find lots of good things to do with the tomato powder.

    Sounds like there are a lot of good pasta salads with tomatoes going on right now.

    Laura, thanks for the nice feedback. Always love it when the recipe is a hit!

  8. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I had it for lunch today and it was SO GOOD. Even my husband, who normally hates whole wheat pasta, liked it. Thanks!

  9. Kalyn,
    Aside from the fact that I don't like macaroni in pasta salad (too much past flavor for me) that's a great recipe! I particularly like your use of tomato powder. There's no place around where that sells it, but I figure I can make my own by grinfing dried tomatoes in my spice grinder. Thanks for the idea.

    Oh, and here's my favorite pasta salad.

  10. Okay, now I am going to have to order some tomato powder from the Spice House. I've always been such a Penzey's nut, that I've never tried Spice House. Did you say that it is the same family?

    As for Dreamfields Pasta: I LOVE the stuff. So glad that it is made. I am having more and more trouble finding it in Toledo, Ohio, though. I may have to take up ordering it online, like I do many other food products.

    I make my own version of this salad–with campari tomatoes, quartered, feta and fresh basil from the garden. I usually add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Yum!

  11. I made an insanely similar pasta salad to this just yesterday. So delicious!

  12. I think it's time to get some tomato powder! It sounds like a wonderful ingredient.

    Pasta salad with fresh, juicy tomatoes, bright fresh basil and creamy feta sounds absolutely delicious. I'm having a party this weekend, and I think this salad will be on the menu!

  13. Kalyn, that looks fabulous! I love how the tomato powder and spices color the pasta, so lovely!

  14. Rachel, every year I look forward to this time when the tomatoes are so delicious!

    Nicole, I really like it, and I'm loving all the things I got at The Spice House.

    Amy, thanks for the tip, will have to check out the Vulcan Fire Salt.

    Val, the tomato powder is great. Perfect for things where you want just a bit of tomato flavor or a bit more tomato flavor.

    Lydia, so glad we went to The Spice House!

    Anh, true indeed, these are some of my favorite flavors. (Well, except for cilantro of course!)

  15. I can tell you one thing, Kalyn. This recipe is so you! I am making it this week. I think I got all the ingredients at home, except for the tomato powder of course…

  16. The tomato powder from The Spice House has been a great addition to my cooking in the past few weeks, for everything from salad dressing to spaghetti sauce. I love this salad, and I have everything on hand to make it. I'm bookmarking.

  17. My list is getting longer of things I need to watch out for. I'll add tomato powder to the list:D

  18. I LOVE the tomato powder! I picked some up when I was in Chicago in June. It is great! So is the Vulcan Fire Salt.

  19. I think I'm going to order some tomato powder. I'm always opening cans of tomato paste and then storing leftovers in tiny tupperware containers that get lost in the back of my fridge! You salad sounds wonderful!

  20. Yum! I just makes a tomato-pasta salad that was really good. Hurray for tomato season!

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