Recipe by Diet It Up
This is a great little side dish for a BBQ and much healthier than the typical mayo-based macaroni salad. Olive Oil is packed with mono-unsaturated (good fats) and can help to achieve balanced cholesterol levels. I usually serve this at room temperature, but I've also served it hot and topped it with grilled chicken for a quick weeknight dinner.
Top Review by Jenny T.
Super easy to make. I would personally add some more tomatoes, probably double the tomatoes. Other than that, delish. I just popped the cheese and tomato mixture in freezer while i made the other stuff. I also baked some italian bread with olive oil, parmesan and garlic seasoning to go along with and it was delish!!!!
- 1 1⁄2 cups bite-size fresh mozzarella cheese balls, cut into quarters
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1⁄3 cup Italian salad dressing (I like using the Good Seasons packet dressing)
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb whole wheat bow tie pasta (I use barilla plus)
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- salt and pepper
Directions See How It's Made
- Toss the mozzarella and cherry tomatoes with the Italian dressing. Cover and refrigerate. If I'm making this for dinner, I usually get the cheese and tomatoes in the fridge to marinate a few hours before I plan to assemble the salad.
- In a skillet on low heat, heat the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook on low for 5-10 minutes allowing the garlic to soften (but not brown) and infuse the oil.
- Meanwhile, boil the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss to coat. Set the pasta mixture aside to cool.
- Once the pasta is cooled, add the cheese and tomatoes along with the dressing marinade. Season the salad with salt and pepper and top with 3 tablespoons fresh basil.