Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella

by formerchef on June 29, 2010

Post image for Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella

My mother and I are a lot alike. People often confuse our voices on the phone, we’ve been known to (independently of one another) buy the same shoes, and we share the same Sicilian temper which flares up on occasion.

But I am not my mother and this is not her justifiably famous macaroni salad. I can’t compete, so I won’t even try. In fact, I still don’t know exactly what she puts in it, so I simply made up my own, and the two salads can stand proudly side by side, as individuals, just as we do.

This salad is a twist on the traditional, adding in some old world flavors and the sweetness of fresh corn so readily available in summer. It’s an easy side salad for a summer BBQ or picnic and makes enough for a crowd.

Tell me, do you have a family recipe which you’ve tweaked or updated?

Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella Recipe
Printable Recipe in PDF

1 lb salad macaroni (small, short cut, uncooked)
3 ears of fresh corn, cooked and cut off the cob
1 pint grape tomatoes (the smaller, the better)
3 stalks of celery, small dice
2 shallots, minced
6 oz basil pesto
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2″ cubes
salt and pepper to taste

Cook and cool the salad macaroni. Toss it with a tablespoon of olive oil to keep it from sticking together while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Boil the corn for about 5 minutes and then shock in ice water to halt the cooking. When cold, cut the corn kernals off the cob. Dice the celery and mince the shallots.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked macaroni, fresh corn, tomatoes, diced celery, and shallots. Fold in the pesto, mayonnaise and red wine vinegar. Fold in the diced mozzarella and season with salt and pepper to taste.

1 Maria June 29, 2010 at 7:03 am

What a great salad for summer time. I love your photos too.

2 marla {family fresh cooking} June 29, 2010 at 7:53 am

What a great summer salad, love the addition of pesto. So colorful 🙂

3 Myra June 29, 2010 at 9:40 am

It’s my Mom’s potato salad. She gave me the recipe, but it never tastes the same . Moms have special cooking powers like that. I just harvested my basil — but once it grows in, I’m going to make this. I love the addition of fresh corn.

4 formerchef June 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Myra- See Sharon’s comment below. I was going to say the same thing-there’s a salad my grandmother used to make that neither of us could duplicate!

5 Maureen June 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

I needed a pasta salad for an upcoming party and this will be it. Thanks for posting so many veg-friendly recipes. (I love the colours. Hopefully I can find some yellow grape tomatoes too.)

6 Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen June 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

This is picnic perfect!

7 Cassie, June 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Awesome! I have shallots & basil from the garden and wanted to use them up. Perfect for 4th of July BBQ. Thanks! Can’t wait to make it.

8 Cassie, July 5, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Made it for the 4th and it was a hit! yummy 🙂 I ate the leftovers today with some cubed chicken breast-made for a great lunch. Thank you!

9 formerchef July 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Cassie-Thanks for letting me know. I’m sure it was really good with the chicken too!

10 Sharon Miro June 29, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Myra you are right. Even if I gave her the recipe, it would not taste the same. It’s all in the hands, and how they work. My mom made this tomato, onion cucumber thing that NO ONE can duplicate—but I am here to attest that this Mac salad is really really good!

11 Laura June 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm

This looks like a great recipe for a BBQ, I can’t wait to try it this weekend! Is this one of those salads that’s better prepared the day before or the day of the event?

12 formerchef June 29, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Both are good. If you want to prepare it in advance it will be fine, just check it for seasoning the next day.

13 Angela@spinachtiger June 29, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Such a great salad for this time of year. Great to take to picnics too.

14 Charles G Thompson June 29, 2010 at 8:18 pm

My mother makes a pretty good scalloped potato dish that I also like to make but I use her recipe so it’s not necessarily tweaked. I love that the noodle is macaroni in your salad – reminds me of my childhood and family picnics.

15 Vivian June 30, 2010 at 6:54 am

I love this. Definitely will have basil in abundance for pesto again. I never can get my chicken adobo or pancit to turn out the same as my mothers no matter how closely I follow her instructions. I tweak the pancit recipe to use seasonal vegetables now instead of what she traditionally uses, and I think it is pretty good. But nothing tastes better to me than the food the that I grew up with from her kitchen.

16 My Man's Belly July 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I love the little pasta you used in this. I know the different shapes don’t taste different, but the right shape really make the salad look so good.

I know what you mean about mom’s and their recipes. My mom wouldn’t give me her peach pie recipe until I got married and my husband still prefers my mom’s pie to mine.

17 formerchef July 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm

That pasta shape is actually called “salad pasta.” I used it because that’s what my mom uses in hers. 🙂

18 Michelle July 2, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Looks perfect for our fourth celebration, thank you for sharing. Stunning website and photos, also. I love the grouping of the three photos, looks so nice. Your site looks so fresh and clean and really sets off the recipes.

19 formerchef July 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Michelle-Thanks for the nice comments about the site. It’s a lot of hard work so I appreciate it when people notice.

20 Chef Gwen July 2, 2010 at 4:38 pm

That salad looks scrumptious. I’d have to tweak it, as my guy doesn’t eat mayo. I loved the intro, and I think that you and your Mom are so lucky to be such good friends in addition to being mother and daughter. Makes me miss my mom (who was my best friend until my husband came along, and then she became my co-best friend). Happy 4th!

21 Bianca P. July 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I just made this pasta dish for tonight and it is chilling in the fridge right now. It is soooo….good!!! I followed the directions exactly. Thanks 🙂

22 formerchef July 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Bianca-Thanks for letting me know. I’m glad you like it!

23 dining room set July 12, 2010 at 4:38 am

To all pasta, I really hate macaroni. I don’t like the taste of it. But after seeing your Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella I think it is going to be one of my favorite foods.

24 Judie July 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I made this over the weekend and it is delicious!! The pasta I used is the same shape as yours and is called ditalini pasta, by Barilla.

25 Tokyo Terrace July 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I absolutely adore using fresh corn in recipes like this. The sweet crunch adds such a beautiful texture contrast and adds a unique twist. Love this recipe!

26 Ashley's Cooking Adventures May 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Found you via pinterest. This salad looks amazing, love the combination of fresh grilled corn and mozzarella! I hope to make this soon!

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