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Category: pasta salad

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Dressing

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Dressing

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Dressing. This is one of the easiest dressings ever! It only requires four ingredients, and it is so good.

It’s a lot like Alfredo sauce, but cold, so it is great for pasta salad if you are in the mood for a creamy one instead of one dressed with a vinaigrette.

And if you love left-over chicken Alfredo, but hate the way it gets all congealed when it’s cold and then doesn’t really get a good texture back when you reheat it, this is the perfect make-ahead substitute. Just cook your pasta and chicken, put them in a sealable container, toss it well with some of this dressing, and refrigerate. Perfect cold “chicken Alfredo” for breakfast!

I’m completely spoiled to homemade dressing, but it took me a while to get my system down so it wasn’t so much work. When I make this one, I make a batch of Homemade Ranch at the same time. But now I premix the dry ingredients for my Ranch and store enough for several batches.

I also have an amazing batter bowl that my mom got from the Farmer’s Market for my birthday. I’ll have to post pictures of it later. I mix my dressings in that, using a stick blender (you can use a whisk of a fork), and then I pour them into sauce jars that I have saved.

I label them, using painter’s tape, with the expiration date of the ingredient that has the closest expiration date. For me that’s usually the buttermilk. That works better than just labeling them with the “made on” date because when I did that I still had to go look at the expiration dates on my ingredients to know if the dressing was good, and if I had already thrown out the containers for the ingredients I was screwed.


1 bulb garlic (roasted)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup buttermilk

To Roast the Garlic:

Set the oven to about 350 or 400 (preheating is not necessary). Cut the top off the bulb of garlic. Put it in a ramekin or another little oven-proof bowl-type thing. drizzle with olive oil. Put it in the oven until it’s golden brown, usually somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour. I know it’s time to check it because I can smell it.

Remove from the oven and let cool! You can roast the garlic a day or two before you make the dressing and just keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to go, but it’s easier to squish out at room temperature.

To Make the Dressing:

Squish roasted garlic into a bowl.
Add mayonnaise and Parmesan. Blend well with a stick blender, whisk or fork. Add buttermilk. Blend well again.
Pour into a sealable container or cover your bowl and refrigerate.
Label with expiration date if desired.

That’s it!

Tortellini Veggie and Pesto Salad

Tortellini Veggie and Pesto Salad

We just harvested out basil for the first time, and I wanted to make something with it. This is very similar to my Pasta Salad with Tortellini, but does not call for store bought dressing.

Fresh basil
Fresh garlic
Olive oil


Ground beef

Balsamic vinegar
Onion salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Cook tortellini and steam vegetables. Brown meat. All Vegetables should be cut up very small. In the food processor process basil, garlic, and olive oil until close to smooth (making pesto). Toss tortellini, meat, vegetables, and pesto together in a bowl. Add vinegar, onion salt, and pepper to taste.

You can eat this right away while it’s still warm or chill it. The longer it chills, the better it tastes!

Sandi’s Tortellini Salad

Sandi’s Tortellini Salad

2 packages cooked tortellini
1 stick butter
8 oz Sliced mushrooms
Diced fresh tomatoes (1 large or several romas)
Diced fresh onion (1 medium)
Minced or sliced fresh garlic (about 4 large cloves)
Salt and pepper
Cubed Cheddar (optional)
Diced avocado (optional)

Sauté half of the garlic and half of the onions in butter for about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for 15 to 20 minutes stirring often. Toss together tomatoes, remaining garlic, and remaining onion. Toss the mixture with the cooked tortellini (and cheddar and avocado if desired). Pour mushrooms with butter over the top and mix together gently.

Basic Alfredo Sauce

Basic Alfredo Sauce

Butter, 1 stick
Garlic, as much as you can stand to peel and slice
Half and half, 1 pint
Parmesan, 6-8 oz
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter on medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add half and half and bring up to hot but DO NOT BOIL, whisking constantly. When half and half is hot add parmesan slowly, whisking constantly, it should melt pretty quickly. Whisk until thoroughly blended.

Pasta Salad with Tortellini

Pasta Salad with Tortellini

Tortellini (1 package)
Roast beef (sliced for sandwich meat, about 1/3 or ½ cup)
Carrots (2)
Peas (3/4 cup)
Broccoli (3 florets)
Feta (2 tablespoons)
Sharp cheddar (2 oz)
Italian dressing

This turned out really yummy. I used fresh carrots and broccoli and frozen peas. Steam all three on high heat for 10 minutes, then turned off the heat and left the lid on for 5 more minutes. Cut up the carrots and broccoli into very small pieces. Dump it all into your bowl. Save the water if you can for cooking the tortellini (you will need to add more, of course). While the water is heating and the tortellini is cooking, cut up the roast beef and cheese, into very tiny pieces and add to veggies. Cook tortellini al dente (in other words, DO NOT overcook, unless you prefer it mushy). When the tortellini is done, drain and rinse with cold water. Add to bowl, gently stir the mixture to mix evenly, add dressing and stir some more.

Once this is all mixed together, let it rest while you prepare you other dishes. It will cool, but it does not need to chill. It goes very well with steak.

The ingredients can be varied a lot! Just make sure you don’t go crazy with everything else and overwhelm the tortellini (something I have a tendency to do). Bacon or other types of sandwich meat would substitute great for the roast beef. This is a great dish for getting rid of leftovers and the last bit of cheese that isn’t really enough to do anything else with.

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad, by Sandra Yvonne Duke

You can vary this recipe in many ways for different flavors, and different purposes. I suggest playing with different amounts and kinds of vegetables. I use Simply Organic salad dressing mix because it has no MSG!

1 package garlic vinaigrette (or Italian) dressing mix
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
1/3 cup flax oil
1/3 cup olive oil
Fresh oregano (if available, if not dried will work)
Fresh basil (see above)

Mix together dressing mix, vinegar and water. Once well blended add oregano, basil, flax oil, and olive oil. Let stand one hour. Refrigerate until chilled (can be made a day ahead).

12 oz dried pasta (spirals, shells, wheels, any shape or combo will work, but I don’t recommend long pastas like spaghetti)
1 head broccoli (florettes only, chopped up fairly small)
½ pint Cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 avocados
12 oz tofu, cubed

Cook pasta al dente and rinse with cold water until all pasta has cooled. Rinse pan in cold water until it is cool also, and return pasta to pan. While pasta is cooking, cut up broccoli, tomatoes, avocados, and tofu and place in a large bowl (add sauce as soon as you cut up the avocados to keep them from turning brown). Combine well with pasta. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to one hour.

Tip: The bowl I like to use for this is just barely large enough to hold it all, so after I have combined everything except for the pasta, I pour it all into the large pot I cook the pasta in, where I have plenty of room to mix it with the pasta, then I pour it back into the bowl.