Think: pasta salad, but instead of mayo, a delicious vinaigrette made with roasted garlic. This pasta salad is elevated, featuring roasted asparagus and red onion, tossed with a flavorful vinaigrette and fresh basil. Pasta salad with roasted garlic vinaigrette is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t enjoy a traditional mayo-based pasta salad. This pasta salad is a great side dish to accompany a barbeque, but also is easy enough to make mid-week as a side dish, or for an easy lunch meal prep.
What is in this pasta salad?
This un-traditional pasta salad features roasted asparagus and red onion, which offer great flavor on their own. Combined with a flavorful vinaigrette built around roasted garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, this pasta salad is made with simple, fresh, and delicious ingredients.
The star of this dish is the roasted garlic, which is used to flavor the vinaigrette. It is what sets this pasta salad apart from others in flavor and composition. If you’ve never roasted garlic before, you are in for a treat!
When garlic is roasted, it loses some of that sharp, pungent garlic flavor we are all so used to. Instead, it becomes subtly sweet with amazing depth of flavor. It’s actually hard to explain the flavor, because it’s so unique.
When the roasted garlic is blended, it becomes a paste-like consistency, and it is the perfect base to build a vinaigrette on. The roasted garlic adds such great flavor, that not much else has to be added to the vinaigrette. The only other ingredients to be added are balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. It couldn’t be simpler!
What do I need to make this pasta salad with roasted garlic vinaigrette?
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:
- red onion
- a bulb of garlic
- chicken broth
- orecchiette pasta
- You can use any other similar shape, like shells. I like the shape of this pasta, and it holds onto the vinaigrette really well.
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- fresh basil
How to make pasta salad with roasted garlic vinaigrette
Roasting the vegetables and garlic
The first step to this pasta salad (the step that takes the longest) is roasting the vegetables. To start this process, preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare a large baking sheet. Trim the woody ends off the asparagus, and then chop the asparagus into 1″ pieces. Then, peel the outer layer off the onions and slice the onions into rounds, about 1/4″ thick.
Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the sheet pan. Spray them with olive oil spray and season with 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and some fresh cracked pepper.
To prepare the garlic for roasting, trim 1/4″ off the top of the garlic to expose all of the cloves inside. Spray the exposed cloves with olive oil spray. Wrap the garlic bulb loosely in foil, and place the foil on the baking sheet with the other vegetables.
Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, and then toss them around, breaking the onions apart so they roast evenly. Then, return the sheet pan to the oven for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the asparagus and onion from the pan, and return the garlic wrapped in foil to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Make sure the vegetables are cooled before you handle them.
Add the roasted onion and asparagus to a large mixing bowl, and set the roasted garlic bulb aside to cool before assembling the vinaigrette.
Cooking the pasta
While the vegetables roast, get the pot ready to cook the pasta. Add the broth and water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Then, cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the roasted vegetables.
Making the roasted garlic vinaigrette
To make the roasted garlic vinaigrette, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the bulb into a food processor. Then, add the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Puree the ingredients to form a paste.
Add the paste to the bowl with the roasted vegetables and pasta. Toss to coat. Add the fresh basil. Taste for seasoning and add extra salt and pepper as desired.
The finished product will look like this. It makes 12 servings at 3/4 cup each.
- large pot
- baking sheet
- food processor
- 1 lb orecchiette pasta equivalent to 1 box; weighed raw, uncooked, dry
- 4 cups broth beef, chicken, veggie
- 4 cups water
- 2 bunches asparagus trimmed into 1" pieces
- 2 red onion sliced into rounds
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup basil
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Trim the woody ends off the asparagus, and then chop the asparagus into 1" pieces.
- Peel the onions and slice them into 1/4" rounds.
- Spray the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- Trim 1/4" off the top of the garlic bulb.
- Spray with olive oil, and then wrap the bulb loosely in foil.
- Place the bulb wrapped in foil on the baking sheet with the vegetables.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, then toss the vegetables and roast for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables from the sheet pan, but continue cooking the wrapped garlic bulb for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the garlic from the oven to cool.
- Add the roasted vegetables to a large mixing bowl.
- At the same time as the vegetables roast, pour the stock and water into a large pot.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, and then cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and add the pasta to the cooked vegetables in the mixing bowl.
- In a food processor, squeeze the roasted garlic from the bulb.
- Add the oil, vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Pulse to combine into a paste.
- Add the paste to the cooked pasta and vegetables. Chop the basil and add it to the bowl. Toss to combine.
- Taste for seasoning, and add additional salt or pepper, as desired.
- 5 WW points (green and blue plans)
- 2 WW points (purple plan, if you use whole wheat pasta)
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