Pasta salad is one of those dishes that seems like simple party fare, but easily winds up becoming incredibly expensive. From prosciutto to smoked mozzarella to expensive olive oil and fresh herbs, making a pasta salad for a cookout can leave your bank account drier than your hair after a day in a chlorinated pool.
But we have some good news: There is a way to make delicious, inexpensive pasta salad without skimping on fresh flavors.
Experiencing Big Taste On A Small Budget
The recipe comes to us from Budget Bytes, a site dedicated to creating big tastes on small budgets. Each serving of this will only cost you $1.06… which is good news, ’cause you’re probably going to want seconds.
The secret to the recipe is using roasted garlic. Garlic is an inexpensive and powerful way to pack a punch in any dish, but roasting it helps to elevate the flavor and turn this simple pasta dish into something impressive and memorable.
And, no worries, you don’t have to turn on the oven on a hot day just to roast the garlic. You can use the microwave!
Don’t Forget The Cheese!
The other item that makes this dish a stand-out is the ricotta cheese. Most pasta salads tend to feature cubed cheeses, such as mozzarella or cheddar, but ricotta can actually be an amazing way to dress pasta salad.
Instead, take 1/2 cup of the boiling water from the pasta, and mix it with the ricotta cheese until it creates a smooth, creamy sauce. (And, of course, mince up some of that fresh roasted garlic and toss it in with the sauce as well.)
And the nice thing about this recipe is that you can really make it your own. You can use fresh herbs like basil or dill, or toss in artichokes, olives or blanched broccoli.
I think I would add some fresh lemon to the dressing to give it some extra taste, along with some red pepper for added punch. What about you?
Get the full recipe from Budget Bytes.
Even More Salad Ideas
And, now that the nice weather is finally making an appearance, we’re sure you’re looking for more ways to bring salad back into your regular meal rotation. Here are a couple of quick ideas to keep things healthy, interesting and delicious with your salad game.
Homemade Dressing Recipes
Sure, it’s quick and easy to just grab a bottle of dressing, but it is pretty simple to create your own culinary masterpiece. And, with dressing being such an important part of what makes a salad great, why not give a few of these six ideas a try! We have recipes for classics such as ranch dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, French, Italian, blue cheese and poppyseed.
Looking for other healthy options? We’ve got your salad covered, so to speak, with these 11 healthy (and delicious) salad dressing ideas, including this blackberry tarragon recipe!
Take Your Salad With You
If having a yummy salad for lunch sounds great, but the sogginess brings you down, then we have some help for you. There is a way to pre-pack your salads for work so they stay fresh all week.
Whether you prefer to use resealable plastic containers or the trendy mason jars, you can create and keep a salad that will be the envy of your work buddies.
RELATED: Make sure you have the best salad by using the freshest veggies! Here are some tips to keep your food fresh for longer.