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Light Roasted Garlic Pasta Salad

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It’s Sunday Yum-Day again and I’m ready for the lighter foods that come with Springtime. I’m also looking for easy to fix ideas for both school lunches and take to work lunches, so pasta salad is a great option. Luckily I stumbled onto this light pasta salad recipe by Budget Bytes. Another great thing about this recipe? No Mayo!

Light Roasted Garlic Pasta Salad



  • 1 head roasted garlic (Note: the author of this recipe has a great way to roast garlic in the microwave, so don’t let this ingredient throw you off)
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. pasta shells
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • to taste salt & pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cups baby spinach

How gorgeous is this?



  1. Using a sharp knife, cut approximately ½ inch off the top of the head of garlic. Place the garlic bulb in a small bowl or dish and drizzle ½ tablespoon of olive oil over the exposed cloves. Cover the bowl with an inverted plate. Microwave on high, in one minute increments, until the garlic is soft and fragrant (about 2 minutes). Use caution when touching the dishes, they will be very hot. Allow the garlic to cool.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add the pasta, and cook for 7-10 minutes or until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta cooking water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, squeeze the garlic cloves from the head and mince well. Add the minced garlic to a medium bowl along with the ricotta cheese, a healthy dose of freshly cracked pepper, and about ½ tsp of salt. Add the ½ cup of hot, starchy pasta cooking water. Stir until it forms a smooth sauce.
  4. Drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the warm pot (the burner should be turned off). Add the fresh baby spinach and pour the ricotta sauce over top. Slice the cherry tomatoes and add them to the pot as well. Stir until everything is well mixed. Add in the parmesan cheese and stir again. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm!

*** My own 2 cents: I added diced ham for a protein punch and made this more of a main course than a side dish. Plus, I just love ham.

Check out this recipe and other budget-friendly yummies on Budget Bytes, a blog for foodies looking to save cash without sacrificing taste.

Pics via Budget Bytes.