Pasta Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing

*May 2013: I wrote a little update on the Italian dressing.

We’re going camping tomorrow so I’ve been busy preparing the food and getting the fridge packed.  Phil asked me to make some pasta salad to take to work today, so I made a double batch so we’d have some to bring along.

The recipe was on an old favorite, passed on by a friend, and I hadn’t made it in a while.  It has very few ingredients but calls for bottled Italian dressing, which we don’t buy anymore.  So I decided to look for a recipe.  I, of course, put my own spin on one that I found and we were really happy with the way it turned out.  So now I’ve got pasta salad sitting in the fridge and an extra batch of dressing for fresh-lettuce-from-the-garden salad.

Pasta Salad
(freel free to double the recipe) 
1 box tri-color rotini (or any pasta you prefer)
1 big bunch of broccoli, cut into small pieces
1/2 container grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 block montery jack cheese, cubed
1 recipe Homemade Italian Dressing (recipe follows)

Cook the pasta according to the directions; leave slightly al dente.  Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.  Stir in the broccoli, tomatoes and cheese.  Add half the dressing, stir to incorporate, and taste to see if it’s to your liking.  We don’t like our pasta salad dripping with dressing, but if you like yours a bit dressing-ier, continue to add more until it’s to your liking.

Homemade Italian Dressing
(based on the fresh fridge’s Homemade Italian Dressing Seasoning)
1T granulated garlic
1T onion powder
2T dried oregano (I used about 3 stalks dried oregano from my garden)
5 sprigs fresh parsley, stems removed
1T honey
1t sea salt
1t ground black pepper
dash red pepper flakes
5 large leaves fresh basil, cut into pieces
1/2t dried thyme (I used the dried stems from my garden)
1/4c rice wine vinegar &/or apple cider vinegar (I mixed the two)
1/2c olive oil

Blend everything in a blender and keep in a glass container in the fridge.

The original recipe calls for all dried herbs, but I used a combination of fresh and dried, depending on what I had on hand (mostly from the garden and farmers’ market).  I would love to try it with all fresh herbs – maybe even garlic cloves and some onion instead of the powders – and if you do so keep in mind that you need a greater quantity of fresh when a recipe calls for dried because the latter has a more concentrated flavor.  The flavor is wonderful!


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