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Recipe for roasted garlic salad dressing {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Garlic ready for roasting.

The other day as I wandered through the produce section of the grocery store in our village, I spied small jars of garlic paste, four ounces for $2.29. Garlic, salt, preservatives: No, thank you. Instead, I bought eight heads of garlic for $2.50, and in less than two hours -- mostly oven time -- made eight ounces of my own roasted garlic paste with salt and pepper, fresh thyme from the garden, and extra virgin olive oil. Half went into the freezer, some got slathered on bruschetta, and the rest morphed into a roasted garlic salad dressing, mellow and sweet, perfect for a tomato salad or pasta sauce. The method couldn't be easier, and if you're looking for a new favorite salad dressing, this just might be it.


Slice the tops off the garlic heads. You can make one or two at a time, but it's just as easy to make more. Drizzle with salt, pepper and olive oil, and add some thyme from the garden if you have it. Wrap the garlic tightly in aluminum foil, and bake for 1-1/2 hours.

Roasted garlic cloves, ready for anything!

When the garlic is done, it will be lightly browned and very soft, and it will smell like heaven.

Squeeze the cloves out of the roasted garlic heads.

Gently squeeze the cloves into a bowl. You will get oil and garlic all over your fingers. Go ahead and lick that off when you've squeezed all of the cloves out.

Mash the garlic with a fork to make a paste.

Mash the cloves gently with a fork to create a rustic garlic paste. Refrigerate or freeze, in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Roasted garlic salad dressing.

Roasted garlic salad dressing

From the pantry, you'll need: garlic, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, thyme, honey, rice vinegar.

Makes 1/2 cup garlic paste; makes 1/4 cup salad dressing, with leftover garlic.


For the roasted garlic paste:
8 whole heads of garlic
1-1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Large pinch of kosher salt
Large pinch of black pepper
Large sprig of fresh thyme (optional, but very nice)

For the dressing:
1 tsp roasted garlic paste
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice the top half-inch off each head of garlic. Set the garlic on alumnimum foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the garlic with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the thyme on top. Fold up the foil to seal the packet tightly.

Bake at 400F for 1-1/2 hours, until the tops of the garlic heads are medium-brown and the garlic cloves are soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves into a small bowl. Mash gently with a fork. (At this point, the garlic paste can be refrigerated in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, or frozen.)

To make the dressing, combine 1 teaspoon of the paste with the remaining ingredients in a small jar. Shake vigorously to emulsify the dressing.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
All-purpose agave-balsamic vinaigrette
Ginger-maple-miso salad dressing
Chipotle-balsamic salad dressing
Chicken and avocado lettuce boats with buttermilk Dijon dressing
Potato salad with sesame dressing

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Roasted garlic and onion jam, from Panini Happy
Cannellini beans and roasted garlic, from Sass & Veracity
Roasted garlic pasta salad, from Budget Bytes
Roasted garlic and tomato bruschetta, from My Baking Addiction
Roasted garlic and olive focaccia, from Eclectic Recipes

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Looks delicious and so easy! How long will the garlic paste and salad dressing be good if kept in the fridge?

Clara, that's a great question. I've kept mine for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. For anything longer than that, it's best to freeze the garlic paste. Then you can use it for salad dressing, in pasta, on bruschetta -- well, dozens of ways!

Great idea! I have never done this with garlic and I know I should!

Kalyn, you absolutely should. This is one of those pantry staples for me, like slow-roasted tomatoes in the freezer.

We are big fans of garlic, but until now I never tried making my own garlic paste. But since I have a lot of garlic in my pantry I think that I should try :)

Adriana, did I mention how incredibly good the house smells when the garlic is roasting? Apart from being easy to do, it's great to have roasted garlic on hand to add to so many dishes.

Just reading this makes me crave some roasted garlic - although it might not be the best move before my afternoon meetings!

Love the idea of using this as a pasta sauce. I've pinned it.

TW, you know what they say about garlic -- always better to share!

Barbara, it's great with pasta, some grated parmesan, salt and pepper -- nothing more needed.

I may have missed it but don't see the oven temp mentioned.

Lee, it's in the recipe at the end of the post: 400°F.

My kids love roasted garlic so I can only imagine how much they'd like your roasted garlic salad dressing! I agree, so easy to make at home and so much better (and less expensive).

Jeanette, I love that your kids have sophisticated palates and enjoy all sorts of foods.

YUmmmmmmmm. It never occurred tome to use roasted garlic on anything but bread and mashed potatoes!! nice!!

Carol, once you have this in your fridge or freezer, you are going to find all kinds of uses for it. How about pasta?

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