Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Hello Everyone! And just like that, another month in quarantine has passed and we’re two days away from the 8th month of the year. It’s crazy just thinking how we’ve gone through more than a third of a year (from mid-March to present day), here in the Philippines that is, in quarantine. I’m still lucky to be one of the few companies that still require a majority of their staff to work safely at home, but that may change in the next few days. There’s a high chance that it will be mandatory to report back to the office IF we do not go into another lockdown by August 1.

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

Moving on, I remember that this wasn’t a recipe I had originally planned to tackle for my blog. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I had initially wanted to share with you guys. I was scrolling through recipes one Friday evening after work, looking for new recipes to add to my weekly menu so that I could prepare my market/grocery list for my weekend shop. I came across this recipe and thought, wow! Garlic bread AND pasta, together, tossed in a salad? YES! Plus, the dish fits perfectly with the theme of green for Colours of the Rainbow.

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad ; Garlic Focaccia Bread

With crispy garlic bread croutons and a creamy homemade caesar dressing, this easy pasta salad will be a hit with family and friends over a summer backyard barbecue! I used store-bought olive focaccia bread for the croutons, but really you can just use plain bread such as white, wheat, sourdough, etc. for this. You can also get creative and use your favourite veggies for this dish, and even swap out the caesar dressing for a healthier or lighter option. I think a simple thyme, lemon, and olive oil dressing would do the trick too!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Taste Australia. Also, I have a little announcement for you guys at the end of this post so make sure to read it!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad Ingredients


* Can serve more as a small side dish


For the pasta salad

  • 250g fusilli, or any other type of pasta
  • 100g green beans, trimmed
  • 100g baby asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut to the same lengths of the french beans
  • 2 green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized avocados, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch choice of leafy greens, trimmed and leaves separated
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives
  • Handful of finely chopped malunggay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Shaved parmesan, to garnish

For the garlic bread

  • 200g day-old bread, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Handful of finely chopped malunggay leaves

For the caesar dressing

  • 1/3 cup free range egg mayonnaise
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Handful of grated parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice


  1. Caesar Dressing: Combine all the ingredients for the caesar dressing into a small bowl and whisk together. Taste and adjust as needed and then set aside in the fridge before using. You may make this a day ahead to allow the flavours to fully develop overnight, otherwise it’s also good on the same day.
  2. Garlic Bread: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Heat butter and garlic in a small saucepan over medium and cook until the butter is foamy.
  4. Place the bread in a large mixing bowl and pour the butter mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with half of the chopped malunggay leaves. Toss until evenly combined and then transfer the bread mixture to your prepared baking tray.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toasted. Once done, sprinkle the remaining malunggay leaves and then set aside to cool.
  6. Pasta Salad: While the garlic bread is baking in the oven, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water,following packet directions or until al dente. Add the asparagus and green beans in the last 3 minutes of cooking of the pasta. Drain and refresh under cold running water, and then drain again before transferring to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Add three-quarters of the caesar dressing the pasta and veggies. Toss to combine and then add the avocado, black olives, shaved parmesan, and half of the garlic bread croutons. Toss again before transferring it onto a large serving dish.
  8. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, and top with the remaining garlic bread croutons and extra shaved parmesan. Serve and enjoy as a side salad with baked, grilled, or pan-fried salmon (or any other choice of meat that tickles your taste buds)!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have a special announcement to make. For those of you who have been loyal followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen since 2015, you’ll know that every year for the month of August, I gather my fellow foodie friends to feature their own recipe on my blog. With the theme of the year being Colours of the Rainbow each guest foodie, or also known as an  Auguester, has chosen a colour of the rainbow that they will translate into their dish. This year I’ve managed to round up 12 foodies, with some returning faces since I started the series 5 years ago, and some fresh new faces for this year. All I can say that it’s going to be an exciting month so stayed tuned for that! Our first Auguester will be live on the blog on Monday 3rd August!

Garlic Bread Pasta Salad with Pan-fried Salmon


– Ally xx

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

Hello Everyone! Unfortunately it’s snap back to reality, (oh there goes gravity) for all (some?) of us. I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New Year break, and y’all are ready to tackle what 2020 has in store for you! I’m going to keep the introduction short only because I saved a little something for last in this post for tonight. It has become a tradition that I do every beginning of year on the blog, for you guys to get the chance to know more about me on a personal level. So if you want to go ahead and read it, continue scrolling after you’ve had a read through the recipe of course!

Since towards the end of 2019, I have been slowly cutting down on my meat intake, specifically beef and pork (with very rare cheat/naughty days). I still ate chicken and seafood though and this year I am going to attempt to, if not completely cut out then, at least reduce my intake of chicken. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully go vegetarian, ever, but I think I can survive a couple of days a week of being completely vegetarian.

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

The original recipe by Rachael Ray over on Rachael Ray Mag, that inspired me to make and share this dish with you tonight is far from being vegetarian. I painfully ditched the ground beef and Italian sausages from the recipe and instead loaded the dish up with hearty and flavourful vegetables such as portobello or swiss brown mushrooms, eggplant, celery, and carrots. Just as delicious as Italian sausages *cries internally*! Of course, don’t forget to substitute the chicken stock out for veggie stock instead. However, if you’re a meat lover, then by all means go ahead and follow Rachael Ray’s recipe.

(Apologies, the intro ended up being much longer than I had anticipated when I said that I’d keep it short *cheeky grin*)

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup Ingredients


* Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a side dish or starter.


For the soup

  • 250g Mafalde pasta**
  • 250g portobello or swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 1 can (400g) whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups passata or tomato purée
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced or minced
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 large Lebanese eggplant, diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the cheese mixture

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, or crème fraîche
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

To garnish & serve with

  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Garlic bread, on the side

** Mafaldine, also known as Reginette or simply Mafalda or Mafalde, is a type of ribbon-shaped pasta. It is flat and wide, usually about 1cm in width, with wavy edges on both sides. It is prepared similarly to other ribbon-based pasta such as linguine and fettuccine. If not available in your local grocers, then by all means you can use lasagna sheets as stated in the original recipe, or any other shaped pasta.


  1. Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until a few minutes shy of the package directions. In my case, package states 13 minutes, so I cooked them for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and then set aside.
  2. Cheese Mixture: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the mascarpone, parm, and cream together. Season with a touch of salt and then set aside.
  3. Soup: In a soup pot or heavy duty Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sliced onions and cook until soft, a further 30 to 45 seconds. Add the chopped celery stalks and carrots, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and eggplant in together with the dried thyme, dried bay leaves, and chipotle peppers. Cook for a further minute.
  4. Pour the canned tomatoes, passata, and vegetable stock over the sautéd vegetables, and give it a good stir. Reduce the heat down to medium-low. Cover and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. Check and stir occasionally. After about 15 minutes, add the cooked Mafalde pasta to the pot and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve: Once done transfer to individual soup bowls. Top each serving with a fat dollop of the cheese mixture and garnish with basil leaves.
  6. Serve with hot, steamy, and crusty garlic bread on the side. I used leftover wholemeal bread slices that was sitting in our pantry and made a garlic-malunggay butter spread for it. Enjoy!

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup


Now as promised at the beginning of this post:

Most people make resolutions and either keep them or forget about them after the first month. I personally have never made any resolutions ever only because, knowing myself, I’d never stick to them. It was only until recently (two years ago to be exact), that I started living by an intention in mind on how I would go about to tackle the year ahead. Last year, it was to:

Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen.
Trusting that whichever way it goes, it’s for the best.

Sometimes I scare myself for how true my intention played out for the year. I entered 2019 with challenges I hadn’t overcome from the previous year, and in time, with this intention I had set, I overcame those challenges. It may not have turned out the way I had originally planned, but I believe that it was for the best.

You see, when I left my job in Brunei, it was because I had a job waiting for me in Australia. Unfortunately I fell short when it came to acquiring a visa to go and work there. With that, I gave up my opportunity to go to Australia. I decided to just go with the flow and see where I’d go next; maybe Australia wasn’t meant for me. Just yet.

I decided to find work here in the Philippines. It wasn’t easy. I was unemployed for 7-8 months and running on the little savings that I had to support not only myself, but my Mom and my sister. It was hard because we were basically starting from scratch having just moved away for good from Brunei. I was starting to fall into a bad place, mentally. I questioned myself and my abilities. I questioned why I couldn’t land a job. Every interview I went to had such promising things to say, not only about my skills and abilities, but my personality as well. But I always fell short in the end. There was always the better candidate. But by God’s grace, I finally landed a job after more than a hundred applications. Finally someone who believed in my capabilities rather than being threatened by them.

I was finally back on my feet. But nothing, nothing. Nothing could have prepared me for the ultimate challenge that was unexpectedly thrown at me. The heavens gained a warm and kind-hearted angel. That angel is Mother. I’m not going to get into much detail on this topic, but all I can say is that it wasn’t until this that I realised why I ended up not going to Australia for work and landed a job here instead. It was so that I could spend the remaining time my Mom had left in this world with her, by her side, up to her last breath.

Towards the end of 2019 (actually just about 2 weeks ago), I was scrolling through Facebook one day and came across this post that my cousin shared:


It really resonated with me. God did make me strong for the challenges I faced this 2019. Even though losing a loved one, especially a mother, comes with so much pain, He has already blessed me with a very unexpected gift before 2019 ended. So I believe and trust that He will push through with His plans for me, to make me happy for 2020.

And now I also truly believe that ending up here in the Philippines instead of going to Australia, was the for the best.

My goal for 2020 is to be happy, no matter what.

– Ally xx