Cranberry Almond Pasta Salad

I get asked a lot for this recipe, especially this time of year. It can be a quick and easy side dish, or a simply delicious entree.

  • As a side dish, it pairs well with traditional holiday entrees, like turkey or ham.
  • As an entree, it’s a great way to use leftover turkey or ham.

Of course, those who know me know I’m all about efficiency in the kitchen and in meal planning, so no surprise that the dry ingredients in this recipe can be made up as a homemade ‘mix’ that you can keep in the pantry AND has more variations than just a pasta salad.


Using quart sized zip lock bags, package up the dry ingredients to stock your pantry with several (or a bunch!) of mixes that you can grab on a busy day. Add a few fresh or liquid ingredients and your meal or side dish is served.

GOT KIDS? Bring them into the kitchen to help make up a batch of these homemade mixes.

  • Set it up like an assembly line, assigning 1 person to each ingredient and pass the bags around the table, OR…
  • Set it up as a round table process. Line up all of the ingredients with their measuring utensils, place a stack of bags at the front of the ingredient line and let each person go down the line to make a full mix.


I like to make up the dry mix as a dressing and to have on hand for a variety of quick side dishes on a busy day. Whenever I plan to make the pasta salad, I just make a double or even triple portion of the ‘dressing’ part of the recipe and keep it in a jar in the fridge. It’s great poured over things like…

  • 2 lbs of shredded cabbage for a festive cranberry slaw
  • 1 lb of chopped broccoli florets and some crumbled bacon
  • 4 large apples, chopped (green and red), 2 cups chopped pecans and some diced cheddar cheese

To make it easy for you, here are some printable recipe cards with all of the ‘make a mix’ tips and variation suggestions.


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