Bacon Ranch Macaroni Salad That is Perfect for a Picnic

Bacon Ranch Macaroni Salad
source: www.dawnconklin.com

Bacon ranch macaroni salad has become a favorite here in our house.  The whole family absolutely loves it! I have made it a few times this summer to go along with grilled food and I am going to be making it for Labor Day also.

First I would like to give credit to Wilemon over at Allrecipes.com as I first got the idea from her Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad.  She also has some other great recipes there too.  I have since altered this recipe quite a bit just to add some veggies and this is how our family likes it.  Her recipe is quite good too, I just like to experiment a bit 🙂

What you will need for the bacon ranch macaroni salad:

peppers, 1/2 of each – I like to use red, green and yellow but if I only have green that is ok too (yellow peppers can be expensive)
2 tomatoes
16 ounces pasta of your choice

Bacon ranch macaroni salad before adding dressing
source: dawnconklin.com

onion or scallion, you only need about a quarter of an onion but can add more if you desire
1 carrot shredded
1 cucumber or 2-3 mini cucumbers
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp no salt seasoning (optional)
1 ranch dressing packet
1 and 1/2 cups mayo
about 1/2 cup milk (may need a little more)
1- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese – 1 cup will do but we love cheese.  I prefer to use Colby Jack, but Cheddar is great too.
bacon – about 10 slices cooked.  We use 15 slices of the pre-cooked but this equals about 10 of the fresh cooked bacon.

How to make the bacon ranch macaroni salad:

First you want to cook the pasta.  While the pasta is cooking, chop up your cucumber, peppers and onion.  Do NOT cut the tomatoes yet tho, they will be added right before serving so they don’t lose their flavor in the fridge.  If you are cooking your bacon, you will want to cook it while the noodles are cooking.  We used pre-cooked so I skip that step.

Drain the pasta and cool off with cold water.  Let the pasta sit for a couple minutes to make sure most of the water is drained after cooling.  Dump pasta in a big bowl.  Add your onion, cucumber, peppers and shredded carrot.  Mix it up.

Next you will want to crumble up the bacon and add the pieces to the mix, also add the shredded cheese.  In a small bowl, mix together the ranch packet, milk, mayo, garlic powder and no salt seasoning.  After the sauce is mixed well, add to the pasta mix and stir until the whole salad is coated with the dressing.

Let the salad sit in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours before serving.  Right before serving, chop your tomatoes and stir them in.  Also if your salad looks a little dry at this point, add a little milk or a touch of Ranch dressing (not mayo) to it and it will no longer be dry.

dressing for the bacon ranch macaroni salad

You are now ready to enjoy the bacon ranch macaroni salad that our whole family loves 🙂 Hope you enjoy!!

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