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Updated February 25, 2019
Grilling season is coming up around the corner (I know, I am super excited!) Salads are the go to here when grilling. They make the perfect and easy side dish to just about anything. Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is one of our favorites here in our house. Just make it in the morning and it is done and waiting for you. This makes it easier to pay attention to the grill. This makes a lot so it is great for a picnic. We make it and have it for a couple nights.
This is an old post that I revised since I started using my new favorite plugin to add recipes – WP Recipe Maker. It appears that I need to make my salad again soon and take a better picture! My camera and phone are more advanced then this now.
I also have a simple version with less ingredients (and no bacon if you are not sure about putting bacon in your salad) over at our cooking the blog – The Kitchen and a Latte. It is called Ranch Pasta Salad.
Making the Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
The salad is easy to make. You want to bring pasta to a boil and cook per directions on the box. I try not to overcook them when making a pasta salad. Well, I try not to overcook pasta anyway but especially with a pasta salad. Once it is done, drain and immediately rinse with cold water to cool it off – this also stops it from cooking more.
While pasta is cooking you will want to chop your vegetables. Do not chop the tomatoes yet tho. You will add them right before serving. They lose their flavor if they are in the fridge too long.
After your pasta has had a few minutes to drain (and is completely cool), dump it into a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables, shredded carrot, crumbled bacon and shredded cheese to the pasta. Stir to combine well.
Making the Dressing for the Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
The dressing is simple too. Mix together in a small bowl the garlic powder and ranch dressing packet. Next add the milk and mayo to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the dressing to the rest of the salad and toss until mixed together completely. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours to get the flavor throughout. If in a hurry, you can eat it right away, but the flavor soaks into the pasta better if it chills first.
Shortly before serving, chop your 2 tomatoes and add to the salad. Enjoy!
As a Note:
After the salad sits in the fridge it sometimes appears to be a little dry. The pasta soaks up some of the dressing and this is normal with a lot of pasta salads. In this case (unlike other pasta salads), do not add more mayo. Add a little bit of milk or a little bit of ranch dressing.
Also I really like using scallions in my salads but if you prefer, about half of a yellow onion can be used. We use the precooked bacon usually but fresh cooked is better.
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- 1/2 cup green pepper I use half the pepper
- 1/2 cup yellow pepper half the pepper
- 1/2 cup red pepper half the pepper
- 2 tomatoes diced I use 2 vine tomatoes
- 3 scallions chopped stalks and all
- 1 carrot shredded
- 1 large cucumber quartered and sliced or 2-3 small cukes
- 10 slices cooked bacon crumbled
- 1 cup shredded cheese cheddar or colby jack is recommended
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 oz dry ranch seasoning mix I use Hidden Valley
- 1 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup milk plus more if needed
- 16 oz pasta of choice
- Boil the pasta according to the directions on the box. Do not overcook. Once done, drain and immediately rinse with cold water to cool it down. Allow to drain for a few minutes. Dump into a large bowl once it has time to drain and cool down.
- While pasta is cooking – chop your scallion, cucumber, peppers and shred your carrot. Add them to your pasta in the large bowl. Add in bacon and shredded cheese and stir to combine well.
- In a small bowl combine garlic powder and ranch seasoning packet. Add in the mayo and milk then stir to mix well. Now add it to the pasta and mix it together. Chill for 2 hours or more.
- Shortly before serving you may need to add a little bit of milk or ranch dressing if it is a little dry looking. The pasta may have soaked up the liquid.Add the tomatoes and serve!