Creamy homemade ranch dressing coats every bite of pasta and vegetables in this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad. Sprinkled throughout with bacon bits and cheddar cheese, my kids absolutely went nuts over this salad. My boys would happily choose tacos, enchiladas, or even sandwiches, over a pasta salad most of the time. So, you can imagine my surprise when they dove into this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad for second helpings and the three of them ate almost the entire recipe in one sitting!
I’ve already promised my kids that I’d make this salad again very soon. I’m hoping to get more than a few bites for myself next time! This is a great salad to make for a potluck or summer party. I suspect that I’ll be making it all year long. I love having easy recipes like this one at my fingertips for nights when it’s too hot to even think about being in the kitchen. A few minutes spent in the kitchen after breakfast and you’ll have dinner ready whenever you are hungry for it.
- 8 ounces pasta shells
- 8 ounces frozen peas thawed, about 1 1/2 cups
- 6 ounces grape tomatoes about 1 cup, halved
- 4 ounces cheddar or Colby jack cheese about 3/4 cup shredded
- 1/2 pound bacon cooked and crumbled
- Optional: chopped avocado for topping
- Dressing Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chives
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, adding a generous tablespoon or so of kosher salt to the water as it cooks. When the pasta is tender, rinse well with cold water. While the pasta is cooking, rinse the peas to thaw them.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, dill, parsley, chives, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Add the lemon juice, taste, and add more lemon if desired.
- Add the peas, cooked pasta, tomatoes, cheese, and bacon to the mixing bowl with the dressing. Stir gently to coat all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir again just before serving. Enjoy!
This recipe multiplies nicely for a crowd. 1/2 cup of store-bought ranch dressing or homemade ranch dip can be substituted for the dressing listed in this recipe. If you're using this homemade ranch dip, you'll want to thin it with 1-2 tablespoons of milk, just enough to make it thick and pourable.
If you are making this salad with gluten free pasta, you'll want to make it right before serving it. Gluten free pasta noodles tend to get harder than we like after spending much time in the refrigerator.
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