Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Easy to make and incredibly versatile, this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish recipe for potlucks, bbqs, and parties!

On the weekends, I like to have something in the refrigerator for my husband to grill. He works late most weeknights, and rarely gets to eat dinner with us, but on the weekends, we can enjoy our meals as a family, and I enjoy handing off some of the meal prep duties. Last week, he grilled up some chicken, and I made this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad. Teamwork!

When we’re cooking together, it reminds me of back before children, when we’d get home from work around the same time and make dinner together. Almost every night he’d grill some protein and I’d make a salad or rice or something, and we’d talk about our day.

I love having dinner with my husband and children, but there was something relaxing and simple about those early years, when we were using whatever language we wanted to recap our day, and we didn’t need to dance around complicated topics because of little ears. These days we may delve into complicated issues like racism or sexism or climate change, but with an 8 and 10-year-old, we often have to provide tons of background information and discuss the nuances of our culture and our world. And sometimes, I just want to eat my pork chop and talk about the news with another grown-up.

This Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is a good compromise between our old and new life. It’s got lots of good stuff in it, but it’s all foods my kids will eat. I’d like to say I crafted this recipe with that goal in mind, but really it was a “Clean out the refrigerator and pantry” type of recipe.

I make tons of impromptu, haphazard recipes for my family, but I don’t share many of those dishes here because the recipes would say things like, “Add some mayo. Maybe a little more. Stir it up. Maybe a little more garlic powder. Now look for something nutritious your kids will eat. Oh, look! Olives and tomatoes! Throw those in. No, wait! Cut them in half at least so no one chokes.”

And ain’t nobody got time for that.

Easy to make and incredibly versatile, this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish recipe for potlucks, bbqs, and parties!

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS

12 oz macaroni or other pasta
1 cup mayo
1 packet ranch dressing mix (my favorite is Uncle Dan’s Classic Ranch)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Small can olives, sliced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup bacon bits
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
Fresh basil
Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta according to package directions, making sure not to overcook. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add mayo and ranch packet. Whisk to combine. Stir ranch and mayo mixture into pasta until all pasta is coated. Fold in tomatoes, olives, cucumber, bacon bits, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Stir gently.

Pepper to taste, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving for best results.

Before serving, give it one more stir, and top with fresh basil.


Easy to make and incredibly versatile, this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish recipe for potlucks, bbqs, and parties!

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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Ingredients
  • 12 oz macaroni or other pasta
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix (my favorite is Uncle Dan's Classic Ranch)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Small can olives, sliced
  • ½ cucumber, diced
  • ½ cup bacon bits
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, making sure not to overcook. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add mayo and ranch packet. Whisk to combine. Stir ranch and mayo mixture into pasta until all pasta is coated. Fold in tomatoes, olives, cucumber, bacon bits, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Stir gently.
  3. Pepper to taste, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving for best results.
  4. Before serving, give it one more stir, and top with fresh basil.

 

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