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Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad on a bowl.

Pasta salad is one of those things that many people take for granted as a ho hum side dish that will do nothing more than accent the main dish on the table, especially when you are cooking outdoors or having a picnic. However, this recipe for Easy Peasy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is a stand-alone dish. The mayonnaise adds a creamy texture and the bacon gives a bit of a protein boost. However, one thing that makes this recipe extra quick and simple to make is the packet of pre-made ranch dressing mix.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad on a bowl.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

April Freeman
Do you need a trusted recipe for a pasta salad for a potluck or a side dish for burgers and hot dogs? This recipe for Easy Peasy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is creamy and savory with the added bonus of being topped with everyone’s favorite meat--bacon! Use this recipe as a delicious side dish or just keep it in the fridge for a few days to enjoy as lunch on a warm summer afternoon. It is light and still satisfying and includes the tasty crunch of both peas and carrots.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 9 mins
Total Time 14 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings

Equipment

  • Small bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Mixing bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups dry shell pasta
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 2 tbsp bacon bits plus a teaspoon extra for topping
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • cup mayonnaise

Instructions
 

  • In a medium sized colander, run lukewarm water over the frozen peas to thaw them. This should take about 2 or 3 minutes. Shake the peas well to remove excess water and put them in a small bowl until you are ready to use them.
  • In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, bring two quarts of water to a boil. Add the shell pasta and boil the pasta for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the pan from the heat and drain the pasta in a colander. Run cold water over the pasta for several minutes, rotating the colander so that all of the pasta is cooled by the water. Turn off the water and shake the pasta well to remove any excess water. Set the colander of pasta in your sink until you are ready for it.
    Dry shell pasta on a bowl.
  • Next, in a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, ranch dressing, and onion powder. Mix this well.
    Mayonnaise with dressing mix on a bowl.
  • To the bowl in which you stirred together the dressing, add the pasta, the carrots, the thawed frozen peas, and the bacon bits.
    Carrots, green peas in a bowl.
  • Use a large spoon and stir from the bottom of the bowl, turning the pasta and bringing up the dressing to coat the pasta and vegetables in the dressing. When everything is fully combined, stop stirring.
  • Put the pasta in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Before you serve the pasta salad, add the extra teaspoon of bacon bits, scattering them across the top of the pasta as a garnish. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in a container with a tightly fitted lid for up to three days.
    Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad on a bowl.

Notes

Pre-made ranch dressing mix has been around since the 1950s, but over the years it has been made into more than just salad dressing. The delicious iconic blend of buttermilk, garlic, parsley, thyme, and dill is good for all kinds of food items. People will use this dressing blend by making it into breading for fried chicken, flavoring for soup, and seasoning for casseroles. You may want to keep a few packets of this dressing in your pantry, and you will probably be surprised at how often you reach for it to add flavor to your recipes. Our recipe takes a shortcut by using a packet of ranch dressing mix to season the pasta salad.
To make this recipe, you will simply thaw some frozen peas, chop a few carrots, toss ranch dressing mix, mayo, and some herbs in a bowl and stir all of them together with cooked, rinsed shell pastas. Even a middle-school-aged kid could create this tasty pasta salad.
One thing you have to be sure that you do when you cook this pasta salad is to rinse the shell pasta after you cook it. If you are not familiar with cooking pasta, you may wonder about rinsing pasta. Do you always have to rinse pasta when you make it?
Actually, no, you don’t always have to rinse pasta. Rinsing pasta is reserved for recipes in which the pasta is served cold. Rinsing the pasta washes away the starchy layer that coats the pasta. Removing this starch keeps the noodles from sticking together, and it halts the cooking process of the pasta so it won’t get overly soft in your pasta salad dish. However, you shouldn’t rinse pasta when you are serving it hot with a warm sauce on top, like when you serve spaghetti with meat sauce. The starchy layer that stays on the noodles will help the sauce cling to the pasta.
Feel free to get creative with this recipe. You can add other things to the salad, and it will still taste amazing. Add chopped tomatoes, cheddar cheese, or other herbs to add a different flavor to the recipe. Or you can top it all with Parmesan cheese and toasted bread crumbs to add additional crunch and tangy, cheesy flavoring.
Keyword Bacon Pasta Salad Recipe, Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad, Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe

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