Friday, July 11, 2014

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad {The Perfect Picnic Salad}

Are you looking for an easy and good summer pasta salad? Well look no further! Pasta salads are my favorite, and perfect for summertime picnics and barbecues! Over the 4th of July weekend I planned on making a traditional macaroni salad, but decided to change it up a bit instead. This year I put a spin on an old favorite and added, bacon, additional veggies and ranch dressing turning it into a Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad.   

Pasta is my favorite as well as my weakness! I love how you can mix just about anything with pasta and it transforms into a meal, side or salad in matter of minutes. I think pasta salads should be easy and not all fancy schmancy.

This weekend I was short on time, so easy was just what I needed. I remembered that I had a couple bottles of  Marzetti's® Simply Dressed Ranch Dressing  in the refrigerator, so I decided to use that instead of a homemade dressing or packet mix. 

After chopping all the veggies, cooking the pasta, and bacon, I add all the ingredients into a into a large bowl and tossed it together with the dressing. Yum I could already smell all the flavors coming together. You could use bacon bits if you're in a pinch for time, but  nothing replaces the flavor of fresh crisp cooked bacon.

After chilling I served the salad and everyone loved it! All that pasta with fresh, brightly colored vegetables, like broccoli, red, green and orange peppers, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. The ranch dressing gave it the perfect creaminess and flavor that I was looking for.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

8 oz - ditalini pasta, cooked or (small elbow macaroni)
8 - 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 - cup onion, chopped
1 - cup broccoli, chopped
1/4 - cup green pepper, chopped
1/4 - cup red or orange pepper, chopped
1 - rib celery, chopped
1 - cucumber, chopped
1 - tomato, chopped
1 - 12 oz bottle Marzetti's® Simply Dressed Ranch Dressing, separated
1/2 - cup cheddar cheese, optional
salt and pepper to taste
fresh dill for garnish

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in ditalini pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly passed al dente, drain. Rinse the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Place bacon in a skillet and cook on med-high heat until cooked and brown. Drain and crumble the bacon. While the bacon is cooking chop all the vegetables and set aside. 

Add the cooked pasta, chopped vegetables, bacon and cheese if using into a large bowl. Add one cup of the dressing and toss together to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Cover salad and chill for at least 2 hours. Just before serving toss with the remaining 4 oz of dressing. Garnish with fresh dill and serve.

This post is a sponsored post by Marzetti®. I have partnered with Marzetti to share recipe ideas using their products throughout the year. The opinions stated above are 100% entirely my own. For more information and recipes stop by Marzetti Kitchens! You can also follow Marzetti on facebook and pinterest!


Colleen said... #

Salad looks Fantastic and I love Ranch dressing but have never had the Marzetti's dressing so will be giving that a try.
A nice cold pasta salad always tastes good on a hot summer day.
Will be making this salad up soon. :} Thank you
Enjoy your day and have a wonderful and fun weekend
ColleenB. ~ Texas

Unknown said... #

I made this great pasta salad yesterday. I used packaged bacon pieces instead of frying up bacon and bought Maries ranch dressing instead of Marzettis because I got the two brands mixed up. The pasta salad was awesome.....5 stars!!!

Michele said... #

Gorgeous-looking salad! Will be making this one. Thank you for sharing it!

Anonymous said... #

Great salad, I did change it up just a touch though. I fried my bacon in my pasta pot, then added water (but no salt) to boil my pasta. The bacon flavor cooked into the pasta & added just a hint more bacon flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

Sheila said... #

Very tasty recipe, perfect on a hot summer evening and when I can use lots of veggies right out of the garden. Only change I made was I threw the brocolli into the pasta for the last minute of cooking, made the brocolli tender but still has it's bright green.