Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is easy to make using your favorite pasta, bacon, spinach and Ranch dressing. Add grilled chicken or shrimp too!
I love salads like this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad to grab for a quick, weekday lunch; especially when I add some grilled chicken. It's not only filling, it's super tasty and easy to make!
Creamy Ranch used to be one of the kids' favorite dressing on salads, but as they've matured they prefer vinaigrette based dressings instead.
We still keep Ranch dressing in the house though because it makes a quick dip for raw vegetables.
Some of my other favorite pasta salads include Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad with Kalamata Olives, Capers and Sun Dried Tomatoes, Tuna Macaroni Salad and Greek Orzo Pasta Salad.
- large pot (or pasta pot)
- salad spinner
- I cook my bacon on top of the stove in a nonstick skillet, but you can use a microwave bacon cooker
- large mixing bowl (these stackable stainless steel bowls with color coordinating lids are my favorite!)
- mixing spoon
- salad serving bowl
For this recipe you'll need the following ingredients
- Pasta-I used rotini, but you could use your favorite and adjust the cooking times accordingly. Some other suggestions might be gemelli, bow tie or macaroni.
- Bacon-We use cured bacon so it has no nitrates due to my migraines, but regular, low sodium, turkey bacon or even bacon bits can be used.
- Spinach-Fresh spinach is best in this recipe. If you don't like spinach, try adding some peas or zucchini instead.
- Ranch Dressing-My family likes the flavor of Hidden Valley Ranch, but you can use your favorite. Also this is the creamy Ranch dressing found in the bottle; not the dry packages.
- Protein(Optional)-You can use leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken or cooked shrimp. Perdue Farms also makes precooked grilled chicken which would also work well in this recipe. The chicken comes either refrigerated or frozen, already cooked and sliced so you can just take out what you need.
How do you make Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad?
Start by filling a large pot with water, add a dash or two of salt; then bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente; approximately 7 minutes.
Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool to the touch. While the pasta is cooking you can prepare the other ingredients.
You can either fry the bacon in a skillet until cooked on both sides, bake in the oven on a sheet pan or cook on a paper towel lined plate in the microwave.
The cooking time will vary depending on the method you choose. Once cooked, drain on paper towels to remove excess grease; then crumble the bacon into pieces.
Clean the spinach using a salad spinner or in a colander under cold water. Dry well; then tear or chop into bite sized pieces.
If adding a protein, dice it into bite sized pieces. Add the cooke pasta, bacon crumbles, spinach and any protein to a large mixing bowl.
This Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad takes about 30 minutes to prepare and yields 4 cups (8-½ cup servings). With Summer BBQ season on the horizon, this pasta salad will be a favorite with grilled meats and poultry.
VISIT THE RECIPE INDEX TO SEARCH FOR MORE RECIPES!
More Ranch Recipes
- Honey BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad
- Ranch Baked Pork Chops
- Ranch Tomato Cucumber Salad
- Zesty Ranch Potato Salad
- DIY Low Fat Ranch Dressing
- Ranch Zucchini Boats
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Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Large Pot (or pasta pot)
- 2 cups dry pasta (I used rotini)
- dash salt
- 3 slices cooked bacon (crumbled)
- 1 cup fresh spinach (torn into bite sized pieces)
- 1 cup cooked protein (optional) (chicken or shrimp)
- ½ cup Ranch Dressing
- Start by filling a large pot with water, add a dash or two of salt; then bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente; approximately 7 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool to the touch. While the pasta is cooking you can prepare the other ingredients.
- Cook the bacon, drain on paper towels to remove excess grease; then crumble the bacon into pieces.
- Clean the spinach under cold water. Dry well; then tear or chop into bite sized pieces.If adding a protein, dice it into bite sized pieces.
- Add the cooke pasta, bacon crumbles, spinach and any protein to a large mixing bowl.
- Finally, add the Ranch Dressing to the bowl; then mix well and toss to coat. Place the salad in a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
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