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With grilling season here, I am that one who will grill with a jacket on because it is totally worth it, I have another one of our favorite BBQ salads here. The Ranch pasta salad is cool because it is very flexible. Seriously, you can add most vegetables in it and it will be a success.
I sometimes put cucumbers in it but none of them looked good at the store last time I made this. I did not add them in the recipe here but you can definitely add them if you like. Once we have fresh home grown cucumbers, I always add them. This is inspired by another salad I make but posted on my personal blog – Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad which as you see has bacon in it yum!
Sometimes we want simple, who doesn’t right? So this one is a bit easier and less ingredients but still rather flavorful. I like to make this one with the Picnic Perfect Potato Salad. They go well together and your sides are done so you can focus on the main show – the grilled food!
We used to just use Ranch seasoning packets from the store, which is definitely ok, but we found a recipe for homemade Ranch seasoning with simple ingredients. There are no added extras that you find in the store bought ones – you know the ingredients you cannot even pronounce 🙂 Missy over at Graceful Little Honey Bee has a great recipe for Homemade Ranch Seasoning to use in your salad. You would use 2 tablespoons in place of a store bought packet.
Making the Ranch pasta salad
Now we are ready to start making some salad! Boil your pasta following the instructions on the package. We use shells usually but it really is whatever pasta you prefer. Once it is done, drain your pasta and rinse with cold water to cool down. Chop up your scallions and add them to the cooled pasta in a container. Place in the refrigerator to completely cool the pasta down. About 1/2 to 1 hour should be long enough. This gives it time to cool so the mayo doesn’t get added to the warm pasta and it also preps the pasta for a dressing. If it is still warm, it soaks the dressing up.
Chop your peppers while the pasta is cooling down. Do not add tomatoes until right before serving. The tomatoes taste better when they are added later.
Once the pasta is cool enough, add your peppers and shred a carrot into the mix. In a medium bowl mix together mayo, garlic, milk and your Ranch seasoning. Stir well to combine and add to the pasta mix. I like to have the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour to get the flavor into the whole salad, but it isn’t required.
Just before serving, add your chopped tomatoes and sprinkle with parsley for garnish.
Ranch Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces pasta
- 3 scallions chopped greens and all
- 1/2 red pepper chopped
- 1/2 yellow pepper chopped
- 1 carrot shredded
- 2 tomatoes medium sized – chopped
- 2 tbsp Homemade Ranch Seasoning or 1 package from store
- 1 1/2 cups mayo
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp parsley for garnish – more if needed
- ½ tsp salt optional
- Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool down. Put into a container and add in chopped scallions. Put in the refrigerator until the pasta is cold – about 1/2 hour to 1 hour.
- Once pasta and scallions are cold, add in the chopped pepper and shredded carrot. Stir well to combine.
- In a medium bowl mix the mayo, milk, garlic, salt (if you are adding it) and Homemade Ranch Seasoning (or seasoning packet.) Add into the the pasta mix and stir well.Place back in the fridge until ready to serve (or leave for the BBQ)
- Just before serving, or leaving, add in the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Sprinkle parsley on top for garnish.Enjoy!