Ranch Pasta Salad

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  • Tired of eating the same old boring pasta salads? This easy Ranch Pasta Salad is a total game changer! Plus it’s a great way to use up that pasta in the pantry!

    overhead of cold pasta salad with tomatoes

    You won’t go back to regular pasta salad after you’ve tried this delicious Ranch Pasta Salad recipe! It’s easy to make with simple ingredients!

    Summer is around the corner and with that comes BBQs and parties. What is the perfect side dish for any party? Hands down, pasta salad.

    This Ranch Pasta Salad recipe takes a traditional pasta tossed with chopped veggies and elevates it using a zesty Ranch seasoning mix.

    dry ranch seasoning mix

    Have you ever read the store bought ranch dressing mix ingredients? Let me enlighten you: maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, lactic acid, calcium stearate, etc.

    But my homemade ranch seasoning includes:

    • dry powdered buttermilk
    • dried parsley flakes
    • dried dill
    • garlic powder
    • onion powder
    • dried onion flakes
    • ground black pepper
    • dried chives
    • fine sea salt
    dry ranch seasoning pouring into pasta salad with carrots, celery, onion and tomatoes

    All normal. All pronounceable. And probably all in your pantry already. I make a large batch and just keep it in the pantry for seasoning all sort of things:

    olive oil pouring into ranch pasta salad

    How to make Ranch Pasta Salad

    While pasta salad is typically a pretty easy dish to prepare, there are a couple of ways you can ensure that yours is out-of-this-world.

    The first is picking the right type of pasta. You need something with shape and body so the sauce can stick to it. An oil based dressing would just slick off a piece of spaghetti, but hugs rotini and elbows magically.

    Ranch pasta salad in a bowl with a serve spoon

    The second is making sure your pasta isn’t overcooked. Mushy ranch pasta salad is against my religion. This is the one and only time I will instruct you to rinse your pasta in cold water and that is to stop the cooking process and prevent soggy noodles.

    Now you’ll need to get chopping and while I find using different shapes and sizes of veggies and add-ins to add interest, I also want them all to be relatively the same size.

    Lastly, this ranch pasta salad needs a little time to marinate. The pasta and the veggies all need to soak up the delicious ranch laced sauce and the only way to make that happen is time.

    overhead of ranch pasta salad

    What should I put in my pasta salad?

    I used carrot, onion, celery and tomatoes, but you can use whatever you have on hand or need to use up. Some of my other favorite pasta salad ingredients include:

    • sliced olives
    • cucumber
    • corn
    • roasted red pepper
    • green bell pepper
    • caramelized onions
    • fresh herbs
    • diced pepperoni, ham, bacon or summer sausage
    • diced cheese
    ranch pasta salad being served with grilled chicken
    Pictured with Ranch Chicken

    How far in advance can I make this?

    This ranch pasta salad has a sweet spot for serving and I would say that is about 6-12 hours after you make it. Let it sit too long and it gets a little gummy, but if it doesn’t sit long enough, the flavors can’t marry.

    It will stay good (just not A+) in the fridge for up to 5 days. I do not suggest freezing pasta salad.

    Ranch pasta salad for Pinterest

    Here are my other favorite pasta salads:

    Macaroni Salad
    Extreme close up of classic Macaroni Salad
    If you’ve ever wondered how to make macaroni salad, this Classic Macaroni Salad recipe is the answer! Great for BBQs, potlucks, cookouts and, of course, garbage plates!
    Gouda and Corn Pasta Salad
    If you're looking for a way to mix up your usual pasta salad recipe, this Gouda and Corn Pasta Salad is it! It's EASY to make and packed with flavor!
    close up of ranch pasta salad

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    5 from 8 votes

    Ranch Pasta Salad

    You won't go back to regular pasta salad after you've tried this delicious Ranch Pasta Salad recipe! It's easy to make with simple ingredients!
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time10 mins
    Total Time25 mins
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: cold pasta salad, ranch pasta salad
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 326kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    • Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking process.
    • In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, water, apple cider vinegar and dry ranch mix. Blend until combined.
    • In a large mixing bowl, toss together cooked pasta, carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes and Ranch mix.
    • Cover and chill for 30 minutes to 6 hours before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
    • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!

    Nutrition

    Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1420IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

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