Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Active time: 15 min. Total time: 45 min.
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 2 cups)

What’s the secret for a pasta salad everyone will want to try? Homemade ranch dressing. Here’s your brand new go-to side for a backyard barbecue, potluck, or picnic. People in the test kitchen liked this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad so much they were taking it home, and we’re thinking it had something to do with our perfectly, herby, garlicky, ranch that coated the veggies and pasta perfectly. Speaking of dressing, save some on the side for serving, especially if the pasta salad is gonna rest in the fridge for a while so things don’t become too thick. Serve with burgers, grilled chicken, ribs, or whatever else you’d cook up in your backyard.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk 
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, divided  
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound uncooked cavatappi pasta 
  • 10bacon slices, cooked and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups) 
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce (from 1 head) 
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (1 1/2 cups) 
  • 3 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup) 
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot (from 1 [3 1/2-oz.] shallot) 

How to Make It

Step 1

Whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, 2 tablespoons of the chives, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl. Refrigerate ranch dressing until ready to use.

Step 2

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Toss together cooked pasta, bacon, romaine, tomatoes, Cheddar, shallot, and remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons chives, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Pour ranch dressing over pasta mixture, and toss to coat. Serve immediately. 

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