Every summer, I am all about cold pasta salads for dinner. I serve one at least once a week while it was warm out. There are so many reasons why I love cold pasta salads – they are so versatile, they are super stolen moments friendly and my whole family loves them!
I tend to rotate my cold pasta salad dinners between meat-free options and chicken based salads, plus I throw in a taco salad here and there for good measure. I’ve found that once I get a basic sauce down and get the thumbs up from my family, it becomes super easy to take that sauce and mix it up, creating many new meals and tastes from the same basic sauce.
This recipe is one of those. I tend to use the sauce and meat combination together all the time, but I mix up the veggies and other add-ins. And we’ve yet to eat one meal from those basics that we haven’t all loved.
Ranch Chicken & Bacon Pasta Salad
- 1 c. mayonnaise (lowfat or fat-free work just fine for this)
- 1 c. Ranch salad dressing
- 2 c. veggies of choice (I used peas this time. Tomatoes, peppers, olives, green onions and cucumbers, or any combination thereof, are also great options.)
- 1/2 lb. shredded or diced fully cooked chicken
- 1/2 lb. diced and cooked bacon
- 1 lb. pasta of your choice, cooked and rinsed with cold water
- 1 c. shredded cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and Ranch dressing. Add the veggies, chicken and bacon. Stir to combine.
2. Add the chilled pasta and toss to coat. Stir in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
It’s really as simple as that. The mayo/ranch combo mixed with the chicken and bacon is a surefire winner no matter what else you put with it. Experiment and have fun!