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Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

I love, love, love this pasta salad. I can’t quite put into words all the love I have for. My family thinks it’s because it’s such a crowd pleaser. I’m leaning more towards it being the ranch dressing. It’s my sauce of choice. Also, it’s the versatility. I can easily make this as a side to dinner, or add extra lettuce to make it an all-in-one meal. The recipe easily feeds our family, but is simple to double to serve a larger group.

Originally, I was skeptical of the Swiss it called for. I’ve only ever included cheddar in any ranch-based pasta salads before, but my skepticism was unnecessary. The Swiss perfectly compliments the other flavors in the bunch. Simply put, it’s delicious. If you’re looking to branch out of your more traditional pasta salad comfort zone, looking for a dish to ‘wow’ family and/or friends, or simply trying to ditch the pre-packaged, processed box versions, this recipe is a must try.

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

recipe adapted from Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice

  • 1 lb radiatore pasta
  • 16 oz ranch dressing
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cup cubed Swiss
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 2 cups finely chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta, according to package directions, in salted water.
  2. Drain pasta. Toss with just enough dressing so that the pasta is lightly coated and won’t stick together. Refrigerate until cold.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the tomatoes, Swiss, onion, bacon, and lettuce.
  4. Add enough dressing to generously coat everything, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve. If not serving immediately, don’t mix the lettuce in until you’re ready to serve to prevent wilting.

Aunt Gert’s Macaroni Salad

Aunt Gert’s Macaroni Salad

With summer approaching, I’m gearing up to be inundated with higher temps and non-stop activities with the kids. With all the constant activity and mild chaos, I often have to sacrifice time spent in the kitchen. As a result, I often find myself often turning to pasta salads as an easy lunch, a simple side for dinner, or a dish everybody can love at a get-together.  I’ve always been accustomed to pastas that were so ‘hearty’ that they could be an easy stand alone meal; however, this is truly a ‘macaroni’ salad, and I’m pretty sure it single-handedly converted me. I’m always a bit surprised when something so simple tastes this delicious. This simple and easy recipe features radiatore pasta (but you could also use rotini), chilled overnight in an easy mayonnaise-based sauce, but with a surprisingly sweet side that everybody will love. This is guaranteed to be a family favorite and a crowd-pleaser. Whatever function or meal you’re planning on using this for, you can’t go wrong.

Aunt Gert’s Macaroni Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Aunt Gert's Macaroni Salad

  • 1 lb radiatore pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • Garnish (optional): chopped hard-boiled egg, and/or chopped parsley

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine mayo, onion, celery, sugar, water, vinegar, and garlic. Stir until evenly combined.
  2. Add pasta, stirring until evenly coated.
  3. Refrigerate covered pasta overnight. Note that the pasta WILL be very soupy at first, but as it chills it will thicken and get creamy. Just re-stir to evenly coat.
  4. Garnish, if desired, and serve.
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