Ranch pasta salad is an easy and delicious side dish for summer picnics and bbq’s. Only 6 ingredients and minutes to prepare. Tender pasta, cucumber, broccoli, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese covered in ranch dressing. So simple!
RANCH PASTA SALAD
I have been making this ranch pasta salad for years! At least for as long as I’ve been married which will be 10 years in October. That’s a decade people?! Now, I feel really old….. I found this in a Taste of Home magazine and in all the years of making it, we never get tired of it.
It literally takes minutes to make and you can eat it right away or put it in the fridge for an hour or so before you need it. I prefer serving it right away because pasta salads tend to get dry and soak up all the dressing as they sit in the fridge.
Just make sure you use cold ranch dressing on the salad. Especially if you plan on serving it right away. I always use my homemade ranch dressing for this salad. The flavor is unreal and one batch makes just enough for this ranch pasta salad.
I’ve also seen lots of variations of ranch dressing in the grocery store. There is a bacon ranch (umm, hello BACON), a cheesy ranch, and even a cucumber ranch and spicy ranch dressing. Any of the ranch dressings would work in this salad and be equally delicious.
It’s loaded with fresh veggies; broccoli, tomatoes, and cucumbers sprinkled with parmesan cheese and then covered in ranch dressing. So simple but yet really delicious, full of flavor, and it does not taste heavy like some pasta salads do.
Make sure you use a ranch dressing that you love. I have used store-bought bottled dressing before and I prefer the Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch. Most of the time I use my homemade ranch dressing but in a pinch store-bought works great too.
This salad is very versatile as well. I have readers that have added some chopped up bacon pieces, sliced green onions, olives. There are so many extras you could add or substitutions if you don’t like a particular vegetable.
I’ve made this salad dozens and dozens of times and we LOVE it as is. Although, the chopped bacon pieces sound amazing. I must try that one!
I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day. We’re off to pick strawberries and then we’ll grill some hamburgers for dinner tonight and play in the water. This ranch pasta salad is a great side dish for any cookout and it comes together really quick!
It’s pretty much a must-have for all the summer time cook outs and BBQ’s. I love this stuff so much that sometimes I even make a meal out of it 🙂
Tips for making Ranch Pasta Salad
- Use a ranch dressing that you love! I happen to really like the Olive Garden bottled salad dressings (the Italian one is so good) and they just came out with a parmesan ranch dressing. It’s really good in this salad. Or, you can make your own ranch dressing which is usually what I do. I have my recipe for homemade ranch dressing that gets rave reviews.
- Using the tri-color rotini pasta does make a difference when making this salad. It has much more flavor than the regular rotini pasta has. So be sure to buy the tricolor rotini pasta. Plus, it make the dish look pretty!
- As mentioned, I really like using the pre-shredded parmesan cheese in this recipe. I buy the parmesan cheese in the bag that comes pre-shredded. You can also shred your own from a parmesan wedge. I would not recommend using the cheaper, grated stuff in the can as that is saltier and I think the texture is a bit off for a salad.
Watch the recipe video to see how easy it is to make Ranch Pasta Salad
Ranch Pasta Salad
Ranch pasta salad is an easy and delicious side dish for summer picnics and bbq's. Only 6 ingredients and minutes to prepare. Tender pasta, cucumber, broccoli, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese covered in ranch dressing. So simple!
- 1 box (12 oz) tricolor rotini pasta
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 cup chopped cucumbers (peeled & seeded)
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 1/4 cups ranch dressing (more or less to taste)
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Remember to salt the pasta water so the noodles have some flavor. I use about 2 teaspoons salt. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water so pasta can cool.
In a mixing bowl combine the cooled pasta, broccoli, cucumber, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and ranch dressing. Stir together until well combined.
Serve right away or let it refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. Pasta salad tends to dry out in the fridge so don't leave it in there too long before serving. If needed, add some additional dressing and give it a good stir to moisten it back up.
Be sure and use a ranch dressing that you love! I always make my homemade ranch dressing. The recipe make exactly enough for this salad.
I find the shredded parmesan cheese by the other bagged shredded cheeses at the grocery store. You could also get your own wedge and shred it, but I have found that the pre-shredded one tastes great. Use more or less depending on preference. I usually end up using about 3/4 cups.
If you refrigerate it or want to eat leftovers the next day, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of additional ranch dressing to moisten everything.
To seed a cucumber: cut cucumber in half (lengthwise) and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.