Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad (Suddenly Salad Knock-off)

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As much as I like to cook homemade, I have no problem using boxed items from time to time.  Suddenly Salad Ranch & Bacon is one of those boxed items that I tend to go to for cookouts, because it goes over well with my family, particularly those who are less adventurous and/or don't like vegetables.  I am one of those people who likes to prepare enough side dishes so that there is at least one for each guest to eat (but sometimes I secretly want to just make what I like!).

When preparing for a recent cookout, I decided to try my hand at a knock-off.  After all, I almost always have these ingredients on hand, so why would I go out and buy the box?  While I'm sure I'm not the first to have made this, my only reference point was my memory of the prepared box mix.

The resulting salad was way more flavorful than any box can produce!  For starters, we're talking REAL bacon here.  Not only that, I had a bit better idea of what is in this, aside from the ranch mix, and I cut back some calories and fat by using milk, buttermilk and mayonnaise with olive oil.  Next time, I want to make a homemade ranch dressing, which I'm sure will bring this salad to a whole new level.

By the way, how can someone not like vegetables?  I will never understand.

Here is what you'll need:
  • 1 lb bowtie or other shaped pasta
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 lbs bacon, cooked crisp and divided
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise with olive oil
  • 1 packet powdered ranch salad dressing mix
  • black pepper to taste
Bring salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and continue boiling 10 minutes.  Add frozen peas to water and continue boiling 2 minutes, or until cooked to al dente.  Strain pasta and peas, run under cool water to stop the cooking process and allow to drain well.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp.  You may need to do this in several batched depending on the size of your pan.  Remove crisp cooked bacon from pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.  Allow to cool completely.  Crumble into bite size pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, add milk, buttermilk, mayonnaise with olive oil, ranch salad dressing mix and black pepper.  Whisk until well combined.

Add pasta and peas to dressing.  Gently toss until the pasta is well coated.  Add 1/2-3/4 of the cooked bacon and gently toss to combine.  Top with remaining bacon.  Serves 8-10 as a side.

    Comments (3)

    I admit-I ran right over to this recipe because you said it tastes like the SUddenly Salad version-I usually like making my own pasta salads, but there is just something about their bacon ranch one that's so good. I can't wait to try your version, it sounds great!

    Let me know when you try it! We loved this, and it really was not difficult to make.

    That looks so good- I'm a fiend for pasta salad, although I've never had it with bacon before. Everybody knows that bacon = better though! :)