Cilantro Ranch Pasta Salad is light, refreshing, and totally delicious. It is so easy to make ahead and eat throughout the week, and is a fun way to switch up your pasta salad game! Perfect for potlucks, picnics, and backyard barbecues.
We are thoroughly enjoying summertime over here at The Stay At Home Chef. Our family always stays busy, leaving us to frequently look through the fridge 5 minutes before lunch, hoping to find something we can quickly throw together. Discovering pasta salads was a game changer, especially with this amazing cilantro ranch sauce. We make a big batch on Sunday, and can eat throughout the week! Summertime win!
Can I add meat besides bacon?
You absolutely can! This dish is fantastic to add any leftover grilled proteins too: chicken, steak, and even tofu!
What other pasta shapes can I use?
We love bowtie pasta in pasta salad, but you can use rotini, shells, radiatorre, or macaroni.
Do I have to use avocado?
We know there are strong opinions about avocados out there, which is why avocados are completely optional in this dish. Add them if you love them, and leave them out if you don’t.
If you don’t want to make bacon special for this dish, go ahead and use store-bought pre-cooked and crumbled bacon. To substitute that in, you’ll want to use 4 tablespoons of crumbled bacon total.
What other kinds of cheese can I use?
We love a good sharp cheddar in this pasta salad, but if you don’t like cheddar you can feel free to use whatever cheese you prefer. Other great options include mozzarella (fresh mini balls, or block cheese), Monterey jack, or pepper jack.
Optional Add Ins:
If you want a bit more hearty of a salad, go ahead and add 1 can of black beans and 1 can of corn, all drained and rinsed well.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Beyond that, the veggies can become soggy.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious summer salad recipes:
Watch the video below where Caytlin will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
Cilantro Ranch Pasta Salad
- 1 pound bowtie pasta
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes , halved
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese , cubed
- 1 English cucumber , diced
- 1/2 red onion , diced
- 4 slices cooked bacon , crumbled
- 1 avocado , diced
Cilantro Ranch Dressing
- 16 ounces green salsa
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 lime juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta is cooled.
- While pasta is cooking, halve the tomatoes, cube the cheese, chop the cucumber, dice the onion and crumble the bacon.
- In a blender, make your dressing by adding in the green salsa, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Blend until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta and the dressing together and stir until pasta is all coated in the sauce. Top with the tomatoes, cheese cubes, cucumbers, red onion, and bacon crumbles. Avocado is optional but if adding in, do so right before serving.
- Serve right away or cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.