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Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

You've heard of Chicken Bacon Ranch. You've heard of Pasta Salad. You're going to wonder why you haven't tried this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe a whole lot sooner!

Chicken bacon ranch pasta salad

The combination of chicken, bacon, and ranch is a wonderful mix of flavors, one that should likely be enshrined in the comfort food hall of fame (if that exists). Something about creamy ranch, smoky bacon, and mouthwatering chicken just works.

Despite this, there's no consensus on the best way to enjoy this flavor profile, and there are lots of opinions on how to do it. As an entree with chicken breast? A loaded baked potato? A hot pocket?

I'm sure it's difficult to go wrong. But I'm here to submit the latest and greatest contender in the great chicken-bacon-ranch games: the Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad.

Really? Pasta salad?

Absolutely pasta salad. Think about it: the chickeny, bacony, ranchy goodness is floating in the ether, waiting for the perfect vehicle to be delivered to your taste buds. You want to harness the power, but you also want to do it in a versatile way that's going to be a crowd pleaser.

This chicken bacon ranch pasta salad is here for you. It's hearty enough to stand up as a main course, yet flexible enough to add as a side dish to a larger spread. It's a team player, but it's also the star.

I could keep gushing about this for hours, but I'm going to show you the ingredients instead, because that's just the kind of service I provide here.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Ingredients

Here's what goes into my chicken bacon ranch pasta salad:

  • chickpea pasta
  • bacon
  • avocado
  • grape tomatoes
  • red onion
  • corn
  • chicken tenderloins
  • ranch dressing
  • salt & pepper
  • Optional: green onion

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Substitutions

Before we get to the substitutions, a reminder: you never have to ask permission to make substitutions in these recipes. Ever!

As long as you understand that substitutions are likely to change the nutritional content and flavor profile of the recipe, you can rest easy knowing that you can take anything you want and tweak it to your liking. There's no reason to eat something you don't like!

Here are just a few of the pastabilities:

  • Chickpea Pasta: Use any other kind of pasta (I pick this one for the extra protein)
  • Bacon: Turkey bacon or plant-based substitutes totally great here
  • Avocado: Can omit (more for me!)

Pretty much everything can be substituted or considered optional, though obviously some omissions (e.g. pasta) will have a more drastic effect on the final product.

How to make chicken bacon ranch pasta salad

Here's how you'll go about preparing this chicken bacon ranch pasta salad:

  • Gather all ingredients and prepare as necessary. (Cook chicken and bacon; prepare chickpea noodles; slice and dice vegetables.)
  • Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Add dressing and stir until fully coated.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • *chef’s kiss*

The chef's kiss at the end is especially important—trust me on this one. Don't skip it! As a warning, it may occur involuntarily.

How to meal prep pasta salad

One beautiful thing about this pasta salad? Once you've made it, you've essentially meal-prepped it! You don't have to say any magic words or divide it up into 20 Tupperware containers; now that you have it, you can enjoy for days!

That said, it can be nice to divide things into single servings (there are 6 servings in the recipe here). However, you shouldn't feel pressure to do it in any given way other than what fits your needs best. If you want some meal prep tips, explore the website and my Instagram!

Does pasta salad have protein?

It depends! This one definitely does.

Traditional pasta has a minimal amount of protein per serving, and that makes sense—it's essentially a dough, so it primarily provides carbs (and deliciousness). The protein in this recipe comes primarily from two sources: the chickpea pasta (which is much, much higher in protein per serving) and chicken, with bacon adding a bit as well.

How do you sneak protein into pasta?

You either get protein within the pasta itself or in what you mix with it in the dish. The chickpea pasta I used for this recipe adds a great deal of protein to the pasta itself. Using that as a base and combining with other protein sources (like meat) is a great way to add lots of protein along with the carbs you'd normally expect.

This recipe has 35 grams of protein per serving, which is pretty awesome.

Should I dress my pasta salad the night before?

With certain pasta salad recipes, you run the risk of a liquid-heavy dressing causing the pasta to become unpalatably mushy as it sits in the fridge. This is less about the type of dressing or pasta (though those things can have an impact) and more about the ratio of ingredients!

With this recipe, I have no difficulty leaving it in the fridge fully dressed and enjoying it during the week. If you make this and find it drowning in liquid for some reason, make adjustments for the next time. When I make the recipe according to these instructions, I don't have any issues.

Want more recipes?

You're in the right place, partner! Check out these Jordo's World staples:

  • Pizza Pasta Casserole
  • Ground Turkey Skillet
  • Cowboy Caviar

Rating Recipes

I'll never ask you to rate something you don't try for yourself and love. But if you happen to give this one a go and like what you've had, come on back and leave me a review below—it really helps!

This is a big bowl of chicken bacon ranch pasta salad. There are noodles, tomatoes, chicken, bacon, red onion, and avocado all mixed together. It's colorful and looks delicious!
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

You've heard of Chicken Bacon Ranch. You've heard of Pasta Salad. You're going to wonder why you haven't tried this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe a whole lot sooner!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken bacon ranch, chicken bacon ranch pasta salad, pasta salad
Servings: 6
Calories: 357kcal
Author: Jordan Smith

Ingredients

  • 1 box chickpea pasta cooked (8 oz uncooked weight)
  • 6 slices bacon cooked & chopped (45 grams)
  • 1 avocado diced (100 grams)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes sliced in half (10 oz)
  • ½ red onion diced (100 grams)
  • ½ cup corn 125 grams
  • 1 lb grilled chicken tenderloins cooked & shredded (16 oz)
  • ½ cup classic ranch dressing 120 grams
  • salt & pepper
  • Optional: green onion

Instructions

  • Gather all ingredients and prepare as necessary. (Cook chicken and bacon; prepare chickpea noodles; slice and dice vegetables.)
  • Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Add dressing and stir until fully coated.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • *chef’s kiss*

Notes

To meal prep: Make recipe according to instructions. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can split into 6 containers (one serving each) or store in a big container and serve as needed.
  • One serving: about 2 cups (284 grams)
  • Can easily add more or less of any ingredient
  • For extra volume, serve over mixed greens
  • This recipe is gluten free.
  • To make DF: Use a dairy-free ranch.
Specific ingredients I used:
  • Chickpea Pasta: Banza
  • Bacon: Appleton Center Cut
  • Ranch: Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch
To meal prep: Make recipe according to instructions. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can split into 6 containers (one serving each) or store in a big container and serve as needed. 
To enter in MyFitnessPal, search “Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad.”

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 12g
Recipe Rating




Al

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

I know this is considered a "summer" recipe, but I want this pretty much all the time.