Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad with Tortellini + Video

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Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the ultimate summer side! With copious amounts of bacon, a perfectly tangy ranch dressing, and fresh vegetables, this cold tortellini pasta salad is sure to please!

titled: Bacon Ranch Tortellini Salad


 

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

When temperatures outside start to rise, I immediately start craving cold, refreshing salads.

And while I do love greens, there’s nothing like a cold tortellini pasta salad to fill you right up!

homemade ranch sauce

They pretty much incorporate all my favorites into one bowl: pasta, cheese, veggies, and yummy dressings and toppings. Summer salad perfection!!

Recipe Video

To see us make bacon ranch salad with tortellini from start to finish, watch the video in this post!

Want to combine the best of both worlds? You’ve got to try this Green Goddess Pasta Salad with veggies, bacon, and eggs in a creamy herbaceous dressing.

My BLT Pasta Salad is delicious and filling too, and a great option when you need to hold off on the cheese!

cooked tortellini in a bowl with sliced tomatoes

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Pasta – You can use refrigerated or frozen tortellini for this bacon ranch salad recipe.

    Want to go the extra mile? Make these cheese-stuffed noodles from scratch!
  • Veggies – Dice half a red onion, slice grape tomatoes in half, and chop bell peppers and English cucumber into bite-sized pieces.

    Sliced black olives are easy — just open a can and drain!
  • Cheese – I prefer to use sharp cheddar, but you can use your favorite as long as it is firm and easy to slice into cubes.
  • Dressing – Find a quick and easy ranch dressing recipe below, or grab a bottle of your favorite. This bacon ranch pasta salad is delicious either way!
sliced cucumber, onion, bell pepper in a cowl with tortellini

Creamy Tortellini Pasta Salad Recipe Tips

  • Don’t overcook the pasta. Cook just to al dente according to the package directions.

    If overcooked, the tortellini will fall apart when tossed with the other bacon ranch salad ingredients.
  • Rinse pasta in cold water. This will stop it from cooking further.

    Drain and immediately add the tortellini to a large bowl, then toss with half of the dressing to keep it from sticking together.

    It will also soften a bit after soaking up some of the dressing.
  • Make fresh bacon crumbles. Bagged salad topping crumbles are tough and chewy — gross! Instead, cook up thick slices of bacon in the oven or the air fryer.

    Once cooled, you can chop or break strips into smaller pieces for a crispy addition to your creamy tortellini pasta salad!
cooked bacon added to tortellini salad

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • ColanderThis kitchen essential makes life so much easier! You can use it to drain pasta or wash veggies and fruit.
  • Cutting Board – Grab a big solid cutting board so you can prep all your veggies on one surface. I use my cutting board daily, so it’s worth the investment! 
  • Quality Knives Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well. If you make one kitchen investment, I believe it should be in quality knives. 

Bacon Ranch Salad FAQ

What meat goes good with tortellini?

Honestly, just about anything. I don’t know if I would go so far as to use fish, but you can combine tortellini with bacon, chicken, ham, steak, and even shrimp!

Can I make creamy tortellini pasta salad ahead of time?

You bet! In fact, it’s even tastier the next day after the flavors have had time to meld together.

Combine tortellini with bacon, cheese, and veggies, then toss with only half of the dressing.

Store the remaining dressing separately in the fridge, then add to bacon ranch pasta salad just before serving.

How long does bacon ranch pasta salad last in the fridge?

Leftovers will keep for 3 to 4 days when stored in an airtight container.

Keep in mind that the veggies will soften and the tortellini will absorb most of the dressing the longer it sits. So the sooner you can gobble up leftovers, the better!

tortellini with bacon and veggies tossed in ranch dressing on a white plate

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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tortellini with bacon and veggies tossed in ranch dressing

bacon ranch pasta salad in a glass bowl

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe with Tortellini + Video

Donna Elick
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is the ultimate summer side! Combine cheesy tortellini with crispy bacon, veggies, and tangy ranch dressing.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 8

Ingredients
 

  • 15 ounces cheese-filled tortellini pasta
  • 16 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 bell peppers, 1 orange and 1 yellow, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into spears and then sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, rough dice
  • 4.25 ounce can sliced black olives
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup bacon crumbles, 1 pound cooked, cooled and crumbled

Easy Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic, or 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon course ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook tortellini according to directions on the package (do not add salt to the water). Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the salad dressing: In a medium bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, and milk. Add remaining dressing ingredients. Place in refrigerator until ready to dress the salad.
  • Combine tortellini 1/2 of salad dressing and toss to combine.
  • Add remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss until combined. Reserve the remaining dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss with salad tongs until well coated.

Video

Donna’s Notes

The salad is excellent the next day. When making ahead, use 1/2 of the dressing when preparing the salad and reserve the remaining dressing to pour over the salad before you serve.
It is important to not overcook your tortellini otherwise it will fall apart when tossed.
After pasta is rinsed and drained, immediately add it to a large bowl then toss it with half of the dressing to keep it from sticking.
If you prefer your salad more vegetable heavy, add 1 more orange pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 1 cucumber. Follow the instructions for the remaining steps.
For the cheese, I prefer to use sharp cheddar, cut into bite-size pieces. If prefer you can substitute any sliceable cheese.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 526cal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 1752mg | Sugar: 7g | Fiber: 5g | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): bacon ranch tortellini pasta salad

Originally published May 2015, updated and republished July 2023

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5 Comments

  1. This salad was so delicious!! My husband and I loved it, and so did both our next door neighbours. It combines a lot of the flavours we really like. It was amazing. It's going in my salad rotation. Thank you!

  2. Looks delicious! Pinning. Love winter in Az, but summer is the reason why we come back home to NW IN.!

    Vicky

  3. 5 stars
    I love pasta salad, and the bacon ranch is amazing! This would be so good if you put in chicken instead of pasta too! A very good recipe and one I’ll keep on hand.

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