This Loaded Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe has been sponsored by Hidden Valley® and Glad®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad is a delicious creamy pasta salad recipe perfect for summer BBQs, picnics, and potlucks. Packed full of juicy ranch chicken, fresh vegetables, and a creamy ranch sauce, everyone will love this fun and easy ranch pasta salad.
For many of us, the start of summer means so much more than just warmer temperatures. As a mom to a young and eager 4-year-old, summer means weekend BBQs, sports games, trips to the beach, birthday parties, road trips, and easy cooking. With so much activity, I have learned the importance of keeping easy and delicious recipes, like this Loaded Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad with fresh vegetables like chopped tomato, bell pepper, and broccoli, on hand at all times.
INGREDIENTS IN THIS LOADED CHICKEN RANCH PASTA SALAD RECIPE
- Hidden Valley® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
- Italian seasoning
- Salt + pepper
- Red onion
- Bell pepper
- Smoked mozzarella
- Zesty Italian dressing
It’s true that a delicious pasta salad can be made with just a handful of simple ingredients. I make those pasta salads often and love them dearly. However, on some days, simple just won’t do. That’s when I make my all-time favorite, best-ever, Loaded Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad.
The ingredients, while there are more than a few, are quite simple. And the magic ingredient? The Hidden Valley® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY HIDDEN VALLEY RANCH SALAD DRESSING AND SEASONING MIX?
You can buy the smaller packets at most markets. However, for this super convenient 16-ounce container (which really is about a bazillion times more convenient)… well, this can be found at Sam’s Club. Located in the spice section at Sam’s Club, I love keeping this canister on hand for a handful of reasons.
Why do I love this Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix?
- It’s convenient.
- The flavor is delicious alone or mixed with other herbs and spices.
- I get the ranch flavor without the ranch dressing- sometimes (and only sometimes) this can be a good thing.
- It’s good on everything from vegetables to noodles, meats to…everything.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST CHICKEN RANCH PASTA SALAD
Pasta Salad is pretty hard to mess up, but there are always ways to make any recipe a little better.
- Do not over-cook your pasta. In fact, I highly recommend undercooking your noodles. I mean, make sure they’re cooked…but not too much.
- This is a Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad and, as such, requires ranch. That said, I highly advise against substituting the Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix with regular ranch dressing. It just won’t work.
- Mix the mayonnaise mixture with the noodles and vegetables before the noodles cool completely.
- And since we’re on the subject of noodles (again), thoroughly rinse your noodles to remove as much starch as possible.
- Don’t forget the cheese. In this chicken ranch pasta salad recipe, I used smoked mozzarella because I have a love affair going with smoked cheese right now. If smoked cheese isn’t your thing, try a different cheese like cheddar cheese or gouda.
- Serve this chicken pasta salad cold. It tastes delicious warm, but cold is best. Always.
- Make it your own!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THIS CREAMY RANCH PASTA SALAD
- Large mixing bowls
- Pasta noodles
- Hidden Valley® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
- Your favorite vegetables
- Pots to boil water
- Glad® Press ‘n Seal®
- Cutting board and a sharp knife
WHAT IS GLAD PRESS ‘N SEAL?
Only the most amazing invention ever. jk…kinda.
Ok, so in all seriousness, Glad Press ‘n Seal comes in handy when storing and transporting your pasta salad to your next picnic, birthday, or soccer practice.
Plus, if you’re like me who pretty much dispises plastic wrap because it DOES.NOT.WORK. you will be thrilled when you try this stuff because,
- Seals 10x tighter than the leading plastic wrap.
- Glad Press’n Seal Food Wrap keeps food fresh with a leak-proof, airtight seal (yes, this includes liquids).
- Create custom-shaped food storage bags for ANY item- this is particularly great for handing out leftovers.
- Create tops and lids perfect for freezing, stacking, and storing.
- BPA free, microwave-safe, and super versatile.
And, you can find it at Sam’s Club! One stop shop.
MODIFICATIONS TO THIS CHICKEN RANCH PASTA SALAD RECIPE
- Add different vegetables. Not a fan of broccoli? skip it and add your fav!
- Make it Gluten-free. Substitute the noodles for rice noodles for an easy and delicious gluten-free option to this creamy ranch pasta salad.
- Pick your meat. I added chicken to this Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad because chicken is my favorite. However, that doesn’t mean you have to add chicken. Thinly sliced steak would taste great. And, of course, there’s always bacon.
- Or, make it vegetarian. No one said you had to add meat. You could also prepare the chicken, but keep it separate. That way both vegetarians and meat lovers can enjoy this delicious creamy pasta salad.
- Add something sweet. One thing I did not add is something sweet. Thinking back, I have no idea what I was thinking. Delicious something sweets would include dried cranberries or fresh grapes.
WHERE YOU WILL FIND THIS LOADED CHICKEN RANCH PASTA SALAD
- At my desk. Honestly, meal prep this and pack it for lunch. Easy lunches all week long.
- Your next picnic or potluck. Seriously. Who doesn’t love creamy ranch covered noodles and juicy chicken?
- My child’s 5th birthday party. Save loads of money and just make this in bulk. Serve a fruit salad and a green salad on the side and you’re good to go.
- You can call it a SALAD PARTY…wait…that should be MY party.
- Baseball practice. Because kids need all the food and this Loaded Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad covers all the bases (pun intended).
- At the ocean *sigh*
- On my dinner table. It’s true. Leftovers make great dinners.
- Basically everywhere.
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CHICKEN RANCH PASTA SALAD
FOR THE RANCH CHICKEN
FOR THE RANCH PASTA SALAD
- 16 ounces dried pasta - (I used mini penne)
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp zesty Italian dressing
- 2 tbsp Hidden Valley® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix
- 1 small red onion - diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper - seeded and diced
- 6 roma tomatoes - seeds removed and diced
- 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella - chopped into small cubes
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley - finely chopped
- 1 cup green onion - chopped
- 1 serrano pepper - diced (optional)
- 2 tbsp fresh chives - chopped (to garnish)
FOR THE RANCH CHICKEN
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- As the oven preheats, mix together the Hidden Valley® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix, sweet paprika, cayenne powder (if you enjoy a little heat), Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Transfer chicken breasts to the prepared baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle each side with the prepared Ranch and Paprika seasoning mixture (approximately 2 teaspoons per chicken breast).
- Bake the chicken for 18-20 minutes or until internal temperature registers 165 degrees. Remove chicken from the oven and allow at least 5 minutes to rest before slicing or chopping.
FOR THE PASTA SALAD
- Bring a large, salted pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package instructions for "al dente" pasta (see notes). Drain and rinse pasta with cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
- At the same time, bring a separate, smaller, pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once water is boiling, add the broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green. Immediately drain and transfer to an ice water bath to stop cooking. Drain again and transfer broccoli to a large cutting board. Roughly chop into small bite-size pieces. Set aside.
- Prepare the creamy ranch sauce. In a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, zesty Italian dressing, and Hidden Valley® Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix. Season to taste.
- Prepare the remaining ingredients for the salad- red onion, bell pepper, tomato, smoked mozzarella, parsley, green onion, serrano pepper (optional), and fresh chives.
- Transfer the pasta, broccoli, and freshly chopped vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Gently toss to combine. Add the ranch seasoning mayo mixture to the pasta and vegetables and mix well to combine. Top with sliced chicken or chopped chicken and sprinkle with fresh chopped chives.
- Pasta salads are not very tasty when the noodles are overcooked. My rule is to drain the pasta noodles just before they are al dente. They should still have a "bite" to them and hold their shape. In other words, noodles that are tender but firm.
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