Memorial Day Pasta Salad

For the longest time, I thought pasta salad was yucky. It’s one of those summer staples you find at picnics and pool parties every season. Maybe I’ve just had a lot of not-so-great salad from grocery stores.

It wasn’t until I was at a summer campfire a few years ago, and I tried some pasta salad made by a friend of a friend that I was totally blown away. It had bacon and sliced black olives, it was creamy, and it was seasoned well. I asked her for the recipe, but I must have misplaced it. It wasn’t long before I found a copycat recipe on allrecipes.com (I’ve found lots of great stuff there).

Snagged the tomatoes from a farmer's market, which is always nice.
Snagged the tomatoes from a farmer’s market, which is always nice.

I’ve made slight alterations to fit my tastes. Trust me, this dish is crazy good. Here are the goodies you need:

1 package tri-color rotini pasta (so pretty!)

10 slices bacon (or more…yeah, add some more)

1 cup mayo 3 tbsp dry ranch salad dressing mix (this is great stuff–you could try dill flavor)

1/4 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp seasoned pepper

1/2 cup milk, or as needed (depending on desired consistency and texture)

6 Yelo brand tomatoes, chopped

1 can sliced black olives

1 cup shredded cheese, any kind your heart desires (I picked up a 6 cheese Italian mix)

Here’s what you does with the stuffs!

Prepare the rotini.

Cook and chop the bacon. I prefer the pre-cooked stuff that you zap in the microwave, although Matt likes cooking raw bacon.

In a large bowl, mix the mayo, ranch dressing mix, garlic salt and seasoned pepper. Stir in the milk until it’s nice and smooth.

Place the cooked rotini, bacon, tomato, black olives and cheese in the bowl and toss to coat everything with the dressing. Cover and chill for at least one hour in the fridge. This recipe also states that you can add more milk if the salad seems dry.

So fresh and pretty.
So fresh and pretty.

Mix it up and make it fit your preferences. The great part is that you can adjust any ingredient or its amount. I thought about adding little bits of broccoli and shredded carrots, but I realized it’s probably too many different flavors competing with one another. Place this alongside some hot dogs, ribs, grilled chicken, whatever!

Happy Memorial Day!

❤ J

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