This could be called Pig in the Garden Pasta Salad – bacon and ham, get it? Or maybe Bacon Ranch Ham and Vegetable Garden Patch Salad. Or. . . . Pigs at the Ranch Veggie Garden Pasta Salad. Okay. . . . We’ll stick with just plain ole Garden Patch Salad. Whatever you call it, this is a hearty and colorful main dish pasta salad and is great for taking to a pot luck.
This is a versatile salad. Use pasta of your choice, as suggested above. Red peppers provide great color contrast to the green onion and broccoli, but you can use orange or yellow if that’s what you have on hand. (Or even green pepper if that’s what is in the vegetable patch at your ranch.) Cucumber lightly seeded means if the seeds are small and tight together, just dice the cucumber. If seeds are large and juicy, slice the cucumber lengthwise and use a spoon tip to remove seeds from the cucumber. You can add halved cherry tomatoes for color. Or half a cup of frozen green peas and increase the dressing by a couple of tablespoons. You can substitute diced cooked chicken breast for the ham, though you may want to add more dressing before serving if salad seems dry. I don’t know if it is true across the board, but it seems to me that chicken needs more ranch dressing to make a moist salad.
- 2 ¼ cup pasta (rotini, shell, small penne or farfalle)
- ¾ cup bacon ranch dressing
- 4 Tablespoons bacon crumbles OR 4 slices bacon, crisped and crumbled
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- 1 ½ cups broccoli florets, cut or broken into small pieces
- ½ red bell pepper, diced (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup cucumber, lightly seeded and diced
- 5 medium green onions, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
- 1 ½ cups ham, diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 6-12 cherry tomatoes for garnish, if desired.
- Bring water to boil in 3 quart pan. Add salt and pasta and return to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, until it is al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- While pasta is cooking and cooling, mix dressing, dill and bacon crumbles in large bowl.
- Cut broccoli, dice pepper, cucumber and thinly slice onions. Stir into dressing mixture.
- Dice ham and add to vegetable and dressing mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add cooled pasta and mix well.
- Chill at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
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