Garden Patch Salad

Garden Patch Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Garden Patch Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

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.

Garden Patch Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A hearty and colorful main dish pasta salad, great for the family or a pot luck.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 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.
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. While pasta is cooking and cooling, mix dressing, dill and bacon crumbles in large bowl.
  3. Cut broccoli, dice pepper, cucumber and thinly slice onions. Stir into dressing mixture.
  4. Dice ham and add to vegetable and dressing mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add cooled pasta and mix well.
  6. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

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Crunchy Pea Salad

Crunchy Pea Salad with creamy ranch dressing and bacon -- A Pinch of Joy

Crunchy Pea Salad with creamy ranch dressing and bacon -- A Pinch of Joy

We like the crisp crunch of cauliflower.   Add celery and peas and ranch dressing, a bit of tangy onion and crispy bacon — a quick and easy, delicious and colorful Crunchy Pea Salad.

You can thaw the peas in the fridge ahead of time. Or not. (I usually don’t.) Break or cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. I like the looks of the little florets in the salad, but sometimes a knife is needed to keep the pieces small enough to eat easily. Crisp the bacon yourself and crumble. Or use about 3 tablespoons of genuine crumbled bacon off the shelf to save time. Add cashews, just slightly chopped for a bit of texture and taste to “fancy” it up, if desired. I don’t usually keep cashews on hand because they disappear long before they can go into a recipe. (oh, that tiny bit of salt on my hand — yep, it’s me!)  Mix everything together ahead of time, at least an hour, so the flavors have time to properly meld.   (But I have put it on the table shortly after mixing and it disappeared quickly!) Leftovers will keep for a day in the refrigerator. However,  the only times we’ve done that is when I’ve sneaked out a portion before serving to pack for work lunch.   Straightforward and simple to make. Enjoy!!

Crunchy Pea Salad
 
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Crunchy peas,celery and cauliflower with creamy ranch dressing accented with a bit of onion and bacon make a great and healthy vegetable salad!
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Salad
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen peas
  • 1 cup cauliflower, in small bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup ranch salad dressing
  • Optional: ¾ cup lightly chopped cashews
  • Optional: 4 slices bacon, crisped and crumbled
Instructions
  1. Brown bacon if using, cool and crumble.
  2. Mix peas, celery, cauliflower and onion in medium bowl.
  3. Stir ranch dressing and sour cream together in small bowl and pour over vegetables.
  4. Add cashews and/or bacon, if using.
  5. Stir everything together. Chill one to two hours before serving.

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Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad

Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad makes a great dinner salad for cool summer eating. It’s also perfect for potlucks and family. However or whenever, this salad makes an appearance it is a well balanced blend of carbs, veggies and proteins.   It’s healthy and makes a big salad so it will serve a large number of people – or be a made ahead dinner salad a couple of times for three or four eaters. It’s also a nice change from mayo dressed salads and always disappears quickly.

I like for my ingredients to “even out” so there aren’t little bits of leftover ingredients setting around. Three cups of dry pasta is generally about a 16 ounce package. That’s what I use if the dry pasta measures out between 2 ¾ cups and 3 ¼ cups. Any less and the salad won’t have the pasta base needed to carry the other flavors and foods. Any more and the salad could end up dry and low on flavor. Half a small onion will come out to about ¼ a cup. We always have  raw veggies in the fridge so half a pepper or a few celery ribs is okay because that’s enough for another dish.  But if there is  a bit of anything left that won’t get used, just dice it up and add it to the salad.     I have also used packaged shredded carrots for salads. For this one, I buy a package of diced ham and a package of shredded cheese, to save time. This is one of the “flexible” dishes where you can substitute what you have on hand, adjust the quantities to suit and it will still be good. If it seems dry after refrigerating, stir in a couple of tablespoons of milk to moisten without changing the flavor.

Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups dry pasta (shell, rotini, penne, farfalle)
  • ¼ cup onion diced
  • ¾ cup raw carrot, sliced or shredded
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces cubed ham
  • 8 ounce package frozen peas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 16 ounce container sour cream
  • ½ cup French dressing
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water.
  2. Dice vegetables.
  3. Mix sour cream, French dressing, seasoning in medium bowl.
  4. In large bowl, mix together pasta, vegetables, cheese, and ham. Fold in dressing.
  5. Cover and chill 2-4 hours before serving. Best if refrigerated overnight.

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