Gluten Free Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad+ VIDEO
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All the goods: ranch, bacon and carbs. This Gluten-Free Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad is a summer highlight. Take any picnic or potluck up a notch when you bring this to the table. The saltiness of the crispy bacon, the creamy ranch sauce, the tender chicken, the veggies and don’t forge the pasta! And believe it or not, it has dairy-free instructions too! It’s wonderful as an main dish or as the star of the potluck. Be sure to watch the video and enjoy this delicious pasta salad recipe.
WHY WE LOVE THIS CHICKEN BACON RANCH PASTA SALAD RECIPE
If you’re American, you love ranch. That’s just the way it is. And most of the time–you love the meats. Especially bacon. So, add in your favorite carb (pasta) plus the best dressing known to man, plus chicken and bacon…I mean…could this perfect side dish be any more celestial? I think not.
I used to think I’d never enjoy pasta salads again because of my son’s wheat allergy, and my husband gluten intolerance, but now we eat them non-stop in the summer months. I also worried I’d ever enjoy anything ranch again because of my son’s dairy allergy, and three simple swaps make this a gluten free AND dairy free pasta salad as well.
It is sooo yummy. The sauce is very flavorful and the best thing about pasta salads is that they’re oh-so-good warm or as a cold pasta salad the next day. Dinner and lunch all out of one meal? YES PLEASE.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS PASTA SALAD RECIPE GLUTEN-FREE?
Since many of the ingredients in this pasta salad recipe are single ingredients (tomatoes, green onions, olive oil, garlic) you don’t have to watch out for much. The main swap you’ll need to make is using your favorite gluten-free pasta. I’ve used penne pasta or rotini pasta and they’re both great–but any shape or type of pasta should do. Use whatever brand works for your diet. There are gluten-free pastas made up of about every grain and vegetable nowadays, and it shouldn’t matter what you. We usually stick with Barilla or Jovial which I find at Walmart, and most local grocery stores, or even Amazon. Otherwise, the only other place gluten may hide is in your Seasoned Salt or in your ranch mix. Always read every label on every ingredient you use to ensure nothing is hiding. Just boil your pasta choice according to package directions until you reach the al dente stage, drain and set aside to add to the recipe.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS YUMMY PASTA SALAD DAIRY FREE?
If you’re like us and need both gluten-free AND dairy-free, there are a few simple swaps you need to make. For the cream, I use Country Crock Plant Cream, and for the sour cream I use Tofutti Sour Cream, and for the dairy-free ranch mix (really, the holy grail that I about jumped up and down in the grocery store when I found it) I use the Kroger Ranch Dip Mix (found at all Kroger chains, like Fred Meyer, Smith’s…etc.). This ranch mix is sooo good, that I’ve literally had readers tell me that they’ll ask family members who live by such a store to mail them the packets if they can’t find them in that area. Genius. A food allergy family’s gotta do what they gotta do.
(And in case you’re thinking, Megan–there’s Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing now…Yes. You’re right. And it’s good and in my fridge. But, that stuff is runny and meant for salads. This mix is thick and wonderful and dippable. They’re not the same.)
DO YOU HAVE OTHER DAIRY-FREE RANCH RECIPES?
Since I do love ranch and it’s just too good to not use up those delicious ranch mix packets once you’ve discovered how magical they are, you want to put them in everything. Here are some more dairy-free ranch uses:
- 3 Ingredient Dairy Free Ranch Dip
- Dairy Free Ranch Bacon Potato Salad
- Dairy Free Turkey Bacon Ranch Wraps
- Dairy Free Crack Chicken Noodle Soup
- Frito Taco Salad
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED FOR THOSE CHICKEN BACON PASTA SALAD?
I will list both the regular ingredients and the gluten or dairy free alternatives you’ll need, so just about anyone can make this delicious meal!
- 12 oz package of bacon (or, if in a pinch you can use pre-bought bacon crumbles)
- 12 oz box of gluten-free short pasta of choice
- Olive oil
- Chicken breasts (thighs work too)
- Seasoned Salt (we like Lawry’s)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Optional: fresh chives or green onions for garnish
- Heavy whipping cream or whole milk (if dairy free use Country Crock Plant Cream)
- 1 packet of dry ranch mix (if need dairy-free use Kroger Ranch Mix…see above)
WHAT TOOLS ARE NEEDED FOR THIS BACON RANCH CHICKEN PASTA SALAD?
You will need these tools to make this delicious recipe:
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Large sauté pan
- Large pot to boil pasta
- Strainer or colander to drain pasta
- Large mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Flat whisk (not required, but helps the sour cream be stirred into the sauce easier)
- Baking sheet / cookie sheet and aluminum foil for baking the bacon if cooking it from scratch
- Paper towel for absorbing excess grease of cooked bacon
IS THIS PASTA SALAD A MAIN DISH?
My family definitely eats it as a main course, with no other sides because it has your protein, carbs and veggies. At most, we might do some corn on the cob or watermelon if we’re trying to stretch it.
By all means, take the recipe as is to a potluck dinner and people will still love you for bringing such a delicious side dish. But, if you want it to be less filling, you can definitely omit the chicken breast so it feels a little more “side” than “main”–either way your great aunt and cousin will be raving at the family gatherings.
CAN I UES LEFTOVER CHICKEN?
You can certainly use leftover chicken. I’ve made the creamy ranch dressing sauce both just in clean saute pan, and with one that has the chicken fond in it. The sauce with the chicken fond will have more flavor and color, but it is still delicious without it and will save you some time. Use leftover rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken from the grill and I’m sure you’ll still like the results. Also–the kind of chicken really doesn’t matter. As long as it’s boneless and skinless, and able to be diced it shouldn’t matter. I know there are people in definite camps–either chicken breast or chicken thighs, so you do you.
DO I EAT THIS PASTA SALAD WARM OR COLD?
This really depends on who you talk to. I love a pasta salad either way. I’m fine having it warm when it’s fresh off the stove, room temperature or cold the next day–it’s hard to beat a leftover pasta salad. My husband has to have his pasta salads warm. You do you! Just store any leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days maximum.
DO I HAVE OTHER GLUTEN-FREE COLD PASTA SALAD RECIPES?
Pasta salads are one of my favorite dishes to bring to the dinner table, so I have a few you should check out. Pasta salads are the ultimate summer food. All the pasta salads are gluten-free and dairy-free, but can handle swapping back in the regular ingredients like we did here if you don’t have those food allergies.
- Tuscan Pasta Salad
- Avocado BLT Pasta Salad
- Bacon, Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad
- Frito Taco Pasta Salad
- Asian Spinach Pasta Salad
- Ham, Asparagus and Lemon Pasta Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Salad
DO I HAVE A VIDEO SHOWING HOW TO MAKE THIS RANCH BACON PASTA SALAD?
Yes, I do! The video showing you how to make this kind pf pasta salad should automatically pop up. If it doesn’t, it should also be lodged at the bottom of the recipe card. If all else fails, you can view it on my YouTube channel.
Continue to Content
- One 12-oz box gluten-free dried short pasta (like penne or rotini)
- 12 oz bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Seasoned salt
- 5 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 3 ounces (1/4th of a 12 ounce container of sour cream–Tofutti if you need dairy free)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 and 1/2 cups country crock plant cream (or whole milk if you can do milk)
- 1 packet of Kroger ranch mix dip (or other dairy-free ranch seasoning)
- Optional: chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 425, and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place your bacon in a single row, not overlapping on the cookie sheet. Once preheated, place your bacon in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. Remove once crisp and set on a paper towel lined plate. Crumble. Set aside. (May take more or less time, so watch your oven.)
- While your bacon cooks, fill a large stock pot with water. Bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
- While your bacon and pasta cooks, in a sauté pan heat set to medium high add your olive oil. Add your chicken breasts (butterflied if thick) and generously season with seasoned salt to taste. Flip and cook both sides until an internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove to a cutting board and dice. Set aside.
- While the meats and pasta cook, prep your vegetables by measuring your peas and chopping your tomatoes. Add to your large mixing bowl.
- Once your chicken is done cooking, make your sauce in the same pan. Add your plant cream (or whole milk if you can do dairy) and scrape up the fond (browned bits of meat left behind).
- Add in the sour cream (dairy free if needed), the garlic and the ranch mix dip. Stir with your flat whisk until the sauce is smooth and combined.
- Assemble your pasta salad: Add the chicken, bacon, and sauce to the tomatoes and peas. Stir until everything is combined. Garnish with fresh chives or green onions if desired.
- Great warm or cold.
- Keep leftovers in an air tight container when not serving. Keeps in the fridge 2-3 days.
*If you don’t need allergy tweaks/substitutions, you can you regular pasta, regular sour cream and regular heavy whipping cream or whole milk.
You can also tweak the amount of vegetables to your liking.
For frequently asked questions and substitutions see the text above the recipe.
Be sure to watch the video below to see how to make it.
*Our allergies, while severe and that get re-tested frequently, are such that we can go strictly by what’s on the label. I do not call companies to see what things are derived from, or call manufacturers to see about potential cross contact. If your allergies require you to do so, please do your own homework. I cannot assure you of any ingredient’s safety, only you can do that. I simply share what works for our family
**If you are going to feed this to someone with food allergies, and you yourself do not have food allergies, I HIGHLY recommend having them check every single brand and ingredient you are using, to ensure they’re OK with each part of the recipe. And, to make sure you’ve talked to them about how to avoid cross contamination in your kitchen.
Adapted from The Kitchen’s Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Yield: 6Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1439469836Total Fat: 45580525gSaturated Fat: 20987544gTrans Fat: 710750gUnsaturated Fat: 19738537gCholesterol: 175256094mgSodium: 1388227819mgCarbohydrates: 169647552gFiber: 9019334gSugar: 4115209gProtein: 81974044g
DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT, SO YOU DON’T LOSE IT. WHILE YOU’RE THERE, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY OTHER DIETARY SPECIFIC PINTEREST BOARDS.