Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Texan Gals' Pasta Salad

If you've spent much time around girls from Texas, you might have noticed their love affair with ranch dressing. We like to say, "everything goes better with ranch." It's not just for salads. I dip my pizza in it, fries, chicken strips, and anything else I can think of. So, when I was looking for recipes for pasta salad and came across this Corn and Pasta Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing I was inspired to make my own version. I added black beans, grilled the corn, roasted the tomatoes, and used store bought ranch (my favorite from Dion's here in New Mexico) rather then making my own.

Begin with these ingredients:
  • 8 oz. rotini pasta
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (add more if you are a bacon lover or if you are sharing your pasta with hungry guys)
  • 2-3 cups arugula
  • Chili powder 
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 tbsp. Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup black beans rinsed and drained 
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes or grape heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 ear of corn, husks removed
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water. Set aside. Place tomatoes in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Pour tomatoes into foil and wrap them up loosely. Brush corn with olive oil. Place corn and tomatoes (in foil) on grill over medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes, just to char it a bit. Remove corn from grill and cut kernels off.

Place pasta, bacon, arugula, corn, tomatoes, beans, and ranch in a large bowl. Toss so that dressing coats everything. Add chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Cool in fridge until ready to serve.

This is the perfect pasta salad for summer. It's easy to prepare in advance and take to a picnic or barbecue. It's also something you can make on Sunday so that you have lunch prepared for a few days. You can take it to work or when you're on the go in the car. This pasta is easy to make your own. Want more spice? Add grilled jalapenos or roasted green chiles. More meat? Add cooked chicken or shrimp. The possibilities are endless!

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