The Ultimate Pesto Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe – Bursting with Flavor

Pesto-ranch pasta salad is normally great for hot summer season but you can make it anytime you want.  The vibrant colors contributed by veggie bits can boost your appetite.  One bite on the creamy and cool dish will surely elevate your feeling.

Pesto-ranch pasta salad Recipe

Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad
Pesto-ranch pasta salad – a burst of colors, flavors, and textures on your plate.
How To Make Pesto Ranch Pasta Salad – 4 Steps

Pesto Ranch Pasta Salad

This easy-to-make, delicious pasta salad is a fantastic addition to any meal. With just a few ingredients, it can be whipped up in no time. It's perfect for picnics and potlucks. The creamy dressing and fresh, crunchy ingredients make this dish a great option for entertaining. Also, it's great for parties, since it makes a great meal in its own right.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: INTERNATIONAL, Italian
Keyword: pasta salad, Pesto Ranch Pasta Salad
CookingStyle: Handcrafted Cooking
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 422kcal
Author: Hung Dao
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  • cup rotini noodles uncooked
  • 2 tbsp. pesto sauce
  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced English cucumber
  • cup Roma tomato cubed
  • cup black olives pitted
  • basil freshly chopped
  • kosher salt


Step 1

  • Prepare the noodles as per instruction at the back of its packaging. Just add a pinch of salt when boiling it and it is best cooked al dente. After boiling, drain them in a colander or big strainer and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Set the pasta aside and prepare the salad dressing.

Step 2

  • For the dressing, just combine the pesto and ranch into a small bowl.

Step 3

  • Next, combine the noodles, dressing, tomatoes, olives and cucumbers into a medium bowl.

Step 4

  • Top the now-ready pesto-ranch salad with basil and serve. Alternatively, you can put it inside the fridge and chill for some time before serving.
  • How To Make Pesto Ranch Pasta Salad – 4 Steps



You can also prepare the noodles, veggies and dressing ahead but keep each into different containers before refrigerating. Combine them later before serving and remember to top the pesto-ranch salad with basil.
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Serving: 2servings | Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 488mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g
© Food And Meal

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the Spoonacular Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

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Alternative Method: Grilled Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad

Pesto-Ranch Pasta Sala
Fresh basil garnish and croutons – the final touches to your masterpiece.


  • 2 cups cooked pasta (rotini or fusilli)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper strips
  • 1/4 cup zucchini slices
  • 1/4 cup red onion wedges
  • 1/4 cup asparagus spears
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup homemade pesto sauce
  • 1/4 cup homemade ranch dressing
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
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  • Prepare the Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 350-400°F (175-200°C).
  • Vegetable Preparation: In a large bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper strips, zucchini slices, red onion wedges, and asparagus spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Grill the Vegetables: Place the vegetables on the grill grates. Grill for about 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are tender and have those beautiful grill marks. Remove from the grill and let them cool for a few minutes.
  • Pasta Prep: In a separate bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the grilled vegetables.
  • Pesto and Ranch Magic: Add the homemade pesto sauce and ranch dressing to the pasta and vegetables. Gently toss everything together until well coated.
  • Serve and Garnish: Transfer the grilled Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
  • Enjoy: Serve your grilled pasta salad as a side dish or a main course. The smoky, grilled flavor combined with the pesto and ranch is a true taste sensation.

Tips for making Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad

Pesto-Ranch Pasta Sala
Create your culinary masterpiece – pesto-ranch pasta salad in a mason jar.

Serving Suggestions

Recommend Sides and Complements:

  • Grilled Proteins: For a complete meal, serve your pasta salad alongside grilled chicken, shrimp, or even a juicy steak. The contrast of flavors works wonders.
  • Fresh Greens: A simple side of mixed greens with a light vinaigrette is an excellent complement. It adds a refreshing and healthy component to your plate.
  • Garlic Bread: The combination of pasta and garlic bread is a match made in culinary heaven. The garlic bread’s crunch and flavor enhance the overall experience.

Presentation Ideas:

  • Bento-Style Lunch: Pack your Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad in a bento box with compartments. Include a variety of cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and cucumber slices. It’s a fun and practical way to serve it.
  • Family-Style Platter: When dining with friends and family, consider presenting the pasta salad on a large platter garnished with fresh basil and a drizzle of extra pesto and ranch. It’s a communal and inviting style.
  • Mason Jar Salads: Create individual Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad servings in mason jars for a unique picnic or on-the-go option. Layer the ingredients and dressings for a visually appealing treat.

Cooking Tips

 Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad
Bento-style lunch for busy days – pesto-ranch pasta salad to go.

Tips and Tricks for Best Results:

  • Use Al Dente Pasta: Cook your pasta until it’s just tender. Overcooked pasta can become mushy in a salad. Rinse the cooked pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Homemade Dressings: Whenever possible, make your pesto and ranch dressings from scratch. The freshness and quality of homemade dressings greatly enhance the flavor.
  • Let It Chill: After preparing the salad, let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
  • Cheese Matters: Don’t forget to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It’s worth the extra effort for that authentic Italian touch.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Using Too Much Dressing: Overdressing the salad can make it soggy. Add dressing gradually and toss well to achieve the right balance.
  • Skipping Seasoning: Season your pasta salad at various stages—when cooking the pasta, when making the dressings, and when assembling the salad. It’s the key to flavor.
  • Neglecting Texture: Texture is crucial. Ensure you have a mix of crunchy (like veggies), chewy (like sun-dried tomatoes), and creamy (like dressings and cheese) elements.
  • Storing with Garnishes: If you plan to store leftovers, don’t add the fresh basil or croutons until you’re ready to serve. They’re best when added just before eating.
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FAQs about Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad

 Pesto-Ranch Pasta Salad
Family-style presentation – sharing good food with great company.
  • Can I Make This Salad in Advance for a Potluck?  Absolutely! In fact, making it in advance enhances the flavor as the ingredients meld. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Just add fresh basil and croutons before serving.
  • Can I Substitute Pesto and Ranch Dressings with Store-Bought Ones? Yes, you can. While homemade is wonderful, high-quality store-bought pesto and ranch dressings are convenient options. Choose ones with flavors you love.
  • Can I Make This Salad Vegan? Certainly. Opt for dairy-free cheese and a vegan pesto and ranch dressing. You’ll still enjoy a flavorful and satisfying vegan pasta salad.
  • How Do I Keep Pasta from Sticking Together?  Cook your pasta al dente and rinse it under cold water. You can also toss it with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Can I Add Protein to Make It a Full Meal? Yes, you can add grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu to make it a heartier dish. It’s a fantastic way to turn your pasta salad into a complete meal.

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