BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad

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Barbecue season is upon us folks, which means we get to slather our favorite sweet stuff on pretty much everything. While thinking about the BBQ flavored goodies I frequently enjoy, I realized pasta wasn’t one of them. And with a friend’s cookout this last weekend, I had the perfect opportunity to experiment.

Theo also got to enjoy the cookout, and here’s a complimentary picture of him, for your enjoyment.

Probably the best thing about this pasta is that the overall recipe is actually pretty cheap! Plus, whether you’re cooking for a crowd or for yourself, you’re sure to please some taste buds.

Lets get to it!

So this first step is completely optional. Since I was already frying some bacon for my loaded baked potato salad (recipe coming soon!) I decided to recycle the bacon grease.

Toss your onions into the pan with the grease or oil then cook until translucent and browning.

I chose to use whole tomatoes for this recipe because I actually hate tomatoes and if I’m going to be using them in a recipe, I like them to be big enough for me to avoid entirely. Why still use tomatoes if I hate them so much? Because I still respect that while my sophisticated palate may not have acquired the taste for tomatoes, I suppose there are others that can endure such…tomatoey-ness.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the box. If you aren’t making the entire box at once, you can actually cook the noodles in the sauce and skip this step completely! Just add 1 cup of the uncooked noodles to the skillet with the tomatoes and half the amount of milk and broth, and cook until tender.

Pour the milk and chicken broth over the noodles along with the powered ranch, then stir to combine and bring to a bubbling boil.

Reduce the heat and cover for about 10 minutes.

Once most of the moisture has cooked off, pour the noodles into a large bowl.

Slather on the barbecue sauce! That’s right, I said slather, because how else would you BBQ?

Gently mix together the noodles, then chill for a few hours. This stuff is good warm, but it’s incredible cold.

bbq ranch pasta

BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad

The Starving Chef
This pasta salad is good warm, but it's incredible cold.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Backyard Cooking



  • Begin by cooking the entire box of cavatappi noodles according to the instructions on the box. Drain and rinse.
  • Slice the onions and mince the garlic. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the can of tomatoes, juices and all, to the skillet. Place the noodles in the skillet then pour in the milk and chicken broth. Bring the sauce to a boil then, reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Sprinkle on the ranch powder, purple basil, and spicy basil. Stir until mixed in. Season with a touch of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and place noodles into large bowl. Let chill in the fridge, covered, for 1-2 hours.
  • Pour on the barbecue sauce and gently stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve, the sauce with thicken as it cools – perfect for a picnic or cookout!
Keyword BBQ, noodles, pasta salad, ranch
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