A pasta salad that everyone will be fighting over at your next BBQ. This tortellini salad is loaded with crispy bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and tossed in a creamy ranch sauce.
Have you dusted off your grill for the season yet? I actually broke out my grill a couple of months ago. That’s one of the few perks I enjoy about living in Florida. With April winding down and all the summer holidays approaching, I’m sure you will be getting your grills in shape and throwing some backyard parties very soon.
My husband’s favorite BBQ side dish is a pasta salad so I wanted to create a pasta salad dish that included some of his favorite flavors. Crispy bacon and ranch were my first flavor choices and adding cheddar cheese is a natural choice. How can anyone say “no” to a cheddar-bacon-ranch flavor combination?
My favorite part of this side dish it that it’s made with four cheese tortellini instead of any regular pasta. If you’re one of the few people who have not tried using tortellini in a pasta salad, I urge you to try it as soon as possible.
First time I made tortellini salad, it was my Italian Tortellini Salad. It’s loaded with salami, capicola ham, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella cheese, homemade classic Italian dressing and much more. It was so good, I decided to try tortellini in pasta salads as much as possible. Another variety you can try is my Greek Tortellini Salad.
WHAT IS IN THIS TORTELLINI SALAD
Let’s start with some four cheese tortellini. If you can’t find this specific flavor, go with your favorite one instead.
Cheese is next and here is your opportunity to get some more flavor. Use sharp cheddar or seriously sharp cheddar in this salad.
Bacon! Cook it first and get it nice and crispy. You can use bacon that is already flavored like applewood or maple.
Of course, ranch is what brings it all together and it’s a simple mix of mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, and ranch seasoning packet.
HOW TO MAKE IT
Start with cooking bacon in the oven and you can even do this ahead of time. Bacon is very easy to make ahead, crumble, and store in the fridge for a couple of days. Store it in an air-tight container, of course.
If you’re making bacon right before the salad, cool it enough to be able to handle and crumble or chop it into small pieces.
Cook tortellini just like the package instructions say, drain of all the cooking water, and let it cool down to room temperature. Add in chopped cheese, crumbled bacon, and herbs into the mixing bowl with tortellini.
Mix ingredients for the ranch dressing separate and then, mix it all together until it’s evenly incorporated.
CAN I MAKE IT AHEAD?
Absolutely, I even recommend it. If you make it ahead of time, it will actually give all ingredients time to mingle and marinade the flavors together.
Prepare tortellini salad according to the recipe and store it in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator. You can make it up to 1 day ahead.
If you have leftover tortellini salad, store it in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator, for 3-4 days.
Some Tortellini and Pasta Salad Recipes:
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Cheddar Bacon Ranch Tortellini Salad
- 18-20 oz four cheese tortellini
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese
- 10-12 crispy bacon strips
- 1 tbsp Fresh herbs for garnish more or less to taste
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 3 Tbsp buttermilk
- 0.4 oz Ranch mix
- Cook tortellini according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside in a mixing bowl.
- Mix all ingredients for the ranch sauce until evenly combined.
- Dice cheese and cooked bacon strips and add them to the pasta.
- Add ranch mixture and stir everything until evenly coated with the sauce.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve
- Garnish with some fresh herbs.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles on April 26, 2017. Updated June 15, 2020.