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Moderation Maven

Dishing up the best ingredients for a healthy lifestyle

Recipe Rescue: Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad


Today we're making over an all-American summer side dish – pasta salad! Mayo-based dishes like potato salad or macaroni salad can be filled with fat and calories. I think summer food should be light and tasty, so I took on the challenge of making over this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe.

Original Recipe Ingredients (serves 10 - about 1 1/4 cup each)

  • 12 oz package uncooked tri-color rotini pasta
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 packet dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk + additional if needed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 3.8 ounce can sliced black olives
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Nutrition Facts


Changes Made:
  • 12 oz package uncooked tri-color rotini pasta: Used whole grain rotini to boost fiber content
  • 10 slices bacon: Reduced to 5 slices and specified to be center-cut bacon (lower in fat)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise: Substituted fat-free plain Greek yogurt (cuts down significantly on fat, adds calcium and protein)
  • 1 packet dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk + additional if needed: Specified to be skim milk
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 3.8 ounce can sliced black olives
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese: Specified to be reduced-fat cheese
In summary:
  • Whole grain rotini in place of tri-color
  • Cut down on bacon, used center-cut
  • Used fat-free plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo
  • Used skim milk
  • Switched to reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Nutrition Facts Face-Off!

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 12 oz package uncooked whole grain rotini pasta
  • 5 slices center-cut bacon
  • 1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 packet dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic pepper
  • ½ cup skim milk, or as needed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 3.8 oz can sliced black olives
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook rotini at a boil until firm to the bite; drain.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until evenly brown. Drain well and chop finely.
  3. In a large bowl, mix Greek yogurt, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, and garlic pepper. Whisk in milk until smooth. Place rotini, bacon, tomato, black olives and cheese in bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Toss with additional milk if the salad needs more moisture.


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