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Crack Corn Pasta Salad

pasta salad with corn bacon cheese and parsley in a white bowl

I'm kind of in love with this new Crack Corn Pasta Salad.  It has all my favorite things - pasta, corn, bacon, cheese, jalapeno pepper, onion and a beautiful lemony ranch dressing which makes it absolutely crack to me because I literally can't stop eating it!

Most of the work for this salad is prep - cooking the pasta and bacon so they have time to cool, then chopping up a couple of veggies.  Once that is done you are literally just mixing all the ingredients together - it makes it a simple but delicious and a flavorful side dish for any barbecue or picnic.  Sometimes I just make a batch of this to keep in the refrigerator to have for lunch!  

A couple of tips for this salad:

  • Ditalini pasta is pretty easy to find and really just looks like pieces of elbow macaroni that have been chopped up.  (Some actually call it a very short macaroni.)  I like this kind of pasta for this salad because the pieces are about the same size as the corn and they just work together well texture wise, but you can use elbow macaroni or different pasta if you choose.
  • You can use fresh or frozen corn for this salad.  (Technically you could use canned too as long as you rinse it, but I'm not a huge fan of canned unless I have to.)  You can also use the corn raw, or cook it slightly and let it cool.  I love mine raw off the cob or straight out of the freezer bag, just defrosted.  I've also roasted corn on the cob on the grill, let it cool, cut it off the cob and used that.
  • Depending on how spicy you want this salad, add between 1-2 Tbsp of diced Jalapeno pepper.  As long as you have removed the seeds and dice it finely, it should not be too spicy to handle, but you can leave it out if you are adamantly against spicy food.
  • I like to cut up my bacon in to strips with kitchen shears BEFORE cooking it, (I cut several pieces at a time and separate them as they cook), then spoon the pieces out on to a paper towel to drain after they are nice and crispy.  I find that so much easier than chopping hot bacon, but you do you!
  • If you like red onion and have that on hand, you can totally switch up the spring onions for red - you will just need about 1/4 of a cup.
  • Use actual buttermilk for this - the lemon juice/milk trick that you can use for baking doesn't work quite the same for this dressing - the thick, tangy buttermilk adds such beautiful taste and texture to the dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 12oz ditalini pasta, cooked according to package directions for al dente, then drained and cooled
  • 2 cups sweet corn, (can use frozen or fresh off the cob)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked, cooled and chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1-2 Tbsp jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely diced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Instructions:
  1. Place the cooked and cooled pasta, sweet corn, cooled chopped bacon, shredded cheese, diced jalapeno and sliced spring onions in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, ranch dressing mix, fresh parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper to make your dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the large bowl and toss everything together lightly until it's well mixed!
  4. Chill and then serve garnished with extra chopped parsley if desired.
pasta salad with corn bacon cheese and parsley in a white bowl with a spoon

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