As promised, I’ve got more for you than just chocolate. This week we’re celebrating seasonal indulgence with an easy recipe for creamy dairy free ranch pasta salad. It’s the perfect dish for showcasing fresh summer produce, and can be whipped up quickly for lunch or made ahead, chilled, and taken to potlucks and barbecues.
What many people don’t realize is that several traditional recipes can be enjoyed dairy-free with just a simple ingredient swap. That store-bought ranch dressing may be loaded with milk, but at home, you can just use your favorite unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage. I usually use coconut milk beverage in recipe testing for two reasons: it’s a little richer than most other milk alternatives and it’s naturally free of top allergens, making my dish “friendly” for more viewers. That said, you can use your favorite unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage, whether it be coconut, cashew, almond or soy!
I simply love how versatile this dairy free ranch pasta salad is. You can adjust the seasonings to suit your mood (increase the salt and pepper for more punch, squeeze in more lemon to brighten, add a little cayenne and paprika to spice things up) and the seasonal add-ins are endless. I used fresh cut corn, grape tomatoes and sliced olives, but you might like any of the following produce: sliced celery, grated carrot, blanched broccoli florets, chopped bell pepper (red, green, yellow or orange!), summer squash wedges (lightly steamed), peas, or green beans.
To make this dairy free ranch pasta salad a meal, add your favorite protein, whether it be chopped cooked chicken, bacon, chopped tempeh, or black beans.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions, text, recipe, photos, and awesome corn kernel cutting skills are all mine.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy Free Ranch Pasta Salad
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, optionally vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
For gluten-free dairy free ranch pasta salad, I use non-GMO corn-based pasta (conchiliette shown here), which I find holds its shape much better than rice-based and quinoa varieties for pasta salad.
For egg-free, soy-free and/or vegan ranch pasta salad, mayo is your wild card. Regular and low fat mayonnaise are almost always dairy-free, but they do contain eggs. Fortunately, there are now several brands of vegan mayo to choose from, which work equally well in this dairy ranch pasta salad. Soy oil and / or soy protein may be found in regular or vegan mayo, so be sure to seek out a soy-free version, if needed.
- 1 lb dry pasta (gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayo
- ¼ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage (I use Silk Unsweetened Original Coconut Milk Beverage)
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 ears corn, cooked (see below)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes or sliced red bell pepper
- ⅔ cup sliced black olives
- Cook the pasta according to the packaged directions. Rinse with cold water once cooked.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, milk beverage, parsley, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper.
- Cut the kernals away from the corn and place in a large bowl. Stir in the cooked pasta, tomatoes, and olives. Pour on the dressing and gently stir to evenly coat.
- Taste test and add more salt, to taste, if desired.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.
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I made this recently, and the ranch dressing it makes is amazing! I used a rice vinegar in place of the lemon juice (citrus allergy) and it was perfect. Thanks so much for this recipe.
You are so welcome Jennifer! Thanks for your feedback and for sharing your modification.
Ooh, my husband would love this. He loves anything ranch!
I’m with him!
This looks like such a lovely, fresh pasta salad. Your choice to use the Silk Coconut Milk sounds perfect, I bet it adds a really nice flavor to this dish.
I think it does, but is surprisingly mellow. I like the way the coconut milk beverage helps to keep the richness overall.
Seriously… who needs dairy with a pretty salad like that! You make the best stuff.
Aw, thank you so much Julie!
Thank you for sharing such a yummy recipe! My 2 year old is dairy free and we are huge fans of Silk products. And I am sure we will be huge fans of this salad too!
I hope you and your little one do get the chance to enjoy it Emily.
Love how easy this pasta salad is! It will be a great side dish for our summer cookouts!
Yes, definitely a favorite side to go alongside grilling!
Oh wait, I never thought to put ranch on a pasta salad! That’s a great compliment to the summer produce. Your salad looks beautiful and delicious.
Thank you Christine. I guess I look for any excuse to add some dairy-free ranch dressing 🙂
Always love that you are able to make dishes that have ALWAYS used milk or butter into something just as wonderful sans the dairy!
I do my best 🙂
I’m always in anytime I can have gluten free pasta! This variation looks delicious!
Me too, Natalie! It’s one craving that my husband and I can enjoy together (he’s gluten-free) without it tasting gluten-free at all!
This looks so good. I love the big pieces of corn in it!
I love that it’s corn season 🙂
I’ll have to check out that pasta you linked to, I always struggle with finding a good pasta for pasta salad. Does this one stay soft or does it get really hard when refrigerated like other corn pastas do?
It stays soft and doesn’t fall apart. Unfortunately, due to the “anti-corn” movement, it’s sometimes hard to find (Trader Joe’s actually used to have their own branded version), but it is non-GMO and the best we’ve found. It must be rinsed after cooking though.
Wow! This pasta salad looks so good! I can’t believe it’s dairy-free!
Thank you Jackie! I know, so much creamy goodness without a speck of dairy.
Yum! This looks perfect for all the fresh summer produce coming up. 🙂
Agreed! I actually had trouble deciding which produce to put in and went a little overboard.
I love how easy this recipe is, and it looks delicious!
I love pasta salads like this, and RANCH sounds like a great flavor! we are grilling this weekend, this might make it on the menu! 🙂
Somehow, I knew I could win you over with ranch Kristina!
This pasta salad looks delicious! I love how fresh it looks.
Thanks Amanda, I do my best 🙂
I have to admit two things- this looks utterly irresistible and I didn’t know Silk made coconut milk! Will have to look for it 🙂
Yes, they’ve got nearly a full range now! The unsweetened coconut milk beverage is so darn versatile, too.
Pasta salad is one of my favorite things about summer…SO GOOD! Love the Ranch 😉
Mine, too! I’m thinking I may need to whip up quite a few variations of this ranch pasta salad before summer ends!