Skip to Content

Copycat Ruby Tuesday Pasta Salad

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission with each sale.

My homemade, copycat version of Ruby Tuesday’s pasta salad – rotini pasta, diced ham, peas and green pepper make for the perfect side dish for a summer party! Don’t forget to bring a pitcher of raspberry rosé sangria and the ingredients for some grilled peaches, too.  

Pasta salad on a fork being held over a bowl of colorful pasta salad

Generally speaking, I’m not a “chain restaurant” kind of girl. I live for finding little hole in the wall cafes, family-run diners and restaurants that only use locally-grown ingredients.

But I do have a couple exceptions, and the Ruby Tuesday salad bar is one of them. Sweet mother, do I love their salad bar.

On my first pass, I pile my plate high with olives, egg, peas, peppers, carrots and a smidgen of lettuce underneath it all. But on my second pass I load it up with the fruit salad and the pasta salad.

I can’t get enough of the pasta salad – I really don’t even know what it is about it that’s so addictive to me.

Overhead shot of a bowl of colorful pasta salad

The Ruby Tuesday closest to me is… well, not close at all. I got a horrible craving for the pasta salad recently and my only mission was to come up with a copycat recipe (I know, you’re shocked).

And it might not 100% dead on, but this is pretty freaking close.

Overhead shot of a colorful bowl of pasta salad with a wooden spoon

Tips for making copycat Ruby Tuesday pasta salad

You only need 8 ingredients, most of which you probably have hanging around the house anyway:

  • Rotini pasta
  • Ranch dressing
  • Mayonnaise
  • Green bell pepper
  • Ham
  • Frozen peas
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Make sure you’re salting the water you’re cooking the pasta in. For 1 pound of pasta (like we’re using in this recipe), add at least 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt.

Cook the pasta to just a little past al dente. You don’t want it to be mushy from being cooked too long, nor do you want it to be too tough because you didn’t cook it long enough.

Make sure you rinse the pasta in cold water after it’s done cooking. Once you rinse it in cold water, it’s going to stop it from cooking further – so make sure to taste it before you pull it from the heat.

Speaking of the cold water rinse, you don’t need to chill the pasta before dressing it. In fact, that would be doing yourself a disservice! You want to compile the salad with all the ingredients as soon as you can while it can still best absorb the flavors.

Bowl of colorful pasta salad in a clear bowl

Does it matter what brands I use?

Overall, not really. Use whatever brands of ranch dressing and mayonnaise you prefer or have on hand.

For what it’s worth, I usually use Hellmans Real Mayonnaise and Hidden Valley Ranch.

What kind of ham should I use?

I always buy packages of Boar’s Head Boneless Ham Steaks and then dice them. An 8 ounce package is about 2 cups of diced ham.

But if you happened to have a freshly baked ham, you can absolutely use that!

Do I have to use rotini pasta?

To get as close to the real recipe, yes!

But outside of that, definitely not. You could always try it with another “short” pasta shape like fusilli, penne, cavatappi, or elbow macaroni. Nooks and crannies are your friends! Just make sure you’re using dried pasta instead of fresh – it holds up better to pasta salads.

Pasta salad on a fork being held over a bowl of colorful pasta salad

Chilling is essential for the flavor

The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for it to chill before digging in. AND I HATE WAITING. 

I’ve had many people comment that it didn’t taste quite right when they taste tested it before chilling it in the fridge – and you’re all completely right.

The flavors don’t meld together to get it just right until after it’s been in the fridge for at least an hour. The good news is that it’s totally worth the wait!

Plus, it’s so easy to make a giant batch to serve at a summer party and it can be prepared ahead of time so that you can worry about more important things the day of the party, like decorations, music and inflating pretzel-shaped pool floats. 

… what? That’s just me? Fine.

After you’ve made this recipe, please leave a comment below with a rating – and if you came from Pinterest, add a photo to the Pin of what you make to the pin to share your experience!

Print

Copycat Ruby Tuesday Pasta Salad

Copycat Ruby Tuesday Pasta Salad

My homemade, copycat version of Ruby Tuesday’s pasta salad – rotini pasta, diced ham, peas and green pepper make for the perfect side dish for a summer party! Don’t forget to bring a pitcher of raspberry rosé sangria and the ingredients for some grilled peaches, too.

  • Author: Leslie Kiszka
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups ham, cooked and diced (about 18 ounce ham steak)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside until completely cooled.
  2. In a very large bowl, combine ranch dressing, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
  3. Add green pepper, ham, peas and stir to combine. Add pasta and stir again to combine.
  4. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator to chill completely.
  5. Serve cold and enjoy!

Notes

  • Make sure you rinse the pasta in cold water after it’s done cooking – this will stop the cooking process completely, and it will help it cool more quickly.
  • People have given some AWESOME recommendations in the comments – some from real life former Ruby Tuesday employees. Check them out if you want to make this more authentic – I’m not including them in my recipe card since it wasn’t my idea and I actually love my version as is, and I don’t want to give away their secrets without credit :)

Keywords: ham and pea pasta, Copycat Ruby Tuesday Pasta Salad, summer salad, easy pasta salad, ham and pasta recipes, macaroni salad with ham, copycat recipes, restaurant recipes, copycat restaurant recipes, cold pasta salad recipes, rotini pasta salad

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

The recipe was originally published in June 2015 and republished in April 2019 with some shiny new pictures. 

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars
← Previous
Fluffernutter Rice Krispie Treats
Next →
Let us know what you think!
Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Diane

Friday 2nd of April 2021

What kind of Ranch dressing is used bottled or homemade

Leslie Kiszka

Sunday 4th of April 2021

Hi Diane, thanks for the question. As I note in the body of the post, I usually use Hidden Valley Ranch - but you can use whatever you'd like!

Diane

Friday 2nd of April 2021

What kind of Ranch blessing g do you use bottled or do you make it

Emily

Thursday 7th of January 2021

I’m so excited for this!! My main craving during this pregnancy was ruby tuesdays pasta salad. And now I have have it without leaving my house (which is nice due to covid). It’s SPOT ON. I can’t believe it. Thank you!

Leslie Kiszka

Monday 11th of January 2021

So glad you liked it! Best of luck with your pregnancy <3

Heather

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Surprisingly close to correct! Rather than salt and pepper, we used gsp or fry seasoning. Add dried garlic powder lol

Mary Ann Baker

Saturday 31st of October 2020

When you say you use Hidden Valley Ranch are you saying that: A. You use the Hidden Valley Ranch from a bottle? OR B. You make your own? If you make your own please be specific as to how you make it like which packet, which milk and which mayo.

Thanks

Leslie Kiszka

Sunday 1st of November 2020

Hi Mary Ann, thanks for asking - no one ever has before, and it never occurred to me that I was being unclear! I'm talking about the bottles of creamy dressing (and not dry mix).

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.