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The secret ingredient in this popular pasta salad is pickle juice

It’s briny and bright!
/ Source: TODAY

During the 3rd hour of TODAY, the anchors got to try a new dish that's becoming pretty hot online — a cold pasta salad.

A satisfying pasta salad is always one of summer's greatest delights, but what makes this one so exciting?

The salad's fab flavor actually comes from one particularly unexpected secret ingredient: pickle juice!

"According to the Huffington Post, this is now the pasta salad you need to bring to every barbecue," said TODAY's Dylan Dreyer.

The Dill Pickle Ranch Pasta Salad, which was developed by food stylist Kelly Paige, is made with al dente gemelli, which works well as a base since the spiral noodles hold the ingredients well in their little nooks and crannies. There are also savory chunks of thick, crisp bacon and cheddar cheese. Before making this Fourth of July showstopper, make sure to hold on to that pickle-less pickle jar: its brine is the trick to balancing out the creamy, homemade ranch dressing.

"So, the pickle juice cuts the richness of the mayonnaise, and the ranch dressing and the sour cream and everything else that's in this," Dryer said, who initially seemed worried about the dish's fattier contents (versus a pasta salad like her mom's that's made with a vinaigrette base).

But Dylan was pleasantly surprised after her first bite of Paige's creation.

"The first thing I notice about this, though, by the way is the color. The gorgeous sort of red tomatoes on top make it perfect for the Fourth of July," White House correspondent Kristen Welker said.

"I have to tell you," Sheinelle Jones added after taking a bite, "it's really good."

"It is really good," Kristen agreed.

"It's gotta be like 3,000 calories, though," Craig Melvin commented.

For those wondering exactly how pickle juice works its magic in this recipe, Paige provided the answer.

"The juice and spices at the bottom of the jar are a delicious combination of vinegar, garlic, dill, mustard seeds, peppercorns and coriander seeds," she said. "It adds a brightness to dishes with a pop of acidity, sourness and tang. Think of it as a one-stop shop for flavor."

Briny pickles paired with bacon, cheese and fresh summery tomatoes ... what's not to love?