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This BLT Pasta Salad features freshly grilled bacon and an extremely simple mayo-based dressing. It’s a great dish to serve at a potluck, cookouts, barbecues, block parties, and any other social gathering.
This easy pasta salad recipe includes all the classic ingredients of a BLT sandwich. Namely, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and pasta instead of bread. It can be made with either cooked or raw pasta.
What Is BLT Pasta Salad?
A BLT pasta salad is pasta mixed with bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes, just like the sandwich we all know and love. But instead of bread, you use pasta!
Can I Use Fat-Free Greek Yogurt?
This recipe calls for a mayo-based dressing. In theory, you could easily substitute the mayo for plain Greek yogurt. However, I would test it first to see if you like the flavor because it can be quite tangy.
Can You Prep Pasta Salad In Advance?
You can, but I wouldn’t do it too far in advance. If you do plan to store this for one to two days, I recommend storing it without the dressing so your pasta doesn’t get soggy. Add the dressing just before serving.
The Best Types Of Pasta for Pasta Salad
The best pasta to use in pasta salad is the pasta you most enjoy. That being said, some pasta works a little better in pasta salad than others. So here are the best types of pasta to choose from:
- Bowtie pasta
- Rotini pasta
- Cavatappi pasta
- Orzo pasta (this will give you more of a rice-like texture and consistency which works super well in pasta salad)
- Macaroni pasta
- Fusilli pasta
- Farfalle pasta
- Penne pasta
What To Serve With BLT Pasta Salad
While this is sort of an “all-in-one” type of meal, you could certainly add a cup of soup or some crusty garlic bread. And if you don’t mind the extra lettuce, you can also serve a green salad with it.
Avocado BLT Pasta Salad
This salad is very good with added avocado. That being said, I would cut and add the avocado at the very last minute. The avocado won’t store well either, so if you will have leftovers, I recommend cutting and adding the avocado to each dish just prior to serving, instead of the entire mixing bowl.
If this is not possible (for example, if you are setting a big bowl of this on a buffet table), you can either serve cut avocado on the side for people to spoon on themselves, or you’ll want to be sure to wrap any leftovers up really tightly. The avocado will brown, so if there isn’t a ton of it left in the salad, you may even want to consider picking it out and storing it with a little lemon juice squeezed over it.
For this salad’s yield, I recommend approximately 2 medium avocados.
Can I Double Or Halve This Recipe?
You can! Both the dressing and the ingredients are quite easy to adjust.
Tips For The Best Pasta Salad
- 1 Extra Minute – You’ll be cooking the pasta to the package directions. But pay attention to the cooking time. You’ll want to add 1 minute to the cooking time stated on the package, but no more than that. There is a fine line between cooked and mushy. So set your kitchen timer and act quickly when it goes off. Pasta salad is often served cold. It can harden just a bit as it cools, so the extra minute of cooking will give it just the right texture for a cold or room temperature pasta salad.
- Salted Water – You’ll want to make sure you salt your water well. Pasta can be somewhat lacking in flavor without this step, particularly in a cooler pasta salad.
- Rinsing – If you are using regular, wheat-based pasta, you can simply strain the cooking water off (you can even save a small amount to add to the sauce so it adheres to the pasta better). However, if you are using any type of gluten-free pasta, you’ll want to rinse it well after draining off the cooking water. Otherwise, the water leaves behind too much starch, and your pasta will become a gluey-sticky mess.
How To Salt Pasta Water
Use approximately 1 to 1½ tbsp. for every 4 quarts of water (or 1 pound of pasta). Use less if your dressing or added ingredients are on the saltier side, and more if you have blander additions such as fresh veggies.
Note that if you are using Kosher salt, you may want to use the full 1½ tablespoons as it requires a bit more than something like sea salt or pink salt.
About The Dressing
You can make as much or as little of this dressing as you like. The basic ratio is 2 parts mayo to 1 part water. So if you need to double this recipe, use a ½ cup of mayo to a ¼ cup of water. Super easy!
Extra Additions And Variations
If you want to build out this salad a bit, here are some ideas for extra additions.
- Onions – red onions work best for this salad.
- Green onions
- Sour cream
- Cheddar cheese
- Garlic powder or garlic granules (about 1 tsp.)
- Ground black pepper
- Creamy ranch dressing (instead of mayo dressing) – Try homemade ranch dressing!
- Shredded chicken
- Finely chopped celery
- Grated parmesan cheese
About The Ingredients
½ lb. dry pasta, cooked to package directions – Make sure to cook it in a large pot of salted water. See instructions for salting water above.
2 cups chopped lettuce – I used Romaine lettuce. But iceberg lettuce, green or red leaf lettuce will work just as well. Whatever lettuce you want to use is fine.
3 strips bacon, cooked – I used turkey bacon. Cook this to your liking. It doesn’t matter if it’s crispy bacon or something a little less than crisp, as long as it’s fully cooked.
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved – Cherry tomatoes work too.
¼ cup mayo – Look for mayo with no added sugar, or make your own.
2 tbsp. water
Salt and pepper – as needed.
How To Make A BLT Pasta Salad
Prep all your ingredients by cooking and chopping as needed.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta and lettuce.
Add the tomatoes and bacon.
Make the mayonnaise dressing and pour as much as you like over the salad.
Toss to combine.
Serve as needed with salt and pepper.
When Does Pasta Salad Go Bad?
With Meat Added – 3 days.
Without any meat or meat products – 4-5 days, depending on the ingredients.
This BLT Pasta Salad – 3 days.
Pasta Salad Storage
Pack this in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended.
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For this recipe, you’ll need a good mixing bowl, some pasta bowls, and some measuring cups.
More Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes
- Summer Vegetable Bowtie Pasta Salad
- Easy Macaroni Salad
- Chickpea Orzo Salad
- Turkey Vegetable Pasta Salad
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Easy BLT Pasta Salad Recipe Card + Video
BLT Pasta Salad
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- 1 Large mixing bowl
- ½ lb. dry pasta (cooked to package directions)
- 2 cups chopped lettuce
- 3 strips bacon (chopped)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
- ¼ cup mayonaisse
- 2 tbsp. water
- Prep all your ingredients by cooking and chopping as needed.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta and lettuce.
- Add the tomatoes and bacon.
- Make the mayonnaise dressing and pour as much as you like over the salad.
- Toss to combine.
- Serve as needed with salt and pepper.