BLT pasta salad takes the classic flavors of a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and turns them into a super fresh, super crave-able summer side dish for barbecues and potlucks (or the best work-from-home lunch ever!)
this BLT pasta salad made me cut my photoshoot short!
It’s hard to stay behind a lens when you’ve got a BLT pasta salad in front of you. That first bite reminded me of why the bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is such a classic in the first place. The simple combo of umami-rich bacon, bright tangy tomatoes, crisp fresh lettuce, and creamy mayo is just one of those “more than the sum of its parts” kind of situations that is just so. darn. delicious.
does it really taste like a blt?
You bet it does, it’s surprisingly spot on. It was a hit with all taste testers, so I’m pretty confident you’ll love it.
the blt pasta salad recipe
- pasta – the pasta stands in for the bread in this clever recipe…and you can use whatever shape you like. I used cavatappi, but bowties, shells, or fusilli also work well. Stay with a shaped pasta as opposed to a strand pasta for easy eating.
- bacon, crisped on the stove top or in the oven. I vote for in the oven…I line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. I chop rather than crumble it so you get bigger bites of bacon, just like you would in a sandwich.
- cherry tomatoes are perfect for this salad ~ they have a bright flavor and keep their shape well.
- a crisp, sturdy lettuce – I used a “little gem” type lettuce with densely packed leaves. Romaine would also work well.
- red onion isn’t always included in a classic BLT but it really gives a nice lift to this pasta salad, so I consider it essential.
- mayo, of course, and lots of it.
- apple cider vinegar, and a touch of sugar flavor the simple mayo based dressing.
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
tips for making and serving this pasta salad
- Make sure you bring your cooked pasta to room temp by rinsing it under cool water before dressing it, or the dressing will just soak right in. Sometimes I want this effect, but not here. I want you to taste that layer of mayo in every bite.
- This salad is really best served immediately because you want that wonderful texture of the crispy bacon and crunchy lettuce. If you’re going to put it in the fridge, use it within a couple hours of making.
- The dressing may seem simple, even too simple, but remember it’s really about that classic mayo flavor that we all love in our BLTs. So resist the temptation to jazz up the dressing with extraneous flavors.
- Even with 3/4 cup of mayo, this pasta salad is not very heavily dressed (a pound of pasta is a lot!) so feel free to make additional dressing if you’re a mayo fan and dress it a little heavier.
bacon makes everything better, right?
- Fried Cabbage and Bacon Slaw
- Pasta with Radicchio, Bacon, and Walnuts
- Sweet Corn, Hatch Chile, and Bacon Salsa
- Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
- Breakfast Mac and Cheese
BLT Pasta Salad
- 1 lb dry pasta, I used cavatappi
- 9 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, slivered
- 3 cups roughly chopped lettuce greens (choose a sturdy, crisp lettuce, or substitute arugula)
- 1 dry pint (16 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together and taste to adjust.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Rinse under cool water to bring it to room temperature, then drain well. I sometimes dump the pasta onto paper towels to remove the excess water. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Coat the pasta with about 1/2 of the dressing. Taste and add extra salt if needed.
- Add the chopped bacon, red onion, lettuce, and tomatoes to the bowl along with the rest of the dressing. Toss everything together gently with the rest of the dressing to combine, and serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to a couple of hours before serving.