One of my favorite things about summer is a big ol’ juicy BLT sandwich. But until those gorgeous summer tomatoes come in, I’ll be enjoying that BLT flavor in salad form. This BLT Pasta Salad gives me all that creamy, tomatoey, balcony flavor I love but in a cold and refreshing pasta salad form. Plus, it’s great for all your summer BBQs, picnics, and potlucks. So if you haven’t tried this classic summer pasta salad, put it on your list!
What’s In BLT Pasta Salad?
Okay, just in case you’ve never experienced the beautiful simplicity of a BLT sandwich, let’s start there. “BLT” stands for “bacon lettuce tomato”. A BLT sandwich is just crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, and sliced tomatoes between two slices of bread, slathered with mayonnaise. It’s simple and perfect.
For BLT Pasta Salad we keep the core flavors the same, but we flesh it out just a bit. I think lettuce is a bit too delicate for pasta salad, so I used fresh spinach instead (I think it holds up better and has better color and texture for a pasta salad). To give the dressing a little more flavor than just plain mayo, we add a little ranch dressing, lemon juice for zing, and some salt and pepper. And then finally, I added a little diced red onion to round out the flavor and texture of the salad. It’s still super simple and totally delish!
What Kind of Pasta to Use
You can use any short pasta shape for this recipe, like rotini, small shells, macaroni, orecchiette, cavatappi, or farfalle (bowtie). I went for bowtie because I thought the shape was super cute in this salad!
How Long Does it Last?
This BLT Pasta Salad benefits from a little time in the fridge (you’ll want it to sit for 10-15 minutes for the best flavor), but it will eventually dry out, so you’ll want to make it the same day if you’re serving it to guests. I ate the leftovers for two days after I originally made the salad and while it was still amazing the next day, it did get a little dry by day two. So for best results, make this salad the same day you plan to serve it and try to eat up those leftovers within a day or so!
BLT Pasta Salad
- 8 oz. bacon $2.30
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise $0.92
- 1/4 cup ranch dressing $0.30
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice $0.12
- 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
- 12 oz. bowtie pasta* $1.25
- 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.89
- 1/4 red onion $0.11
- 2 cups fresh spinach (packed) $0.46
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool. Once cooled, chop or crumble the bacon into smaller pieces.
- While the bacon is cooking, prepare the dressing. Stir together the mayonnaise, ranch dressing, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until tender (7-8 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander, rinse it briefly with cool water to cool it down, then let it drain very well.
- While the pasta is cooking and draining, prepare the vegetables. Slice the grape tomatoes in half, finely dice the red onion, and roughly chop the spinach.
- Once the pasta is cooled and drained, add it to a large bowl along with the spinach, tomatoes, onions, and dressing. Stir everything together until evenly combined and coated in dressing. Let the pasta sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to blend, then stir once more and serve.
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How to Make BLT Pasta Salad – Step by Step Photos
Begin by cooking 8oz. of bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Once cooled, chop or crumble the bacon into smaller pieces.
While the bacon is cooking, make the salad dressing. Combine ¾ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup ranch dressing, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.
Add a tablespoon of salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add 12oz. bowtie pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (7-8 minutes). drain the pasta in a colander. Give it a quick rinse with cool water to cool it off, then let it drain very well.
While the pasta is cooking and draining, slice one pint of grape tomatoes in half and finely dice ¼ of a red onion (about ⅓ cup diced).
Roughly chop 2 packed cups of fresh spinach into bite-sized pieces.
Once the pasta is cooled and well drained, transfer it to a large bowl and add the spinach, tomatoes, onions, and dressing.
Stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in dressing. Let the salad sit for about 10 minutes for the flavors to blend a little more, then give it one more stir before serving.