BLT Pasta Salad

5 from 8 votes
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This BLT Pasta Salad is a tasty side dish that’s easy to whip up and a sure crowd pleaser. Crunchy bacon, crisp veggies, and al dente pasta in a creamy Ranch-flavored dressing make this pasta addictively good. It’s the perfect summer side dish for all your entertaining needs.

BLT pasta salad on a green plate with a fork.
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Why Make This BLT Salad Recipe

  • Best Summer Pasta Salad Recipe. I love that it comes together quick and that it’s always a family favorite when I serve it up.
  • Made with Bacon. Who doesn’t like bacon? It adds salty, savory, and smoky flavors to this bacon, lettuce, and tomato salad.
  • Versatile Recipe. It’s easily made vegan, gluten-free, or using vegetables you have on hand!
  • Easy Pasta Salad with Ranch Dressing for BBQs and More! It’s a popular side dish to serve for cookouts, picnics, weekend dinners and more! It pairs great with grilled and bbq food.

Looking for more great side dish cold salads for potlucks and more? Try this Zesty Pasta Salad and Italian Quinoa Salad.

Ingredient Notes

Here are the main ingredients needed to make this BLT pasta salad recipe. It’s quite versatile and I’m sharing some of my favorite swaps you can make when preparing it.

BLT pasta salad ingredients on a counter before making the salad.
  • Pasta. I like to use rotini but you can use any short pasta shape. Macaroni, small shells, bowties, and penne are all popular options.
  • Bacon. Use your favorite bacon to make this ranch pasta salad. You can even use turkey bacon or a vegan bacon if you don’t eat pork.
  • Mayo. This creates a creamy BLT salad dressing but you can also use sour cream, Greek yogurt, or a vegan mayo if you prefer. These substitutions may change the overall flavor of the dressing slightly.
  • Ranch Seasoning. I like to use a packet of ranch seasoning to easily add flavor to this bacon pasta salad. I typically buy Simply Organic or Primal Palate depending on what’s available in the store as well as the price.
  • Milk of choice. Any type of milk works to help thin the dressing out. If you’re using a nut milk make sure it’s unflavored and unsweetened.
  • Parmesan. A nice sharp cheese that adds flavor to the salad. You can also use other cheese such as shredded cheddar, feta cheese, or blue cheese crumbles to change up the flavor.
  • LT +Veggies. We’re adding cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, and romaine lettuce. My top pick are using different colored cherry tomatoes for a more interesting presentation and romaine lettuce is best for added crunch. Red onion is best for salads but you can leave them out or use green onions for milder flavor. Choose any color bell pepper you have!
  • Lemon. Gives the salad an extra zing of brightness and tang. Fresh is BEST!
  • Avocado Slices. These are totally option but I like to add some on top for serving.

Variations

  • Gluten-Free: Swap the pasta for your favorite gluten-free pasta. You can even use a legume based pasta to add more protein to your pasta salad with bacon as well.
  • No Pasta: If you want to serve this same salad without the pasta you can! It’s great as a chopped BLT salad or you can add some cooked rice, wheat berries, or quinoa instead.
  • Vegan: Use vegan alternatives for the bacon, mayo, and milk.
  • Dairy-Free: Make sure your mayo contains no dairy and skip the cheese or use a vegan cheese. You will also need to find a dairy-free (vegan) ranch packet or make it from scratch.
  • Different Veggies: While the lettuce and tomato are traditionally part of the BLT you can feel free to mix it up with other veggies to use ingredients you enjoy or have on hand in the fridge.
  • More Protein: Are you looking to make your BLT salad with pasta a bit more hearty and satisfying, add some diced grilled or rotisserie chicken or grilled shrimp.
  • Dressings: Want to change things up? Instead of the ranch serve it up with this Creamy Pesto Dressing or Lemon Herb Tahini.

How To Make BLT Pasta Salad

Step 1: Prepping the Bacon & Dressing

  • Cooking the Bacon. You want to cook the bacon until it’s crispy. My favorite way to cook bacon for less mess is baking it in the oven. Lay the bacon out on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 375º F until it’s crispy, about 20 minutes. You can also cook it in a skillet. Once it’s cooked allow it to drain on a paper towel.
  • Cooking the Pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions to al dente. Once cooked drain off the hot water and then rinse with cold water. Let it cool while you work on the rest of the salad.
  • Making the Dressing. Whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, ranch seasoning, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and black pepper in a large bowl.
Bacon on a paper towel and the BLT pasta salad dressing in a bowl with a whisk.

Step 2: Prep the Veggies

  • Chopping the Veggies. Chop the tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, onion, and parsley.
Chopped vegetables on a cutting board before assembling the salad.

Step 3: Put It Together

  • Assembling the Salad. Add the chopped vegetables to the bowl of dressing along with half of the crumbled bacon. Gently fold all of this together to until everything is coated with the dressing.
  • Serving. Top the ranch dressing pasta salad with the remaining bacon and avocado slices if you’re using them. Serve it up and enjoy!
BLT pasta salad in a bowl with a spoon dipping in.

Serving Suggestions

This BLT macaroni salad goes with a variety of dishes whether you’re serving it up for an easy weeknight dinner or for entertaining friends and family in the backyard. Here are some favorite dishes for inspiration.

Expert Tips

  • Storing: Store your BLT pasta salad in the fridge for up to two or three days after it’s fully mixed. It will become a bit soggy, especially the bacon and lettuce, when it sits. If possible, try to keep the lettuce and bacon separate if you know you will leftovers. I do not recommend freezing it.
  • Al Dente Pasta: Make sure you follow the directions for cooking the pasta to al dente. This means it should still have just a bit of bite to it. If it’s too soft you will end up with a mushy pasta salad.
  • Serving on Hot Summer Days: For It’s recommended that you don’t allow the salad to sit out for longer than two hours. My recommendation if it happens to be out of refrigeration pasta that mark to throw out the leftovers.
  • Chopping the Veggies: Small equal sizes is the goal when chopping them for your salad. This way you get a mix of ingredients with each bite.

Recipe FAQ’s

How long does pasta salad last in the fridge?

It’s going to depend on the ingredients you are adding to your pasta salad. This bacon pasta salad is really best enjoyed freshly made as the lettuce gets a bit soggy when it sits. But in general it is safe to eat up to four or five days but is likely BEST enjoyed within a couple days.

what is the best pasta for pasta salad?

Short pastas such as rotini, penne, farfalle, and macaroni are some of my favorite shapes to use for making pasta salad. This is because they mix well with the chopped vegetables. They also have more nooks and crannies which the dressing sticks to better.

Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time?

If you want to make it ahead of time I suggest prepping all the ingredients and mixing everything together except for the lettuce, avocado, bacon, and dressing. This can be done as much as one day ahead. Add these no more than an hour before serving and toss the salad together.

More Salad Recipes To Try

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BLT Pasta Salad
5 from 8 votes

BLT Pasta Salad

This BLT Pasta Salad is a tasty side dish that's easy to whip up and a sure crowd pleaser. Crunchy bacon, crisp veggies, and al dente pasta in a creamy Ranch-flavored dressing make this pasta addictively good.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 12 oz package of bacon, Turkey bacon or vegan bacon will also work.
  • 1 lb rotini pasta
  • 1 cup mayo or sour cream ,  Vegan mayo or sour cream will also work.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup milk of choice
  • 1 1oz packet of ranch seasoning
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 medium sized bell peppers
  • cup chopped onion
  • 2 cup thinly sliced romaine, *optional
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • First, cook the bacon however you would like. I typically bake mine in the oven on 375º for about 20 minutes but you can also cook in in a skillet, turning often for 8-15 minutes. 
  • Next, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and let cool while bacon is finishing. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise or sour cream, milk, ranch seasoning, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and black pepper.
    Add the pasta, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, onion, parsley and half of the crumbled bacon to the bowl with the dressing. Gently fold all of this together to coat. Top with remaining bacon, avocado slices if using and serve. 

Notes

  • Storing: Store your BLT pasta salad in the fridge for up to two or three days after it’s fully mixed. It will become a bit soggy, especially the bacon and lettuce, when it sits. If possible, try to keep the lettuce and bacon separate if you know you will leftovers. I do not recommend freezing it.
  • Al Dente Pasta: Make sure you follow the directions for cooking the pasta to al dente. This means it should still have just a bit of bite to it. If it’s too soft you will end up with a mushy pasta salad.
  • Serving on Hot Summer Days: For It’s recommended that you don’t allow the salad to sit out for longer than two hours. My recommendation if it happens to be out of refrigeration pasta that mark to throw out the leftovers.
  • Chopping the Veggies: Small equal sizes is the goal when chopping them for your salad. This way you get a mix of ingredients with each bite.

Nutrition

Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 370mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1603IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 379
Keyword: blt pasta salad
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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. The instructions state to add lemon juice, but lemon juice and its amount is not listed in the ingredients. Anxious to make this just unsure of the amount of of juice to add. Thank you!

    1. Great catch! Sorry about that! 1 tbsp of lemon juice should be added to the dressing. I hope you enjoy this one.

  2. 5 stars
    First time making a recipe off Instagram and it was Great‼️‼️ Easy and delicious. Thank you

    1. Hi Prudence,
      I am so flattered and thrilled to hear that! Enjoy.

    1. Hi Cathy,
      Yes you can definitely do that, I suggest keeping the dressing/bacon and avocado off and on the side until you’re ready to serve.

  3. 5 stars
    This was EXCELLENT. Make it make it!!! Way to go Bailey.

  4. 5 stars
    We loved this, made it for lunch and it’s already gone. The crispy bacon is a nice touch and I never thought to add Romain lettuce to a pasta salad.

  5. 5 stars
    YUM 😋 Sure I wish I could give this 10 stars.

  6. 5 stars
    Made this for Super Bowl and everyone LOVES IT thank you so much, I usually just do chips but this was a great change up and impressed my friends.