BLT Pasta Salad
BLT Pasta Salad is the ultimate way to bring greens to a party while maintaining your dignity.
Although I certainly appreciate a green salad at any social gathering, I recognize that arriving with a giant container of baby spinach won’t win you the kind of love and admiration showered upon the guy who shows up with Greek Layer Dip or Garlic Chicken Wings, and it definitely won’t result in Mini Cheesy Pretzel Dogs-volumes of applause.
BLT Pasta Salad offers the best of both worlds: it tastes naughty enough to earn potluck praise but is healthy enough to feel good about your second (and third) helping. With smoky, salty bacon, juicy, plump cherry tomatoes, and a creamy, herby ranch dressing, this BLT Pasta Salad is guaranteed to send you home from any gathering with an empty bowl and full list of guests requesting the recipe.
The secret to keeping this BLT Pasta Salad recipe on the healthier side without sacrificing flavor is the ingredients themselves. I used good quality, thick-cut bacon that I purchased right from the butcher case at my grocery store. You only need four slices, so for me it was less expensive to buy a few great pieces than an entire pack of the usual stuff, and the flavor when you purchase it this way is so much stronger, you get more bang for your bacon buck. I also swapped the BLT classic iceberg lettuce (which never fails to remind me of soggy crackers) for a mix of tastier spinach and crunchy romaine. Ripe cherry tomatoes add summery brightness, and whole grain pasta provides fiber and makes the BLT Pasta Salad filling too.
What really makes this BLT Pasta Salad boss, however, is the herby ranch sauce. I’ve seen similar versions of this dish made with bottled ranch dressing and mayo, which to me has never been worth the indulgence (I’ll take another burger and two grapefruit margaritas instead, please and thank you). Instead, I used plain Greek yogurt and my latest dressing discovery, Tessemae’s Ranch Dressing. It’s made with only natural ingredients and is the lowest calorie, best-tasting ranch dressing I’ve ever experienced, thanks to a genius base made of coconut milk (yes, it’s vegan too!). I’ve talked about Tessemae’s products before (reference: Easy Baked Beans; Veggie Lo Mein with Soy Ginger Sauce), and I just can’t help myself from bringing them up again, because I truly believe in what the folks at Tessemae’s offer, and I really really want you to try them.
In fact, I want you to try Tessemae’s products so much, I’m offering everyone a discount! See the bottom of the post for more details and special offer code.
Although this BLT Pasta Salad will feed a crowd, it also lasts for several days in the fridge and is wonderful leftover. Our small household of two polished it off:
- As a side dish to accompany Mediterranean Quinoa Burgers
- As a main course topped with diced avocado and shredded chicken
- As a mid-afternoon snack (Ben brought a container to the office; I ate it right out of the fridge)
BLT Pasta Salad also tastes great either cold or at room temperature, so you can set it and forget it at your next gathering.
Well, if a giant bowl of bacony, herby, creamy pasta goodness is the sort of thing you are capable of forgetting. Me? I’ll be hovering by the dish, waiting to swoop in for my next round!
BLT Pasta Salad
This BLT Pasta Salad stars the popular combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato in a creamy ranch dressing that’s healthier than most. A guaranteed crowd pleaser!
Yield: 6–8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cooked (about 4 slices)
- 8 ounces fusilli or similar 100% whole wheat pasta (or gluten-free brown rice pasta)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Tessemae’s Ranch Dressing
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups lightly packed chopped romaine (about 3 ounces)
- 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach (about 2 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives, plus additional to garnish
- If necessary, cook the bacon according to these easy steps. When cool enough to handle, cut into chunky, bite-sized pieces.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, then place in a large serving bowl. (Note: if using gluten-free pasta, rinse it a little first, as it may become starchy.)
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the ranch dressing, Greek yogurt, and black pepper. Pour over the still-warm noodles, then toss to coat. Gently fold in the cherry tomatoes, romaine, spinach, 3 tablespoons chives, and reserved bacon. Sprinkle with additional chives for garnish. Serve right away, at room temperature, or chilled.
Leftover BLT Pasta Salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. The pasta will dry a bit as it is stored, so feel free to moisten with additional ranch dressing prior to serving again.
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DISCOUNT ALERT! Tessemae’s is offering all Well Plated readers 10% off their Tessemaes.com purchase. Just enter the code ErinTesseFamilyDiscount at check out to claim your savings.
Personal recommendation + an important dressing note: I’ve honestly adored every Tessemae’s product I’ve tried. My absolute favorites so far are the Green Goddness Dressing, French Vinaigrette, and both the new Ranch and Caesar. The Honey Mustard and BBQ Sauce are excellent too. All products are made with real, natural ingredients, which means that the dressings (which are olive oil based) will solidify in your fridge. Don’t worry—they haven’t gone bad. It’s a natural process. Just set the dressing out a room temperature for a few minutes prior to using it or run it under warm tap water for about 30 seconds. (For more info on exactly why the dressings solidify, you can also watch this video.)
More non-wimpy ways to eat your greens + BLT favorites:
- Super Summer Detox Salad
- Easy Summer Pasta Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod
- BLT Grilled Cheese
- BLT Pizza from Bev Cooks
- Creamy Green Pea Salad with Bacon and Almonds
I created this post in partnership with Tessemae’s. As always, all opinions are my own, and thank you for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to provide quality content to you!