BLT Pasta Salad is the ultimate way to bring greens to a party while maintaining your dignity.

blt pasta salad with dressing and spinach

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Although I certainly appreciate a green salad at any social gathering (a reason I stacked my cookbook with a collection of hearty, satisfying salads you can feel confident bringing to any party),  I recognize that arriving with a giant container of baby spinach won’t win you the kind of love and admiration showered upon the person who shows up with the Pepperoni Pasta Salad or the Ramen Salad.

There’s something about pasta that just makes “salad” feel 100% cookout approved.

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.

BLT pasta salad no ranch dressing

With smoky, salty bacon, juicy, plump cherry tomatoes, and a creamy, herby ranch dressing, this tried and true BLT pasta salad is guaranteed to send you home from any gathering with an empty bowl and list of guests requesting the recipe.

5 Star Review

“This recipe is just outstanding! Everyone loved it. My only mistake was not doubling it so we’d have leftovers”

— Jaimie —

How to Make BLT Pasta Salad

While not all pasta salads are nutritious, if you make your pasta salad with whole grains, limit the heavy ingredients, and incorporate fresh vegetables, pasta salad can be good for you!

blt pasta salad with spinach

As with all of my healthy pasta recipes, I use sneaky swaps to lighten up this pasta salad (the dressing is made without mayo!), without compromising flavor.


The Ingredients

  • Bacon. Let’s kick off BLT pasta salad with the “B!” It’s the smoky, crispy star and makes this pasta salad a sure hit. Baked Bacon and Air Fryer Bacon are two easy ways to cook it.

Ingredient Note

Just as I recommend for BLT sandwiches, for the best quality, purchase thick-cut bacon directly from the butcher case. It’s 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 superior, so you get more bang for your bacon buck.

  • Cherry Tomatoes. Ripe and juicy, they add summery brightness. As a bonus, cherry tomatoes taste good year-round, so you can enjoy this BLT pasta salad even if it’s not peak tomato season.
BLT pasta salad with spinach and romaine

Substitution Tip!

For a bonus hit of tomato flavor, make this salad with a mix of sun-dried tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.

  • Romaine Lettuce. I swapped the BLT classic iceberg lettuce (which never fails to remind me of soggy crackers) for a mix of nutrient-dense spinach and crunchy romaine.

Market Swap

For a BLT pasta salad without lettuce, you can take a note from this BLT Chopped Salad and use kale. Or, for a different green twist, stir in Air Fryer Broccoli or Roasted Broccoli.

  • Pasta. I opted for whole grain pasta, which provides fiber and makes the BLT pasta more filling too.
BLT pasta salad with tomatoes

TIP!

For cold pasta salads, typically you should rinse the pasta prior to mixing it with the other ingredients. This stops the pasta’s cooking and keeps it from clumping together so that you can easily stir it with the other ingredients.

When pasta is cooked and drained, it is coated with a starchy liquid. The starch is important for some hot pastas—it’s key for creating a glossy sauce in Pasta al Limone, for example—but for cold pasta salads like Shrimp Pasta Salad and the Modern Macaroni salad in my cookbook, you want to rinse that starch away.

  • Herby Ranch Sauce. This is BLT pasta salad no mayo! Instead, I made a Greek yogurt-based dressing. It’s creamy, zesty, and gives this pasta salad an all-American flavor.

Substitution Tip!

If you are in a hurry, you can swap your favorite bottled ranch dressing. Look for something with minimal ingredients you can pronounce.

The Directions

blt pasta salad recipe ingredients
  1. Cook, drain, and rinse the pasta. Place it in a large serving bowl.
mix Greek yogurt dressing
  1. Whisk together the dressing.
BLT pasta salad dressing
  1. Pour it over the noodles and stir to coat. Add the bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Stir to combine. Enjoy!

What to Serve with BLT Pasta Salad

While it can certainly be a main dish all on its own, here are a few ideas of what goes well with this pasta salad:

BLT pasta salad with bacon

Storage Tips

  • To Store. This cold pasta salad will last for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. To keep pasta salad from drying out when you know you will have leftovers, make a little extra dressing (or reserve some at the beginning), then stir it in just before serving.
  • To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing pasta salad, as the noodles will become mushy and the dressing will lose its flavor when thawed.

Meal Prep Tip

Cook and chop the bacon up to 1 day in advance. Store in the refrigerator.

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Sauce Pan. The sauce pans from this set have 2 layers of stainless steel for fast heating.
  • Measuring Cups. Microwave and dishwasher safe.
  • Sheet Pan. Aluminum sheet pan perfect for roasting vegetables AND baking cookies.

The Best Mixing Bowls

These glass mixing bowls are very durable, dishwasher safe, and pretty enough to serve the salad from too!

blt pasta salad with dressing and spinach

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

BLT pasta salad 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 with dressing and spinach

BLT Pasta Salad

5 from 2 votes
This tried and true BLT pasta salad with spinach stars a creamy homemade dressing, not bottled Ranch. Plus juicy bacon pleases any crowd!

Prep: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins

Servings: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
  

For the BLT Pasta Salad

  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon cooked (about 4 slices)*
  • 8 ounces fusilli or similar 100% whole wheat pasta, or gluten-free brown rice pasta
  • 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

For the Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk or milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 to 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Instructions
 

  • If necessary, cook the bacon according to one of my easy methods listed below. 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 in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop its cooking. Shake off as much water as possible, then place it in a large serving bowl.
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the ranch dressing: Greek yogurt, milk, olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, dillweed, salt, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire. Pour over the 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. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve right away, at room temperature, or chilled.

Notes

  • *Easy bacon cooking methods: Oven Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon.
  • TO STORE. This cold pasta salad will last for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. To keep pasta salad from drying out when you know you will have leftovers, make a little extra dressing (or reserve some at the beginning), then stir it in just before serving.
  • TO FREEZE. I do not recommend freezing pasta salad, as the noodles will become mushy and the dressing will lose its flavor when thawed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 6Calories: 306kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 11gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgPotassium: 382mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2640IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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9 Comments

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  1. Yessssssss! Usually pasta salad is such a drag, with a confusing mayo dressing clinging to bits of celery and olives, no one understanding a lick of what’s going on. But this?! This I can get behind! And not *just* because you included bacon (although.. I gotta say, that’s pretty influential!), but because it looks both rich and light and refreshing and easy and ooh!

  2. I love that this is lightened up!  Looks like a dish both my husband and I could agree on (which can be difficult sometimes)!

  3. “the ultimate way to bring greens to a party while maintaining your dignity”

    What a way to start off a post! Hilarious and true. I can’t resist pasta salad or BLTs so this recipe is pretty much my spirit animal. Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait to try it!

  4. Looks awesome!! BLT in a salad!! I’m definitely in! I make many of your recipes, Erin. All are fantastic. You are a genious with food!! Just wondering if I am missing nutritional information on your recipes? :)

  5. Yummy salad!!  I’m so tired of pure pasta salads. I love the greens added to it. I added a bit more romaine and used Trader Joes ranch ( couldn’t find the Tessamae ranch, but I did buy a couple of their other dressings).   My mother, who is fighting cancer and a suppressed appetite gobbled it up!! Thank you for a great recipe!  Going to make it for the 4th!  Love your blog!5 stars

    1. Susan, I am so excited to hear how much you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog too :)

  6. This recipe is just outstanding! Everyone loved it. My only mistake was not doubling it so we’d have leftovers.5 stars