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.
Healthy BLT Pasta Salad Secrets
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 instead, please and thank you).
Instead, I used a fast and easy homemade Greek yogurt ranch dressing. It’s high in protein and low in fat.
In a pinch, you can swap your favorite bottled ranch dressing. Look for something with minimal ingredients you can pronounce.
How to Serve 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:
- Veggie Burgers. Serve it as a side dish to accompany Mediterranean Quinoa Burgers.
- Chicken. As a main course topped with Crockpot Shredded Chicken.
- Ribs. Serve this dish with Instant Pot Ribs for the ultimate crowd-pleasing meal.
More Delicious Salad Recipes
- Healthy Taco Salad
- Mexican Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Super Summer Detox Salad
- Creamy Green Pea Salad with Bacon and Almonds
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
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
- ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons nonfat milk or milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried dillweed
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 to 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 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, then place in a large serving bowl. (Note: if using gluten-free pasta, rinse it a little first, as it may become starchy and soggy.)
- 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 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. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve right away, at room temperature, or chilled.
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