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A bowl of BLT Pasta salad.
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BLT Pasta Salad

Inspired by the classic sandwich recipe, you need just 7 ingredients and 20 minutes to add this easy BLT Pasta Salad to your potluck menu. Try it for brown bag lunches and picnics, too.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 (1-cup) servings
Calories 617kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bowtie pasta (see note 1)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup ranch dressing (see note 2)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes halved, about 7 ounces
  • 4 ounces cooked bacon crumbled (see note 3)
  • 1 heart romaine lettuce chopped

Instructions

  • Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water until cool. Shake out any excess water.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together ranch dressing, mayonnaise, and red wine vinegar.
  • In a large bowl, toss together pasta, tomatoes, bacon and lettuce. Stir in dressing until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. If you don't season with sufficiently, this dish might taste bland.

Notes

  1. Bowtie pasta: If desired, swap in another sturdy small- or medium-cut noodle like cavatappi, rotini, orecchiette, malfalda, or radiatore.
  2. Ranch dressing: Use a cup from a bottle of store-bought salad dressing or make your own homemade ranch dressing by whisking together 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 6 tablespoons sour cream, 1 tablespoon minced red onion, 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). For Bacon-Ranch Dressing, mix in 2 tablespoons of chopped cooked bacon.
  3. Cooked bacon: For the crispiest results, I suggest baking it on a wire rack-topped sheet pan in the oven (400 degrees for 10-15 minutes). Alternatively, you can fry bacon in a skillet on the stovetop.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 8 (1-cup) servings (2 quarts total).
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: The dressing can be made the day before and stored covered in the refrigerator. The pasta can be cooked, drained, rinsed, and cooled up to 1 day in advance. The vegetables can be prepped 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  7. Pasta rinsing: It's important to rinse noodles for pasta salad to ensure they don't get gummy or stick together when serving chilled or at room temperature. You'll also see this rinsing technique used in my Italian Pasta Salad, Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, California Pasta Salad, and Easy Cold Pasta Salad.
  8. More mix-ins: Get creative with diced cucumbers, cubes of cheese, diced avocado, or your favorite fresh herbs (fresh dill or chives would be amazing here).

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 617kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 754mg | Potassium: 269mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 201IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg