This easy BLT pasta salad recipe is a twist on the classic BLT sandwich! It includes crispy bacon, fresh juicy tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, and cheddar cheese tossed with tender pasta in a creamy homemade ranch dressing, perfect for a summer BBQ spread or family potlucks!
If hoarding easy pasta salad recipes was a thing, I might need an intervention! I just LOVE them on a hot summer day. Whether it’s a Greek pasta salad, pesto tortellini salad, creamy macaroni salad or orzo pasta salad, on its own or as a side to main course of some saucy ribs or a juicy burger, they’re never a bad idea!
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Table of contents
BLT Pasta Salad with Ranch Dressing
So, to switch things up, I always find ways to create new recipes. This BLT pasta salad is my newest and has it all. I just know you’re going to love it.
Crispy, crunchy bacon, bright red tomatoes, crispy lettuce, and rotini noodles tossed in a creamy ranch dressing.
We’re even adding some shredded cheddar cheese because I don’t know about you, but even in my favorite sandwich, I love adding a slice of cheddar!
This salad always hits the spot and is the perfect summer side dish that’s also a meal!
For the Homemade Ranch Dressing:
- Mayonnaise: This is a mayo-based dressing which is what makes it nice and creamy.
- Buttermilk: Adding buttermilk to the mayo gives it that nice tangy addition while keeping it nice and rich.
- Ranch Dressing Packet: You want to use 1 packet of the dry mix, not the dressing itself. This is just for the ranch flavor.
- Green Onions & Fresh Parsley: Brighten up the dressing a bit with herbs and aromatics.
- White Wine Vinegar: This is what will cut through the creamy consistency and add the necessary zesty tang to balance it out.
Pasta Salad ingredients
- Rotini Pasta: It is best to cook the pasta al dente according to package directions so it’s not too mushy. Usually about 7-8 minutes.
- Romaine Lettuce: Adding fresh lettuce is possible with a cold pasta salad! It won’t wilt and adds a great textural element.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Puts the T in BLT! A bright burst of juicy tomato in every bite. You can also use plum tomatoes , grape tomatoes or regular diced tomatoes.
- Bacon Crumbles: Cook the bacon however you like, in a large skillet or my favorite mess-free way of cooking bacon in the oven! You can even use pre cooked bacon.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Freshly grated from a block is what I always recommend, however in this case I’m all for shortcuts if needed. Since we don’t need it to melt, using prepackaged shredded is ok in this case.
- Red Onions: For extra crunch and taste!
1. You can swap the Romaine lettuce for iceberg lettuce if preferred.
2. For darker leafy greens try arugula or baby spinach.
3. If you can’t find the Ranch packets, you can just use Ranch dressing instead of making homemade dressing.
4. Finish the salad with some shaved Parmesan cheese. You can use it along with the cheddar cheese or instead of.
5. If you’re not one to add cheese to your BLT, omit it completely from your BLT pasta salad.
6. You can also leave out the onions.
7. Swap the bacon with turkey bacon, chicken bacon, or vegetarian bacon if desired.
8. Add any other veggies like avocado, or red bell pepper and/or cucumbers.
9. Add extra protein, like shredded or grilled diced chicken.
10. Use any pasta you’d like. Bow Tie pasta, shells, penne pasta or macaroni noodles are all great too.
How to Make This BLT Pasta Salad Recipe
This recipe comes together in minutes, and because it’s budget-friendly and so easy to pull together, it’s always great option for serving a crowd!
Step 1: In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly. Keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Step 2: Cook the pasta according to the package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain it immediately then run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Once it is cool transfer it to a large bowl.
Step 3: Add the remaining salad ingredients, including the romaine, tomatoes, bacon, cheddar, and red onions into the same bowl as the pasta. Toss to combine.
Step 4: Pour the dressing over the salad and gently stir to make sure everything is well coated in that creamy dressing. Enjoy!
- Drain the water from the pasta really well. If there is any excess water it’ll make the dressing runny.
- The same goes for the lettuce! Use a salad spinner to get rid of the water.
- Allow the pasta to cool completely before adding the ingredients. Otherwise, the lettuce will wilt, the cheese may melt, and it won’t taste as enjoyable.
- If you’re serving this outside, keep it chilled until just before serving. Do not keep it out long.
- To keep it cold while it’s out on the table, you can place the salad bowl inside a larger bowl full of ice.
As soon as everyone is done serving themselves, be sure to put it back in the refrigerator. Keep anything left stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
It makes a nice quick lunch or side salad for dinner.
Certainly. Combine ingredients in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Give it a shake then keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or until you’re ready to use it.
Yes. If you’re going to assemble the entire salad ahead, add ½ cup extra buttermilk to help prevent the pasta from soaking up too much of the dressing as it sits.
BLT Pasta Salad
For the Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 packet ranch dressing packet dry mixture
- ¼ cup green onions thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
For the Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces rotini pasta uncooked
- 1 cup romaine lettuce chopped
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup bacon crumbled
- ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded
- ¼ cup red onion finely sliced
Make the Dressing
- In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, buttermilk, ranch dressing packet, green onions, parsley, and vinegar and mix together thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.½ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup buttermilk, 1 packet ranch dressing packet, ¼ cup green onions, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Make the Pasta Salad
- In a large pot, cook the pasta per the instructions on the box, approximately 9 minutes.8 ounces rotini pasta
- Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Be sure to drain as much water as possible then transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the romaine, tomatoes, bacon, cheddar, and red onion to the pasta and toss.1 cup romaine lettuce, ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup bacon, ½ cup cheddar cheese, ¼ cup red onion
- Pour the homemade dressing over the salad ingredients and gently stir to coat all the ingredients.
If you would like to make this pasta salad ahead of time, add an additional ½ cup buttermilk to the dressing since the pasta will soak up the dressing as it sits. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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