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Step up your summer salad game, my BLT Pasta Salad has you covered. This cold pasta salad is going to get noticed on the table because it’s so new and different from most pasta salads, it’s a great addition to your summer salad selections. Full of everything you love in a Classic BLT Sandwich plus a super secret ingredient that takes this salad over the top!!
Crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, fresh juicy tomatoes, and pasta, come together in a make-ahead salad that everyone will love. This delicious pasta salad version of the classic sandwich is perfect for lunch, dinner, or any summer potluck.
If you love my Club Sandwich Salad you have to try this salad!
Secret Ingredient in BLT Pasta Salad
My BLT Pasta Salad has a secret ingredient and it takes the flavor right over the top! I toast up some Panko and sprinkle it right on the salad, it makes it taste just like a true BLT, no kidding. Instead of panko you could just up some toasted white bread but I loved the Panko so much more than toast.
What Do You Need to make a BLT Pasta Salad?
- tomatoes you can swap out for grape tomatoes
- cooked bacon OR real bacon bits or use turkey bacon if you don’t eat pork
- panko or toast crumbs
- black pepper
- smoke flavor
- large mixing bowl
- large pot
- wooden spoon
Fun additions to this salad
If you want you can add chicken to this salad, leftover chicken or crispy chicken strips would be so delicious. Or add cheddar cheese or swiss cheese cubes to this BLT salad. Use a store-bought creamy ranch dressing instead of making the fresh dressing, or try this bacon ranch dressing or spicy jalapeno ranch dressing. Big crunchy croutons make a nice addition too.
What to Serve with this Salad?
Any grilled or summer barbecue foods would be perfect with this salad. Try it with ribs, burgers, hot dogs, or even grilled chicken. These BBQ Pork Chops or BBQ Chicken Thighs work really well with this salad.
Some people think because it has bacon in it, serving it with meat would be too much. It is not too much, the bacon is there for a little crunch and flavor. An accent if you will. So pair this creamy pasta salad with anything you want to.
What Kind of Bacon do You Use?
Personally, for salads, I prefer thin-cut bacon. And here’s why: it goes much further. Thick-cut bacon is great for most things but in a salad, I prefer a thin-cut strip because there’s more of it to spread the flavor more.
Of course, you can absolutely use whatever good bacon you have on hand. And as always, if you have real bacon bits and you want to use them go for it! And of course, turkey bacon will work just fine too.
Pasta for BLT Pasta Salad
I used penne pasta in my salad. But because this is an easy pasta salad recipe so always use what you have on hand. OR use what you or your family prefer. Personally, I like tube pasta for pasta salad because the tube holds the dressing better. But I think bow tie pasta or rotini pasta are just fine too.
One important point is to just cook your pasta until it’s al dente. It will soak up your dressing mix and you don’t want it to get soggy. Very tender pasta will soak up more dressing and get soggy. A great way to avoid soggy pasta is to just cook it, not overcook it.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Don’t keep this salad at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours. The bread crumbs will be soft the next day so just be aware of that.
BLT Pasta Salad
BLT Pasta Salad
- 1 pound pasta
- 4 ounces bacon crispy cooked and chopped
- 3 medium size tomatoes chopped
- 3 cups chopped lettuce
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Cook pasta according to package direction
- while the pasta is cooking
- 1) make the dressing, whisk the mayonnaise and vinegar together, then whisk in the milk
- add the salt and pepper and whisk again, set aside and refrigerate until the pasta is done
- 2) toast the Panko until it browns up a bit, set to the side
- when the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse it in cold water until it is cool, let drain completely to dry off a little
- put the pasta in the bottom of a salad bowl add bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and half the dressing, toss lightly
- add the rest of dressing and toss again
- add the bread crumbs and serve immediately
- if not serving immediately save the bread crumbs and toss with the salad 10 minutes or so before serving