This creamy, crunchy BLT Pasta Salad recipe is based off of the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. We also add in mozzarella cheese, avocados and parsley, then cover the whole thing in ranch dressing for an easy and irresistible summer side dish.
BLT Pasta Salad Recipe
This BLT Pasta Salad recipe is a family favorite and great for bringing to potlucks, BBQs or anytime you need an easy side dish. It’s a play on the classic blt sandwich, using crispy bacon bits, fresh cherry tomatoes and baby spinach as the base. From there, we also add mozzarella cheese, diced avocados, chopped parsley and cooked pasta, drowning it all in creamy ranch dressing.
Feel free to swap out different types of pasta, lettuces, dressings and mix-ins based on what your family likes and what you have on hand. Red onions taste particularly great, as does adding a little extra sour cream or mayonnaise to your ranch dressing. If you are looking for more pasta salads, this Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad, our Italian Pasta Salad and this Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad is another quick and easy favorite.
BLT Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Pasta - for this pasta salad, I like to use spiral pasta, rotini, or fusilli. You could also use penne, bowtie pasta, mostaccioli or even macaroni.
- Bacon - you can use any kind of bacon that you’d like to make bacon bits. Or, take a shortcut and purchase precooked bacon or even premade bacon bits.
- Cherry Tomatoes - you can use any color or type of cherry tomatoes. Typically I cut them in half so that they are easier to eat. You could also substitute other diced tomatoes if you prefer.
- Mozzarella Cheese - you have a few options when it comes to mozzarella cheese for pasta salad. You can cut mozzarella cheese sticks into bite-sized pieces, or cut chunks from a brick of cheese, use fresh mozzarella balls or even use shredded cheese.
- Spinach - instead of lettuce for this “BLT” we like to use spinach. Baby spinach from the bag works great. Otherwise, chop or tear spinach into bite-sized pieces. You could also substitute arugula or romaine lettuce.
- Avocado - if you plan to make this salad ahead of time, be sure and add the avocado just before serving. Otherwise, it will turn brown and become rather mushy.
- Parsley - fresh parsley tastes great in pasta salad and adds nice color.
- Ranch Dressing - you can use store-bought ranch or make your own Homemade Ranch Dressing using a dressing mix, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. If you want your salad dressing to be extra creamy you could mix in ¼ cup of sour cream.
More Mix-In Ingredient Ideas
If you’re looking for more mix-in ideas, here are a few of our favorite pasta BLT salad recipe variations:
- Red onion
- Bell Pepper
- Homemade Croutons
How to Make Pasta BLT Salad
- Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions, then rinse with cold water until cool. Transfer drained and rinsed pasta to a large mixing bowl once cooled.
- Make the bacon bits. Meanwhile, cut bacon into ½" slices. Cook the bacon in a saute pan over medium-high heat until crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Chop into bits once cooled.
- Combine salad ingredients. To the mixing bowl with the cooked pasta, add the bacon bits, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, spinach, diced avocados, and chopped parsley.
- Add the dressing. Pour the ranch dressing over the salad ingredients and mix until everything is evenly coated.
- Serve. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Recipe Variations for BLT Pasta Salad
These recipe variations allow you to customize your BLT pasta salad to suit your taste preferences or dietary restrictions. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and flavors to create your own unique twist.
- Avocado BLT Pasta Salad: Mash ripe avocados and mix them into the dressing before tossing it with the pasta, bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes. The avocado adds a rich and velvety texture to the salad.
- Grilled Chicken BLT Pasta Salad: For a heartier version, add grilled chicken to your BLT pasta salad. Marinate the chicken breasts with your favorite seasonings and grill them until fully cooked. Once cooled, chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and mix it into the salad along with the bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and pasta.
- Spicy BLT Pasta Salad: If you prefer a little kick of heat, consider adding some spice to your BLT pasta salad. Mix some hot sauce or sriracha into the dressing to give it an extra zing. You can also include sliced jalapenos or crushed red pepper flakes for added spice.
- Caprese BLT Pasta Salad: Give your BLT pasta salad an Italian twist by incorporating the flavors of a Caprese salad. Add some mozzarella cheese balls, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze to the traditional ingredients.
- Greek BLT Pasta Salad: Include sliced Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, diced cucumbers, and a sprinkle of dried oregano. Toss these ingredients together with the bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and pasta for a refreshing and tangy variation.
- Vegan BLT Pasta Salad: For those following a plant-based diet, you can still enjoy the flavors of a BLT pasta salad by making a few substitutions. Replace the bacon with crispy tempeh or smoky tofu, and use vegan mayonnaise or a blend of mashed avocado and lemon juice for the dressing.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to make BLT Pasta Salad ahead of time, you can prep the entire salad the day before. However, I recommend leaving the spinach and avocado separate and adding them just before serving. They don’t hold up as well and will become a little wilted and mushy.
First of all, you want to be sure and use dry pasta when making pasta salad. Fresh pasta doesn’t hold up nearly as well. As far as the best shape for pasta salad, choose something smaller that has plenty of little nooks and crannies to hold the ranch dressing. I recommend using spiral, rotini, fusilli, farfalle, macaroni, shells or penne.
When you are finished cooking pasta for pasta salad, it’s best to rinse the noodles under cold water. This stops them from cooking any further, but it also rinses off some of the residual starches left on them from the pasta water that can cause the noodles to stick together.
- Refrigerator: store leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Make-Ahead: you can make this salad up to 24 hours in advance, but we suggest leaving the spinach and avocados out and adding them at the last minute. You could also cook the pasta and bacon bits up to 2 days in advance and store them in the fridge.
BLT Pasta Salad Recipe
- 16 oz Pasta cooked al dente
- 1 pound Bacon or 1 ½ cups prepared bacon bits
- 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup Mozzerella Cheese cubed, pearls or sliced cheese sticks
- 2-3 large handfuls Spinach
- 2 large Avocados diced
- 2 Tablespoons Parsley chopped
- 1 cup Ranch Dressing
- Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions, then run cold water over the cooked pasta to cool. Transfer cooled pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, cut bacon into ½" slices. Cook in a saute pan over medium high heat until crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Chop into bits once cooled.
- To the mixing bowl with the cooked pasta, add the bacon bits, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, spinach, diced avocados, and chopped parsley.
- Pour the ranch dressing over the salad ingredients and mix until everything is evenly coated.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
More Of The Best Simple Salad Recipes
- Fall Harvest Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
- Berry Salad
- Winter Fruit Salad
- Chicken Salad
- Caeser Salad
- Grilled Chicken BLT Salad
- Cucumber Avocado Salad
- Warm Potato Salad
- More Salad Recipes
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You will love this quick and easy Pasta BLT Salad Recipe that is perfect for any summer gathering. It's filled with bacon, lettuce, tomato and more, all drowned in creamy ranch dressing.