This BLT Pasta Salad recipe is a super delicious spin off of the classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich turned into a super yummy family favorite side dish! Perfect to take to potlucks, cookouts, and BBQs!
When late spring and summer hits, my brain instantly thinks: PASTA SALAD TIME. I just love a big ol’ pile of creamy pasta salad on the side of some yummy grilled food or a nice cheeseburger. The idea for BLT Pasta Salad came from my love of BLTs and my love for pasta salads. It only made sense to marry the two and put them on my plate.
So how many of you LOVE cookouts? I’m going to take a wild guess and say.. ALL OF YOU.
I sure do! My favorite part of any get together, big or small is… the food, especially summer food! I totally used to be the one who couldn’t fit all of the goodies on my plate. I’d be back for seconds and sometimes thirds (hey the paper platers are wimpy, mmmk?) normally piled with a delicious burger, pasta salad, potato salad, chips and dip…. the list goes on and on. Anyone else getting hungry while reading this? Because I sure am!
My easy BLT Pasta Salad is a little more healthy, but still totally delicious. You can easily take this to any party and no none will question if it’s a little lightened up or ridden with copious amounts of regular mayonnaise like most any other proper creamy pasta salad recipes.
This version of a BLT Pasta Salad recipe is still super creamy just the way a pasta salad should be. It’s still bursting with flavor from the crispy savory bacon, diced green onion, and creamy ranch-y dressing that I could die over. I hid some carrots in there for extra texture and nutrition-y stuff too. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next get together. You can be like me, and just make it for the week and eat it every single day. Nobody is judging. Nobody said you have to go to a party to eat this.
How to make this Easy BLT Pasta Salad recipe:
Gather your ingredients!
- uncooked pasta- I tend to use medium shells most, but have used elbow macaroni and rotini pasta too
- raw carrots- I personally like the flavor and crunch these add. You can use diced celery too, but don’t boil it with the noodles like I do with carrots.
- cooked center cut bacon-I’m a big fan of using center cut bacon in place of regular bacon. it’s more meat-y and less fatty- crisp up slices in your air fryer, oven, or in a skillet!
- low fat buttermilk- yes you can make your own if you don’t tend to keep buttermilk on hand! Just add one tablespoon of white vinegar (or lemon juice) in a measuring cup then fill with 1% milk to the one cup mark. Let it set for about 5 minutes. Voila! Buttermilk!
- light mayonnaise- you can use full fat too!
- Hidden Valley Ranch packet- if you don’t want to use the packet or can’t find it- you can season with a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, dried parsley, and dill for the same flavor profile. my favorite seasoning blend from the Hidden Valley Ranch packets are the “restaurant style” packets.
- diced green onions- you can switch out for finely diced red onion.
- cherry tomatoes- well it wouldn’t be a BLT pasta salad without the T! You can easily use whatever tomatoes you have on hand and dice them up- garden fresh summer tomatoes are BEST here.
Can I use Turkey Bacon?
Listen, there’s a time and place for turkey bacon. I actually like turkey bacon a bunch depending on the situation, but I just don’t think it has the same effect in this recipe. By all means though, try it out and let me know how it goes! I understand wanting to try and use a leaner protein if you’re paying attention to macros, but this recipe isn’t super loaded with bacon. A little goes a long way!
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When the water is boiling add uncooked pasta. Boil for about 5 minutes and then add chopped carrots and cook together for another few minutes until the pasta is cooked. You don’t want the carrots to be mush.
Drain carrots and noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water.
In a large bow add mayo, buttermilk, ranch seasoning mix, green onions, and cooked bacon. Stir together until combined well.
Add the carrots and pasta to bowl and stir it all up until the noodles are coated with creamy dressing.
Add diced tomatoes! I also like to serve with shredded romaine lettuce because what’s a BLT Pasta Salad without a little lettuce? But, I don’t mix it into the salad itself because it can get pretty wilty especially any leftovers. So I just throw it on the side. Admittedly, I don’t always do this, but it’s an extra delicious optional step!
This post was originally published on 05/28/2016, but I recently updated photos and instructions.
BLT Pasta Salad
- 8 oz medium pasta shells
- 5 slices Center Cut Bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup Light Mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup Low Fat Buttermilk
- 1½ tbsp hidden valley ranch seasoning mix (or one 0.4 oz packet if using the hidden valley restaurant style seasoning packed)
- 1/2 cup diced green onions or about 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1½ cup fresh diced carrots
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
- freshly shredded romaine lettuce optional
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and cook for about 5 minutes.Be sure to salt the water! It should taste literally like salt water.
- Add chopped carrots into the water with the pasta and continue to cook together for another few minutes until the noodles are done. You don't want the carrots to be mush so they will still have a bite to them.
- Drain noodles and carrots in a colander then rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine mayo, buttermilk, ranch seasoning, green onions, and bacon. Stir together until combined.
- Stir carrots and noodles into the mayo mixture with carrots and noodles until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving.
- Serving immediately: add tomato and serve!Prepping for later: Dice tomatoes, store separately, and add in when serving! If serving with romaine lettuce: keep on the side and let people add to individual servings (it just gets so mushy if you add it in).