Bring this BLT Pasta Salad to your next potluck or BBQ party, and you’ll be the star of the buffet! Made with all the classic BLT sandwich ingredients, it’s a quick and easy side that’s sure to impress.
During summer, we basically live off pasta salads and grilled meat.
When it’s hot outside, boiling a pot of pasta is about all I can handle – and it’s so refreshing to eat!
It makes for the perfect grilling side dish, but it’s also a great lunch when you need something quick, easy and healthy.
How to Make BLT Pasta Salad:
How do you cook pasta for pasta salad?
Some people will tell you to cool the pasta for hours after cooking, or mix the pasta with the dressing and cool it that way for a salad…
But busy moms: Do you always manage to make your pasta salad 1-2 hours in advance? Because I definitely don’t.
So here is my super fast, foolproof and busy mom approved way of cooking pasta for a salad:
- cook it just until al dente
- drain it
- rinse it under cold water until it has cooled down (please… don’t tell my husband, who is a former chef and grew up with Italian influences 🙈)
That way it’s ready to use right away, and you don’t even need to chill your pasta salad before serving if you’re lacking the time.
Can you make this without ranch dressing?
While I do LOVE this salad with my homemade ranch salad dressing, you don’t have to use ranch if you don’t like it.
It’s also great with a Honey Mustard Salad Dressing.
OR go with a simple White Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Can you make this pasta salad ahead of time?
You can – partly.
I really advise against adding the lettuce ahead of time.
You can assemble the rest of the pasta salad and keep it in the fridge up to a day in advance, but do yourself a favor and add the lettuce right before serving.
Otherwise it will be weird and limp.
Just remember, the smoky bacon flavor will get more intense, the longer the salad sits.
I really do love most kinds of pasta salads (not the frozen pea and mayo kind of salads though, sorry every potluck I ever went to as a child), but this one is definitely a go-to favorite.
The crispy bacon definitely doesn’t hurt in this rating 😉
BLT Pasta Salad
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup Greek yogurt OR mayo OR sour cream
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- ½ tablespoon sugar optional for a sweeter dressing
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 pound bow tie pasta cooked and rinsed under cold water (drain well!)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 heads baby romaine lettuce shredded
- 12 slices bacon cooked until crispy and chopped
- Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a large salad bowl.
- Add all salad ingredients and toss well. Serve immediately. (If you want to make it ahead, leave out the lettuce and add it right before serving. Chill the salad without lettuce for up to 1 day in the fridge).