Your favorite sandwich, the BLT, is here in pasta salad form. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato are tossed in a creamy ranch dressing with rotini pasta to make this flavorful BLT pasta salad.
Summer is a time for outdoor parties and picnics. This BLT pasta salad is a crowd pleasing side dish to bring along - who doesn't love bacon?
This pasta salad is loaded with crumbled bacon, red onions, tomatoes, and a creamy homemade ranch dressing. This fun twist on a classic pasta salad is similar to a creamy macaroni salad with a mayonnaise dressing.
Serve this BLT pasta salad at your next picnic, barbecue, or outdoor party. It's the perfect pairing for burgers, pulled pork, and barbecue ribs!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Pasta - Rotini works best in this recipe, but any medium sized pasta will work in a pinch. Macaroni is another great choice.
- Lettuce - A sturdy, crisp lettuce works best. Romaine or iceberg are good, easy to find choices.
- Tomatoes - Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or any in-season diced tomato will work in this recipe.
- Bacon - Fresh cooked and crumbled bacon will provide the best flavor, but can be substituted with store bought crumbled bacon if needed.
- Red onion - Adds flavor and color to your salad.
- Mayonnaise - The base of your dressing.
- Lemon - Adds a bright, fresh flavor and slightly thins the dressing.
- Ranch seasoning - Can be store bought or homemade. One 1-ounce packet equals about 2 tablespoons of seasoning.
Best served same day
This BLT pasta salad is best served the same day. Why? This pasta salad contains several delicate ingredients, like lettuce and chopped bacon, which will get soggy over time.
Once your salad is mixed, your bacon will begin to lose its crispiness.
Also, lettuce will wilt overnight when coated in dressing. This is why I do not suggest preparing the full salad until the day of serving.
If you need to make this pasta salad ahead of time, here are a few tips.
Combine your pasta, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce in a large bowl, then cover and refrigerate. Store your crumbled bacon separately in another container. In a third container, store your prepared dressing.
Combine all three containers within a few hours of serving. Your salad will keep for several hours in the refrigerator, so it can be made the morning of an event.
Best lettuce to use
I also suggest using a sturdy, crisp lettuce for this recipe, since it's likely to sit in dressing for several hours.
I used romaine lettuce, but iceberg lettuce is another good choice.
Anything delicate like arugula or spinach is not recommended (while I love both, they don't work well in this recipe).
BLT Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces rotini pasta cooked to al dente, drained and cooled
- 1 pound bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons ranch seasoning
- In a large bowl, add cooked rotini, crumbled bacon, cherry tomatoes, onion, and romaine lettuce. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, add mayonnaise, lemon juice, and ranch seasoning. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Salad is best served within a few hours of preparing.
- Best served same day. If making beforehand, store your pasta, tomato, onion, and lettuce in one container, bacon in a second container, and dressing in a third container. Toss your ingredients together just before serving. The lettuce will wilt and bacon will lose its crispiness if dressed and refrigerated overnight.
- Ranch seasoning can be homemade or store bought. 2 tablespoons = one 1-ounce packet of store bought ranch seasoning.