A fun twist on a traditional BLT this salad has a creamy mayo dressing, crispy bacon, and sweet cherry tomatoes. Be sure to read the recipe notes for tips and make-ahead recommendations!
For the Salad
- 12 ounces rotini pasta
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 8 ounces bacon slices
- 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 10 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
For the Dressing
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- Juice from half of a lemon, plus 1 teaspoon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cook and chill the pasta: Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Spread the pasta out in a single layer on a large baking pan. Stick the pan in the refrigerator to chill the pasta while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Cook the bacon: While the pasta is chilling cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan and let the slices drain on a paper towel. Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Make the dressing: Combine the mayo with the thyme, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl.
- Assemble the salad: Add the chilled pasta to a large bowl. Add the onion, chopped spinach, half of the chopped bacon and cherry tomatoes and toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss everything together until everything is coated evenly in the dressing. Top with the rest of the chopped bacon and serve.
Tips for Making the Salad: It’s important to chill the pasta first because if you toss warm pasta with the dressing the dressing will breakdown, which means your pasta salad will be runny. Warm pasta also tends to absorb more of the dressing so, when it’s time to serve it, your pasta salad will be dry. So, don’t skip the chilling step 🙂
How to Make the Salad Ahead
- Combine the chilled pasta, spinach, onion and 3/4 of the dressing and cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge. The pasta will absorb some of the dressing while it sits, so reserve some to toss with the salad when you’re ready to serve it.
- Store the cooked bacon in a separate container in the fridge.
- Tomatoes don’t do well in the refrigerator, so I recommend that you wait to slice them until you are ready to serve the salad.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Side Dishes
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 636
- Sugar: 3.8g
- Sodium: 796.2mg
- Fat: 43.5g
- Saturated Fat: 9.5g
- Trans Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 46.8g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 13.7g
- Cholesterol: 40.4mg
Keywords: BLT pasta salad, pasta salad with bacon, creamy pasta salad