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BLT Pasta Salad

overhead photo of BLT pasta salad in a bowl

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5 from 6 reviews

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!

Ingredients

Scale

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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Make the dressing: Combine the mayo with the thyme, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl. 
  4. 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.

Notes

I like to use rotini pasta for this salad because its corkscrew shape is a great vehicle for the creamy dressing, but other short pasta shapes like penne, small shells, or cavatappi will work, too.

Chilling the pasta first is important because if you toss warm pasta with the dressing, the dressing will break down, making it 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 🙂

You can make the salad a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator. I like to leave it out at room temperature for a bit before serving so it’s not ice cold. Also, give it a good stir before serving. 

Since this is a mayo-based pasta salad, don’t leave it at room temperature for more than two hours (or less if it’s very warm).

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