Summer’s end always calls for lots of tomatoes! Huge amounts of tomatoes from our gardens and farmers’ markets! It’s just one of the best times of the year, in my opinion! Without a shadow of a doubt, the classic Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich reigns supreme as the hands-down favorite this time of year . . . because of the ripe flavor of garden tomatoes. My family devours loads of them and yet never tires of them. But some folks do get tired of the ‘same-old, same-old’. So when that happens in the midst of high tomato season, I’ve got just the answer for a lunch, dinner, or potluck recipe! A BLT Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, Italian Pasta Salad.
This irresistible pasta salad is not only season-fresh, but it’s also crazy delicious and super easy! We’re big bacon lovers, so I always add large, hefty chunks of thick, crispy, smoked bacon. Combine those with juicy tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and pasta, and then toss it all with a creamy homemade Ranch or Caesar dressing.
A BLT, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, Italian Pasta Salad is a great addition to your summer side dish or main entree recipes. For those of us who want to eat more veggies, this salad is a feast for the eyes with all of the vivid colors that we need to include in the vegetables that we choose: red, green, yellow, and even purple!
Tips for the Best BLT Bacon Lettuce Tomato Italian Pasta Salad
- The best bacon to use in this pasta salad is thick-cut. After frying and crisping it, cut it into nice bite-size pieces that are easily forked. You can use turkey bacon if you want to reduce some calories, but flavor-wise, I just can’t recommend it.
- I fry our bacon, simply because I try to practice the ‘slow food’ motion. I use the microwave less often and avoid fast-food restaurants. Frying is the age-old traditional method for preparing bacon.
- The best pasta shapes to use are the smaller, more ‘bite-size’ shapes such as: rotini, fusilli, or cavatappi (spiral), farfalle (bowties), orecchiette (little ears), or penne.
- Do not cook the pasta for the entire time indicated on the package. Only cook pasta about ½ way because you don’t want it to fall apart in your salad, nor do you want the pasta to be mushy.
- The goal with pasta is to cook it in boiling water until ‘al dente’ (to the tooth), a firm, little resistant texture that you need to bite through. So IMMEDIATELY remove the pasta from the hot water and run cold water over the pasta until it is cold. Tap any extra water out of the pasta. This also prevents the pasta noodles from sticking together by removing some of the starch.
Can a BLT Pasta Salad be Made Ahead?
- Yes, it can be made ahead and kept in a cold refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Do not add the dressing until just before serving. Using covered containers, keep the bacon and lettuce separate from the salad as well; don’t forget to add everything back in when you’re ready to serve the BLT, Bacon Lettuce Tomato Pasta Salad.
- When getting the pasta salad ready the next day, pour about 2 teaspoons of olive oil to help separate the pasta noodles. But don’t force the noodles apart, you don’t want to tear the pasta.
More Delicious Options that You May Enjoy:
- Creamy Artichoke, Pea, and Pesto Pasta Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Easy Fresh Pasta Salad with Cheese and Herbs
- Tuna and Artichoke Pasta Salad
PIN FOR LATER!
- 1 lb. (16-ounce) bag of pasta -- farfalle, rotini, macaroni, or fusilli
- 1 pound thick cut bacon, fried crisp, and chopped into small pieces
- 2 cups fresh Romaine lettuce, chopped in 1" pieces
- 2 cups Iceberg lettuce, chopped into 1" pieces
- 2 cup red onions, chopped
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (4 - 6 types of cheese in the blend)
- ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
- ¼ cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
- ¼ cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- Garnish: fresh cut herbs
For the Dressing
- 1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper (freshly cracked is best)
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- Boil water in a tall pot, filled about 2/3rds full.
- When water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook for HALF of the time indicated on the package.
- Take the pasta to the sink and drain the hot water completely with a colander. Run cold water over the hot pasta until the pasta becomes cold. Tap any extra water from the pasta. Set aside (place in the refrigerator is better).
- Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients together. Chill in the fridge until time to serve.
- In a wide frying pan, cook the bacon until nice and crispy (red-ish brown in color). Lay out each strip of bacon on paper towels when finished to remove grease. Allow to cool off. Cut into large chunks.
- In a large, wide serving bowl, mix the lettuces, red onions, tomatoes, Italian cheese blend, basil, and Italian parsley.
- Add the bacon. Add the pasta.
- Add the dressing, about 1/2 cup first to determine if you want more. Then add the other 1/2 and gently mix so as to not break the pasta.
- Garnish with sprigs of fresh basil and/or Italian parsley.
- Mangia! ENJOY!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 771Total Fat: 53gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1663mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 34g