Ranch BLT Pasta Salad made with a healthy homemade ranch and all the flavors of a delicious BLT in a pasta salad!
BLT Pasta Salad with a homemade creamy ranch dressing is exactly what you want to be eating as the weather warms up. Crispy bacon, crunchy Romaine, sweet tomatoes, pasta, and a creamy flavored packed Ranch dressing. It's so good.
Growing up, my Mom made a point to make sure we had dinner together pretty much every weeknight without exception. Looking back now, I not only appreciate it immensely but am hugely impressed by it.
With three active kids with different schedules and a full time career, we pretty much sat down every night together until I went off to college. Seriously, I don’t know how she did it but I am so thankful she did. Plus, virtually all the time, we were talking about a real dinner. You know the kind with a proper protein, starch, and at least one veggie, which on a side note was the only thing we were required to finish. Something I still live by to this day.
However, every once in a while, like any Mom, she would need something quick and break her typical routine. And when we were lucky, this was with BLTs. To this day, she still makes one of the best BLTs I have ever had and I always remember the excitement of breaking from routine and being able to eat BLTs and chips for dinner. It was pretty amazing for a kid who was used to having to finish their vegetables at every meal.
Lately, I have been thinking about those BLTs and counting down the days until I am back East and can have one. But until then, you will find me shoveling in this Ranch BLT Pasta Salad. Packed with fresh veggies, just enough bacon, and a homemade yogurt ranch dressing – it’s a pasta salad you can feel good about eating and will find yourself making over and over again. True story, I have been eating it three weeks in a row and I don’t see that coming to an end any time soon.
The salad itself brings together all the classic components of a BLT, the crispy bacon, crunchy lettuce, and bright tomatoes. However, instead of bread, I decided to use pasta, because who doesn’t love pasta. Then to pull everything together, I added a healthy homemade ranch dressing made with Greek yogurt and fresh herbs. I also threw in some red onions and cucumbers for extra crunch and color. So good. I mean, it’s a BLT in a bowl with pasta and ranch dressing.
Tips for Making BLT Pasta Salad
- Make the ranch dressing ahead of time if possible since it gets better after having 2-3 hours to sit in the fridge. During this time the flavors deepen and come together. After it’s had some time to sit, taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more garlic, onion powder, or black pepper. And if you like spicy ranch, consider adding 1-2 tablespoons of the chipotle peppers in adobo.
- You can stick to the traditional path and just use lettuce, tomato, and bacon in the pasta salad or think outside the box and pack in extra veggies. Personally, I love the addition of cucumber and red onion for extra crunch. It’s also crazy good with avocado.
- If you want to add some protein to the salad, toss in some grilled chicken or chopped rotisserie chicken.
- If you decide to make this ahead of time, don’t add the lettuce until it is time to serve. It will get soggy if it sits in the dressing for too long and you really want the crunch.
How to cook pasta for pasta salad?
There is nothing worse than making an amazing pasta salad just to discover that your pasta is mushy. To make sure your pasta comes out perfectly, always
- Cook your pasta in salted water. Add a generous amount of salt to the water once it is boiling.
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain immediately.
- Run the pasta under cold water to cool it down so it doesn't continue to cook as it sits.
In terms of the type of pasta best for pasta salad, anything goes. You can use spaghetti, penne, rotini, or any other pasta shape you like. Alternative pasta made from lentils, chickpeas, or quinoa can also be used but tend to get mushy if not eaten immediately.
How long does BLT Pasta Salad keep in the fridge?
This salad is best eaten the same day it is made due to the Romaine lettuce. It will wilt if it sits for too long. However, you can prep the entire salad and just pack the Romaine separately. In this case, the salad will last 3-4 days in the fridge.
When I use this salad for meal prep, I just pack the pasta salad on the bottom of my container with a small piece of parchment or plastic wrap on top of it. Then I layer in the lettuce. When it is time to mix, I just push the lettuce to one side, peel off the plastic wrap, and mix. Perfect for make ahead lunches or dinners.
Ranch BLT Pasta Salad
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- 3/4 cup 2% nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. Signature Kitchens® reduced fat mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Signature Kitchens® Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. chives, chopped
- 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped (more to taste)
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1.5 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 8 oz. Signature Kitchens® spaghetti
- 6 slices Signature Farms® Hickory Smoked bacon, chopped
- 4 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup cucumber, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced (to taste)
- Salt and pepper
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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