A great pasta salad recipe is a must have, especially for Summer cookouts and barbecues. This ranch blt pasta salad features all the staples of the classic sandwich, including bright tomatoes, crisp bacon, and crisp lettuce strips with pasta and red onion- all smothered in tangy ranch dressing.
I love, love, love this pasta salad. I can’t quite put into words all the love I have for.
My family thinks it’s because it’s such a crowd pleaser.
I’m leaning more towards it being the ranch dressing.
It’s my sauce of choice. Also, it’s the versatility.
I can easily make this as a side to dinner, or add extra lettuce to make it an all-in-one meal.
The recipe easily feeds our family, but is simple to double to serve a larger group.
Originally, I was skeptical of the Swiss it called for.
I’ve only ever included cheddar in any ranch-based pasta salads before, but my skepticism was unnecessary.
The Swiss perfectly compliments the other flavors in the bunch.
Simply put, it’s delicious.
What You Need
Since we wanted this pasta salad to taste like our favorite sandwich, it needed a couple core ingredients.
Obviously, the staples of any good thing worth it’s salt with the name BLT will feature bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes.
For this recipe we use a quality thick cut bacon, cooked in our favorite way. Then drained of excess grease, cooled & crumbled.
I recommend green leaf lettuce, sliced into thin strips.
You can use other lettuce, but you want the leafy greens- not the bitter bits and cores.
The tomatoes I used are simple grape tomatoes halved lengthwise.
However, you can easily sub garden fresh or any variety. If they’re pulpier, just discard that bit and the seeds before including them in the pasta salad.
Since we were going the pasta salad route, we subbed those carbs for the traditional sandwich bread.
Still, even the best blt sandwich has a creamy component.
I love mayonnaise, and I’m no stranger to it.
To the point the Hubs makes fun of me for it. Still, mayonnaise alone was not the thing to make this pasta salad recipe come together.
That’s ok, because I also absolutely adore ranch dressing.
It was a natural ‘sauce’ for this pasta dish. Take that husband!
Making A Simple BLT Pasta Salad
Making this blt pasta salad is super simple. Which is why it will always be one of my favorites!
To start, pick your pasta.
I tend to like a pasta that is the same size as my add-ins. It helps with overall texture, mouth-feel, and tends to mean the sauce adheres better.
I used penne pasta in this rendition, but we’ve also made it using rotini, rigatoni, and even celatinni.
You do you though. At the end of the day, whatever pasta shape you prefer will work and be wonderful!
Cook your pasta according to the package directions, al dente. Then strain and run under cold water, gently tossing to stop the cooking process.
Don’t skip this step since it will also prevent the pasta from sticking or clumping together while you prepare the sauce and the rest of the ingredients.
Once the pasta’s cooled, add it to a large mixing bowl and toss it with just enough ranch dressing to evenly coat it. Don’t over-do it.
Cover the coated pasta and refrigerate it until chilled.
Once the pasta’s cold remove it from the refrigerator.
To the mixing bowl, add cubed Swiss cheese, tomatoes, diced red onion, crisp crumbled bacon, and the chopped lettuce.
Gently toss all of the ingredients to evenly combine.
At this point, add in enough dressing and stir just until everything’s evenly coated. You don’t want it to be thick or viscous. Just enough.
Salt & pepper the blt pasta salad, to taste.
Like I said, it really is a simple pasta salad that embraces the basics of the classic Summer sandwich. You really can’t go wrong.
Can This Pasta Salad Be Made Ahead Of Time?
I’m the Queen of last minute, will be until my dying breath. Which is why I love a make ahead recipe.
This pasta salad can absolutely be made in advance, which is especially helpful if you’re planning a party or barbecue.
If you are making this ahead of time, prep and prepare everything as instructed EXCEPT the lettuce.
The lettuce will get soggy and gross if it sits- and nobody wants that.
Prep and store the rest of the salad, but store your lettuce separately.
Add the lettuce in, along with a little extra ranch dressing (if needed) just before serving.
If you’re looking to branch out of your more traditional pasta salad comfort zone, looking for a dish to ‘wow’ family and/or friends, or simply trying to ditch the pre-packaged, processed box versions, this blt pasta salad recipe is a must try.
Other Pasta Salad’s You May Also Enjoy
If you’ve tried this BLT Pasta Salad, or any other recipe on the site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!
BLT Pasta Salad
- 1 lb radiatore pasta
- 16 oz ranch dressing
- 2 cups diced tomatoes seeds removed
- 1 1/2 cup cubed Swiss
- 1/2 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1 lb bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
- 2 cups finely chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta, according to package directions, in salted water.
- Drain pasta. Toss with just enough dressing so that the pasta is lightly coated and won’t stick together. Refrigerate until cold.
- In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the tomatoes, Swiss, onion, bacon, and lettuce.
- Add enough dressing to generously coat everything, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve & enjoy immediately, or chill in the refrigerator and then serve!If not serving immediately, don’t mix the lettuce in until you’re ready to serve to prevent wilting.
recipe adapted from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
recipe originally posted 9/8/2013