SENDING OFF WARM WEATHER RIGHT
We’re down to the final countdown of tomato season, so I’m actively trying to eat the last of these summer gems as much as possible. One of the ways I enjoy them fresh is in my BLT pasta salad. Most everyone knows and loves the classic Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich, so I’ve made my own little twist and tossed them together with bite-sized pasta for a fresh, lively pasta salad. It’s the perfect potluck dish for any end of tomato season gathering.
DRESS UP YOUR PICK OF PASTA
I used rotini for this particular preparation, but as previously mentioned, you’re welcome to use the pasta shape of your choice. My suggestions are rotini (Italian for small wheels), fusilli (rotini’s cousin with a bigger corkscrew shape), or farfalle (cute little bowties!). Now I’m one of those people who can never get enough pasta, but the real star of this recipe is the dressing. Fresh and flavorful is the name of the game here, and this dressing is so good you might want to make an extra portion to store in the fridge for regular salads. Get a good arm workout in by whisking the dressing until the ingredients are combined, or get speedy and use an immersion blender.
IT’S A TOSS UP!
This is an ideal dish to pack for lunch for you and the whole family as it keeps well refrigerated in Tupperware and is a balanced meal of veggies (fun fact: tomatoes are botanically classified as fruits), carbs, and protein. Pro tip: if you want to add an extra oomph, make it a BLT-A or BLAT! Avocado makes for a great addition as it is a source of healthy, unsaturated fat, and its creamy texture pairs well with the dressing. To make a vegan version, simply skip the bacon and substitute Vegenaise in the dressing recipe.
BLT Pasta Salad
Yield 8-10 servings
For the dressing:
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 1 pound sliced bacon (about 16 slices)
- 1 pound dried short pasta, such as rotini, fusilli, or farfalle
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (about 10 ounces)
- 1 avocado, diced
- 3 ounces romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Make the dressing:
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl until emulsified and well-combined; set aside.
Make the salad:
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then arrange the bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until the bacon is deep golden-brown and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Once cool, crumble the bacon into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well.
Place the drained pasta, bacon, tomatoes, greens, and chives in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.