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BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

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This BLT Macaroni Pasta Salad is loaded with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. It's everything you love about a BLT sandwich but as a pasta salad. Coated in a creamy avocado ranch dressing this pasta salad is easy and delicious.
Servings: 4 people
Total Time: 30 minutes
blt pasta salad in a white serving bowl

One of Jim’s favorite sandwiches is a BLT – crispy bacon, fresh ripe tomatoes, and delicious sourdough… what’s not to love? We also have a true affection for pasta and this recipe is our version of a BLT sandwich as a cold pasta salad. This creamy BLT macaroni salad has fresh tomatoes, pieces of crispy bacon, crunchy romaine hearts, and a creamy homemade avocado ranch dressing.

blt pasta salad in a white serving bowl

Key Ingredients and Substitutions


This easy pasta salad recipe is super easy and perfect for any fan of the classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.

The complete ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.

  • Pasta: Any short pasta such as Penne, Rigatoni, Farfalle, Bowtie, or Orecchiette will work for this pasta salad.
  • Tomatoes: Choose a cherry or grape size tomato and cut them in half or quarters so they are bite-size.
  • Bacon: Use your favorite bacon – turkey bacon, thick-cut bacon, or you could get a little fancy and use pancetta or guanciale. We used center-cut bacon chopped it up into 1/2 inch pieces and fried the pieces until they were crispy.
  • Romaine Lettuce Hearts: This pasta salad needs a little crunch so you want to use romaine hearts which are the center of romaine leaves. They are a little more yellow and crispier than the leaves. You can substitute iceberg lettuce but use the center of the head, not the outside leaves to retain the most crunch.
  • Creamy Avocado Dressing: We love avocados on our BLTs and decide to include them as part of the dressing to get a little more creaminess and good fat instead of the traditional ranch dressing. Our dressing includes fresh avocados, Greek yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, garlic and onion powder, dill, chives, and parsley.
ingredients for blt pasta salad

How to Make BLT Macaroni Salad


Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.

Pro-tip: As it sits in the dressing the bacon can get a little “soggy” so fry or cook your bacon until it is crispy. Also extra thick bacon holds up the best.

1. Cook the Pasta: Cook the pasta until it is al dente following the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water then set aside. While the pasta is cooking prepare the creamy dressing.

2. Prepare the Avocado Ranch Dressing: In a food processor or blender, combine avocado, yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, chives, parsley, salt, and ground black pepper. Blend until well-combined. Continue blending and add milk a tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerator until needed.

avocado ranch dressing after being blended in a food processor

3. Prepare the BLT Macaroni Pasta Salad: In a large bowl combine the pasta, tomatoes, cooked and chopped bacon, and romaine hearts. Add creamy avocado ranch dressing and toss gently to combine.

4. Chill and Serve: Chill the pasta salad for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with additional bacon and tomatoes before serving.

ingredients for blt pasta salad in a bowl before being mixed together with the avocado ranch dressing

Make-Ahead and Storage


Make-Ahead: The avocado ranch dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble. The pasta and bacon can be cooked in advance then refrigerated until you are ready to make the pasta salad. The tomato and lettuce should be chopped just prior to assembly to keep them fresh.

How to Store: Leftover pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

What to Serve with Pasta Salad


BLT pasta salad is great all on its own but is the perfect BBQ or potluck side. We love it with marinated flank steak, grilled chicken breast, beef kabobs, or baked fish.

Recipe Tips and Notes


  • Rinse the pasta in cold tap water after it has been drained to both cool it down and avoid it from being overcooked.
  • Cook pasta just to al dente so that it doesn’t become mushy after it has been combined with the other ingredients and dressing.
  • You can use your favorite store-bought ranch dressing as a substitute for homemade avocado ranch dressing.
  • BLT macaroni salad is best when served cold. Be sure to chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I use a different type of pasta?

Absolutely. Any short pasta will work but look for bronze-cut pasta or bronze-die pasta. Pasta cut with a bronze die will have a rough, porous texture that is great for getting the creamy avocado dressing to stick.

blt pasta salad in a white serving bowl

More BBQ Side Dishes to Try


Looking for more side dishes for your next BBQ or outside get-together? Try these other favorites:

  • Creamy Southern Coleslaw – made from fresh ingredients this quick and easy recipe that comes together in just few minutes.
  • Southwest Pasta Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing – the perfect for any spring or summertime gathering. Ready in less than 30 minutes this pasta salad is loaded with roasted corn, black beans, and tomatoes then tossed in a creamy homemade chipotle dressing.
  • Texas Caviar (aka Cowboy Caviar) – loaded with black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and peppers. It is the perfect side dish or appetizer.

Let’s Connect! If you make this recipe or any other recipe on Casual Epicure, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are considering making our recipes and we love hearing about your cooking experiences. And if you snapped some shots, share them on Instagram, and be sure to tag @casual.epicure so we can feature them in our stories.

blt pasta salad in a white serving bowl

BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

Posted by Melissa
This BLT Macaroni Pasta Salad is loaded with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. It's everything you love about a BLT sandwich but as a pasta salad. Coated in a creamy avocado ranch dressing this pasta salad is easy and delicious.
5 from 1 vote

This recipe may contain paid affiliate sales links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my full disclaimer policy for details.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 294 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients  

Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

  • ½ large avocado, skin and seed removed
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup milk, as needed

Pasta Salad

  • 7 ounces dried short pasta, such as bowtie, penne, or elbow
  • 3 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1.5 cups romaine hearts, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons creamy avocado ranch dressing

Instructions 

Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

  • In a food processor or blender, combine avocado, yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper. Blend until well-combined.
  • Continue blending and add milk a tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerator until needed.

Pasta Salad

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions so that it is al dente. Drain and rinse well to cool.
  • In a large bowl combine the pasta, tomatoes, bacon, and romaine hearts. Add creamy avocado ranch dressing and toss gently to combine.
  • Chill pasta salad for at least 1 hour before serving.

Notes

1. Rinse the pasta after it has been drained to both cool it down and avoid it from being overcooked.
2. Cook pasta just to al dente so that it doesn’t become mushy after it has been combined with the other ingredients and dressing.
3. You can use your favorite store-bought ranch dressing as a substitute for the homemade avocado ranch dressing.
4. Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. The nutritional value will vary based on the type of ingredients used (example: mayonnaise, sour cream, and short pasta). It does not include the nutrition for any substitutions or additions.
5. Be sure to check out the Key Ingredients along with the Recipe Tips and Notes sections found in the post, for more tips, options, substitutions, and variations for this recipe! You will also find step-by-step photos there.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 294 kcalCarbohydrates: 42 gProtein: 11 gFat: 10 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gCholesterol: 10 mgSodium: 676 mgPotassium: 335 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 4 gVitamin A: 31 IUVitamin C: 29 mgCalcium: 4 mgIron: 16 mg
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Update Notes: This post was originally published on July 27, 2022, but was republished with new photos, instructions, tips, and FAQs in August of 2023.

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