This BLT pasta salad combines the classic combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato with cavatappi pasta, Colby Jack cheese, red onion, and ranch dressing.

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Side view of two full plates of BLT pasta salad, pictured with vegetables on table and glasses of water.

About BLT Pasta Salad

You can never go wrong with the classic combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato. But when you also add pasta, ranch dressing, and even more deliciously crunchy vegetables, now you’ve got a crowd-pleasing dish that can work as an appetizer, side, or a full meal.

Plus, this BLT pasta salad travels well, too, making it an easy pick for taking to potlucks or gatherings.

What’s in BLT pasta salad?

  • Bacon, lettuce, and tomato – The key ingredients to any proper BLT. This recipe uses sliced cherry tomatoes, cooked bacon that’s been diced small, and shredded lettuce.
  • Cavatappi pasta – You can use any type of pasta that you like, but the curls of cavatappi pasta give this simple salad a gourmet vide.
  • Colby Jack cheese – Cut into small cubes, this gives a kick of flavor and a pretty presentation. You can also shred the Colby Jack cheese if you’d prefer.
  • Scallions and red onion – For flavor and a bit of crunch.
  • Ranch dressing – Because ranch makes everything better.
Top down view of two full plates of BLT pasta salad, pictured with random vegetables and a glass of water.

Can you make BLT pasta salad in advance?

Certainly!

To ensure the best presentation, I would recommend making this pasta salad up to 24 hours in advance. It should be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve, and ideally, the bacon and lettuce should not be mixed in until just before serving.

Top down close up view of BLT pasta salad, showing off curly shape of the pasta and vibrant vegetables.

How long is this pasta salad good for?

Once prepared, BLT pasta salad can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Before serving, be sure to check the consistency of the sauce; the pasta will absorb the liquid from the dressing over time, so you might need to add a dash of ranch dressing to keep the salad from being tacky.

Fork digging into a plate of BLT pasta salad.

Can you freeze pasta salad?

Bad news here, guys. I personally can’t recommend freezing pasta salad. It can be done, but you might get wildly different results depending on when you freeze it, how it’s packaged, etc. And even if you do everything correctly, freezing and thawing will ultimately remove a bit of water from all ingredients, which could greatly impact the texture of the salad.

However, if you’re dead set on freezing a pasta salad for later, check out this article for a complete guide: Tips to Freezing Pasta Salads.

Notes & tips for BLT pasta salad

  • If you don’t already have one, you’ll need an extra large bowl to mix all of the ingredients together.
  • If you’re not up to cutting and cooking bacon, you can use pre-cooked bacon bits instead.
  • Red onions can pack a bit of a bite, so if you’re looking for a milder flavor, try soaking the onions first. To do this, submerge the red onion in a bowl of ice cold water and let it soak for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the onions, pat them dry, and then use in the recipe as directed. 
Fork holding up a bite of BLT pasta salad.

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How to make BLT pasta salad

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Cook the bacon in a skillet until crunchy, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. You can store the bacon in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use.

Step 2 – Cook the pasta per package instructions, then rinse with cool water and drain thoroughly.

Step 3 – In a 13-quart mixing bowl (or similar size), add the cooked pasta, ranch dressing, grape tomatoes, Colby Jack cheese, scallions, and red onion. Mix well to coat everything in the dressing.

Step 4 – Let marinate!

Step 5 – When ready to serve, mix in the prepared bacon and the shredded lettuce.

Step 6 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Side view of two full plates of BLT pasta salad, pictured with vegetables on table and glasses of water.
4.50 from 2 votes

BLT Pasta Salad

45 mins prep + 15 mins cook + 1 hr Marinating Time
901 kcal
Yields: 8 servings
This BLT pasta salad combines the classic combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato with cavatappi pasta, Colby Jack cheese, red onion, and ranch dressing.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound bacon, diced small
  • 2 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 ounce Colby Jack cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 4 cup shredded lettuce

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, cook diced bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from skillet and transfer to a paper towel covered plate to cool. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
    1 pound bacon
  • In a large saucepan, cook spiral pasta per package instructions. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Drip dry pasta thoroughly to limit excess moisture.
    16 ounce cavatappi pasta
  • In a 13-quart mixing bowl or similar size, add cooked pasta, ranch dressing, grape tomatoes, Colby Jack cheese, and scallions. Toss ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.
    2 1/2 cup ranch dressing, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 8 ounce Colby Jack cheese, 4 scallions, 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • When ready to serve, add bacon and chopped lettuce to bowl, then toss to mix.
    4 cup shredded lettuce
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 901kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 66g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 24g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 1233mg | Potassium: 538mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1065IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 248mg | Iron: 2mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy