I created a BLT pasta salad several years ago that was good but never made it again. So much to create, so little time I guess! When I made it again recently I used a few new tweaks that made the salad even better. It was fast and easy and was an excellent side dish with our grilled chicken. It’s time for what will be a week of recipe redos. A new and improved BLT past salad will be our first recipe!
My P.S. kindly made a half box of radiatore pasta for me while I was out shopping. It was slightly al dente and he was cooling it by running cold water over it. Perfect! The radiator was a bit smaller than the cavatappi I’d used the first time that sort of took charge of the salad.
My P.S. then finely diced up a few strips of bacon and fried them to brown, crispy bits. We used an Applewood smoked bacon instead of the maple smoked bacon I’d previously used. I wanted the bacon to blend in more than stand out as had in the first salad.
I added the pasta to a container for mixing. Next I added about 2 cups of pre-shredded lettuce. It’s unusual for me to buy lettuce already cut but it was on sale, what can I say? It appealed to my lazy side. Plus I had a lot of other vegetables and things to cut up. I’d save a little time.
I had bought grape tomatoes. After my bountiful garden of grape and cherry tomatoes last summer I’m permanently hooked on the sweet little pop of tomato flavor. I halved about 1/2 cup of the grape tomatoes and added them to my container.
I like green onions in salads. They’re milder but still provide enough of an onion flavor to be noticeable. I added about 1/4 cup of diced green onions to my container. I skipped the red onions; I’m not huge on raw onions in anything. Green onions would be enough.
I wanted a mayo dressing, but one that was more akin to a ranch dressing this time. Into a small bowl I added 1 1/2 cups of mayo, 1 cup of buttermilk, a teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of both salt and pepper and whisked well. It was so very close to ranch dressing in taste that I even impressed myself!
I added half of the dressing to my salad mixture and stirred well. I added a little dressing at a time; I didn’t want to overdress the salad. The dressing was strong enough that it could have overwhelmed the salad. When I was happy with the ratio of dressing to salad I put the salad into a smaller container, covered and refrigerated it until dinner. I had leftover dressing and stored that in the fridge for a later use.
You wouldn’t want to make the salad too much in advance, as the lettuce would begin to wilt and look rather sad. Or you could simply leave the lettuce out and toss it in when you’re ready to serve. Probably a better idea! P.S. was grilling, I knew we’d be eating soon. I tossed the lettuce in this time.
I absolutely loved my redesigned salad! It had all the flavors of a BLT without the bread. Although it’s not lower carb than a sandwich because of the pasta, I think I’d rather have it with pasta than toasted bread. I scratch the roof of my mouth often when I eat a BLT or a Club sandwich for lunch. Is that just me or is that a normal hazard when eating these things?
The salad is still excellent the next day but of course the lettuce is going to be less than crispy. I used iceberg lettuce as it sometimes lasts longer when dressed. But I didn’t mind, it was still totally worth diving into even on the second day!
BLT Pasta Salad
half a 16 ounce box of radiatore pasta; cooked to al dente according to box directions
3-4 strips of bacon; finely diced and fried until crispy and browned
8 ounces iceberg lettuce; shredded
1/2 cup grape tomatoes; halved
1/4 cup green onions
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Run cold water over pasta to cool and add to a large bowl. Add bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and green onions.
In a separate bowl whisk together mayo, buttermilk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Add half of dressing to salad, stirring well. Continue adding dressing until you have the desired mix of dressing versus salad.
Refrigerate until served.
Note: Toss lettuce into salad just before serving if not eating for a few hours. Or add to each serving if you expect to have leftovers. You also may have leftover dressing that could be used on other salads.