Healthy BLT Pasta Salad

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5 from 4 votes

With all the flavors of a BLT but with a healthier spin, this BLT pasta salad is bright, satisfying, flavorful, and mayo-free (and you won’t miss it!).

The Best BLT Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is bursting with flavor. It can be served as both a side dish or a light main course, making it perfect for picnics, BBQs, or even as a refreshing lunch option. The best part? It’s easy to make with simple ingredients and prep, allowing you to whip it up in no time. Plus, it’s customizable, so you can add your own twist by incorporating additional ingredients like avocado, Juicy Baked Chicken, Crispy Roasted Chickpeas, or crumbled feta cheese.

Ingredients

  • Pasta – Whole Wheat pasta is the base of the salad and holds everything together. I love whole wheat pasta, but feel free to use any short pasta of choice. 
  • Turkey – Roasted deli or carved turkey, thinly sliced or shredded, adds a savory and protein-rich element to the salad.
  • Turkey Bacon – Crispy and flavorful turkey bacon adds smokiness and is healthier than traditional bacon.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Small and sweet tomatoes that provide a burst of freshness, adding vibrant color and a juicy bite to the salad.
  • Parmesan – Cheese please! A handful of parmesan adds a nutty, saltiness.
  • Romaine – Romaine lettuce adds a satisfying crunch!
  • Lemon – Lemon adds brightness to the pasta salad and is a healthier option than traditional mayo.
  • Basil (optional) – I love basil for a pop of aromatic freshness!
  • Anchovy paste (optional) – The anchovies add a salty and briny element to the pasta salad that your tastebuds will love!

How to Make BLT Pasta Salad

Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!

  1. Cook.

    Boil your pasta to al dente and cook your turkey bacon.

  2. Rinse.

    Drain and rinse cooked pasta in a strainer under cold water to stop the cooking process.

  3. Combine.

    In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, crumbled turkey bacon, sliced turkey, cherry tomatoes, and shredded lettuce.

  4. Add.

    Squeeze the juice of a whole lemon, anchovy paste (optional), and olive oil to the bowl.

  5. Toss.

    Toss it all together and add more olive oil if dry.

  6. Serve.

    Serve room temp or slightly chilled. Garnish with basil.

Variations & Additions for BLT Pasta Salad

  • Grilled Corn: Adding Grilled Corn screams summer and adds a natural sweetness with a smoky undertone to the pasta salad.
  • Oven Roasted Tomatoes: If you’d like to substitute your tomatoes for Oven Roasted Tomatoes, it will add another level of depth and intensified sweetness to the pasta salad.
  • Ranch Dressing: Instead of lemon juice, substitute ranch dressing to complement the flavors turkey bacon and romaine.
  • Protein: For a heartier version, add seafood like Poached Salmon, shrimp, or sliced avocado to make it a whole meal. 
  • Mayo: Instead of olive oil

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this BLT pasta salad in advance?

Absolutely! Prepare the salad as instructed and store for up to three days. Just before serving, refresh the pasta salad with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil if needed.

Can I use a different type of pasta for this BLT Pasta Salad?

Yes, feel free to use your favorite pasta shape or what you have on hand. Short pasta shapes work best in this recipe as they capture the dressing and ingredients perfectly.

Do I have to rinse my pasta with cold water?

Yes, this is highly recommended. Cold water stops the pasta from cooking, creates a pasta salad and not a hot pasta dish, and removes extra starch from the pasta to keep the noodles from sticking together.

How long can I store BLT Pasta Salad?

This pasta salad lasts about three days, covered in the refrigerator. Please note that the lettuce will start to wilt as time passes.

Can I make this BLT Pasta salad vegetarian?

Certainly! Simply omit the turkey bacon and carved turkey or substitute with a meat alternative. Avocado is also a great option to add.

More Salad Recipes You’ll Love

BLT Pasta Salad Recipe

With all the flavors of a BLT but with a healthier spin, this BLT pasta salad is bright, satisfying, flavorful, and mayo-free (and you won’t miss it!).
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BLT, pasta salad, salad
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 771kcal
Author: TastefullyGrace

Ingredients

  • ½ pound pasta of choice I like whole wheat penne
  • ½ pound thick sliced carved turkey cut into strips (or sub turkey chunks)
  • ½ pound turkey bacon diced*
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or sub regular parmesan
  • 5 ounces romaine lettuce chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon
  • black pepper
  • fresh basil to garnish (optional)
  • ½ tbsp anchovy paste (optional)

Instructions

  • For turkey bacon: dice bacon into small bits. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a nonstick pan and sauté bacon over medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes until bacon is extra crispy. Add more olive oil if bacon starts to stick to bottom of pan. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
  • Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and rinse pasta in colander under cool water to stop cooking process and remove excess starch.
  • To assemble: Add rinsed pasta to a big salad bowl. Add in crispy turkey bacon, turkey strips, tomatoes, romaine, juice of a large lemon, ¼ cup olive oil, anchovy paste, parmigiano, and black pepper.
  • Toss. Add more olive oil if dry.
  • Serve room temperature or slightly chilled. Garnish with basil.
  • To store: Saves well in the fridge for 3 days, however romaine will wilt! I recommend leaving out romaine if you plan to save in the fridge for later! Remove from fridge 30 minutes before serving, adding in fresh romaine and olive oil.

Video

Notes

I use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, which if cooked until super crispy, is such a yummy, healthier alternative to regular bacon!

Nutrition

Calories: 771kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 28g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 2015mg | Potassium: 630mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3368IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 2mg
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2 Comments

  1. Johnny
    June 16, 2023 / 1:56 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Such a great idea to make a BLT in pasta salad form. Thank you!

    • June 19, 2023 / 8:52 am

      Hi Johnny,

      Awesome news. Thanks for letting me know!

      Grace

5 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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