I’ve been on a healthier eating journey the whole year and one of the foods I miss the most is pasta. It’s the one thing I want to eat all the time and it’s the one thing I have cut back on heavily. I certainly wouldn’t make a pasta salad, preferring to indulge in something warm, slurpy and comforting. However, when I stumbled on the idea to do this BLT version, I could not resist. A BLT sandwich is right up there amongst my favourites so this all made total sense to me. Maybe because I’m slightly deprived of pasta these days but I’m going to put it right out here and say that this BLT pasta salad is the best pasta salad I have ever tasted or made.
I’m totally in love with the salad dressing too. I decided to incorporate a few elements from my all-time fave Caesars salad dressing which I make all the time. Namely anchovies and a few basil leaves. I added less of each and it gives this dressing a delicious flavour boost. I used good quality white wine vinegar as the acid component, which I think, works better with tomatoes than lemon. The yoghurt lightens it up, and I used a lower fat Hellman’s mayo (Lite)– which is my favourite mayo If I’m not making my own from scratch. I made a little more dressing than you need and you are going thank me for this when you make it. I used about ¾ of the dressing for the salad.
My house has been filled with the most incredible ZZ2 tomatoes at the moment because I’ve been working on two recipes for them. This Medley Mix and their Spanish Santé tomatoes are my favourite tomatoes in South Africa.
Of course, the other component that makes this salad so delicious is the crispy bacon, another rare treat. I roasted them in the oven for 15 minutes until the fat had rendered to a golden crispness and they give this salad amazing crunch.
As for the choice of which short pasta to use, fusilli is my absolute best here. It has so many grooves where all the deliciousness can get trapped.
This is enough to feed 2 greedy people, or 3 comfortably. It could do 4 as a generous side and 6 as a small side along with a few other dishes.
Recipe – BLT pasta salad – The best ever
- ½ cup Greek yoghurt
- ½ cup low fat Hellman’s mayonnaise
- 4 anchovies
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- a few basil leaves – about 6 medium
- 2 Tbsp good quality white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- Generous few grinds of black pepper
- 250gms fusilli pasta (or any other short pasta)
- 250gms Medley of tomatoes (mixed baby rainbow tomatoes)
- 250gm streaky smoked bacon (1 pack)
- 60gms baby spinach leaves
- 20gms chives, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 200c/ 400F and place the bacon on a bacon tray. Line the tray with foil to make washing up easier. When the oven is ready, roast the bacon for 15 minutes and until golden brown and crispy
Bring a medium pot of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to suspend the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
Cut the tomatoes and the chives and set aside.
To make the dressing blitz all the ingredients in a small food processor until smooth and emulsified.
When you are ready to serve, toss all the salad ingredients with as much of the dressing as you like. I used about ¾ of it. Adjust the seasoning and if necessary add more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
This salad can be made in advance but the spinach leaves will wilt and the bacon will lose its crunch. You could make the rest in advance and then add the spinach & bacon just before. This is totally up to you.
This pasta BLT salad would be perfect served at a braai / BBQ.
Check out a few more of my favourite salad recipes.
If you make any of my recipes, please share a pic on social media and tag me @Drizzleanddip.
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