Healthier BLT Pasta Salad

6 Servings
30 min

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This light, healthy BLT Pasta Salad recipe is easy and DELICIOUS! Made with turkey bacon, grape tomatoes, baby arugula, and an olive oil dressing, it is packed with flavor. This salad is a great main course or summertime side dish.

Find this recipe and more on my blog HERE: https://sugarylogic.com/healthier-blt-pasta-salad/

Pasta salad screams summertime. Not all pasta salads are the same though, some can really pack on the calories. This BLT pasta salad is light thanks to its olive oil dressing. It’s packed with turkey bacon pieces, fresh tomatoes, and gently cooked onions. The toasted garlic and baby arugula add finesse and complete the flavor profile of this delicious, simple salad.


What makes this BLT pasta salad healthy? Simple tweaks in ingredients. The turkey bacon brings all of the desirable bacon flavor with less fat and calories. But, BLT pasta salad with no mayo? I promise you that you will not miss it thanks to the flavorful extra virgin olive oil and a small amount of vinegar. An added bonus, this whole recipe comes together in just thirty minutes, making it a great option for weekdays or weekends. Another simple-to-make pasta salad option is my Easy Italian Pasta Salad.


Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Cellentani Pasta – This pasta is fantastic for salads. The shape and texture of this variety cling to whatever sauce you pair it with. (It looks nice too!) You do not have to use this type of pasta though. Other great options include rigatoni, large macaroni, penne, and farfalle pasta.
  • Turkey Bacon – This BLT pasta salad is healthier partially due to turkey bacon. It is less greasy thanks to fewer calories and less fat than pork bacon. Feel free to use classic bacon though, if desired.
  • Baby Arugula – Arugula has a beautiful peppery flavor that pairs beautifully with the other ingredients in this recipe. If you do not care for this green, other substitutes include baby spinach, romaine, and kale.
  • Grape Tomatoes – Grape or cherry tomatoes work well in this recipe.
  • Red Onion – The onion adds a lovely bite and alternative flavor. It is cooked just until tender which eliminates the pungent tastes. Substitute with white onion if desired.
  • Garlic – Gently cooked in olive oil alongside the onion, the garlic adds a boost of flavor to the pasta salad. There is just enough without overpowering the classic BLT flavors.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil, not a bitter generic oil. Olive oil is the prime component of the dressing, so you will taste it.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – There is just enough vinegar for an acidic balance. Substitute this vinegar with champagne, red wine, or rice wine vinegar.
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper


How to Make Healthier BLT Pasta Salad

This recipe is simple to prepare and ready in just thirty minutes!

Cook the turkey bacon and chop each slice into pieces.


Cook the pasta according to package instructions.


In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion. Cook until slightly tender, about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute. Remove the skillet from the heat.


Place the pasta in a large bowl. Pour the onion-garlic mixture over the pasta and toss to combine. Toss in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Season the mixture with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.

Fold in the tomatoes and bacon pieces until combined. Finally, fold in the arugula. *Serve immediately.


Tips for Success

Don’t forget to salt the pasta water and make sure to wait for a rolling boil before adding the dried pasta. Cook according to package instructions.


If not serving right away, wait to fold in the arugula to avoid wilted greens. *Drizzle in additional olive oil if making in advance. Ideally, serve this salad immediately after making it.


Have fun with this recipe! Other delicious ingredient additions include chickpeas, olives, toasted pine nuts, avocado, and crumbled cheese like feta. This recipe is incredibly versatile thanks to its classic, simple flavors.

What to Serve With This Pasta Salad

What should you serve with BLT pasta salad? This salad is a yummy side for grilled meats like chicken or steak. Similarly, this is a great recipe to bring to a barbeque; it makes a LOT of food! This pasta salad is DELICIOUS paired with my Slow-Cooker Greek Chicken. Enjoy it as a main course for an easy weeknight meal or lunch. *See tips for success {above} for yummy inclusions for this recipe.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can this pasta salad be made in advance? I recommend serving this salad immediately after making it. If needed, the components can all be made and prepared in advance. Toss just before serving.

How long does this BLT pasta salad stay fresh for? This pasta salad will stay fresh for up to 3 days. To serve leftovers, toss in additional extra-virgin olive oil.

What is the best way to store pasta salad? Transfer the pasta salad to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator.


This healthier BLT pasta salad is the real deal. It has all the addictive flavors of the classic sandwich but in a light pasta form. This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd. Serve alongside grilled meats and barbecue, or enjoy as a main course for an easy dinner. You are going to want second helpings!


DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Please leave a star rating and review on my website!

Recipe details

  • 6  Servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 30 min
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Ingredients


  • 1 lb cellentani pasta
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small red onion or half of a large onion; thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 8 slices turkey bacon cooked and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes halved
  • 6 oz baby arugula
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Instructions


Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion. Cook until slightly tender, about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Place the pasta in a large bowl. Pour the onion-garlic mixture over the pasta and toss to combine. Toss in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Season the mixture with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
Fold in the tomatoes and bacon pieces until combined. Finally, fold in the arugula. Serve immediately.

Katelyn | Sugary Logic
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Comments

  • Land Land on Sep 10, 2021

    Looks devine to hang onto summer just a little longer, love BLT salad. Almost forgot about it, thanks!

  • Gwyn Dean Gwyn Dean on Sep 27, 2021

    star rating? okay, here it is: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🙋🏻‍♀️

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