It’s pasta salad season and there’s really nothing better than digging a fork into a giant bowl of cold pasta salad on a hot day. Growing up my mom always made this classic pasta salad. It’s a staple in our house and at every single summer gathering. To switch things up and try something new, I whipped up this super tasty BLT pasta salad recipe with avocado. It has crispy bacon throughout, crunchy romaine, bursts of cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocado to round it all out. All your favorite things from a BLT sandwich in pasta salad form. Genius!
The dressing I used was inspired by a Half Baked Harvest lemon pesto tahini dressing that I saw her make. It looked so good and thought it would pair perfectly with this side dish. The lemon adds a bit of bite to it all and the basil gives it a nice herby flavor. Tahini is an ingredient that I rarely use but love, highly recommend trying it if you haven’t! I’ve also included a few dressing alternatives if lemon and tahini are not your jam.
BLT Pasta Salad With Avocado Ingredients
For The Salad
- 1 lb of pasta, I used bow-tie but any short pasta will work
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup of romaine lettuce
- 1 -2 avocados
- 6 slices of bacon
- Diced red onion (optional)
For The Dressing
- 2 tbsps of Tahini
- 2 tbsps of pesto
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsps of red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of water (optional depending on how thin you want your dressing)
- Salt and pepper to taste
How To Make BLT Pasta Salad Topped With Avocado
Boil your water and cook your pasta according to the box directions. I prefer to aim towards al dente which is usually a minute or two less than what the box will say. Some boxes will give you a time for al dente. When you drain the pasta, do not rinse under cold water. It’s also best to leave that starchy water on the pasta which will allow the dressing to stick better to it.
Cook your bacon until it’s nice and crispy. I like to do this on the stove top, some people prefer the oven method. However you like cooking bacon, I just recommend adding a slice or two more because you are guaranteed to eat a piece before it makes it into the pasta salad.
While the pasta and bacon cools, you can prep your veggies. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half, slice up your romaine lettuce, I like long shreds, and dice up an avocado. Once your bacon cools, cut bacon into bite size pieces.
Make your dressing. I use a mason jar for this and just add all the ingredients and shake it all up. If you’re not into making a dressing from scratch, or want to try something else, there are tons of ideas that pair perfectly with this BLT pasta salad. You can try a classic ranch dressing, or Tessemae makes a great creamy avocado ranch salad dressing that would be perfect for this. I like the added citrus in the tahini dressing, so an idea to thin out a ranch would be to add the juice of a lemon. I do this all the time with my Tessemae for my salads, it makes them so much more flavorful!
Add everything except the avocado to a big bowl and toss it with the dressing. Once mixed, I like to add the avocado at the end because it easily gets broken up when mixing. A gentle toss at the end with the avocado will keep it in tact a bit better once the rest of the pasta salad is well mixed. And that’s how you make the avocado BLT pasta salad!
How To Serve It
This BLT avocado pasta salad is so easy to serve and great paired with any summertime BBQ. Just add it to a big bowl and a big serving spoon and add it to your summer spread. You can even make it a full meal on its own by adding a protein like grilled chicken or steak to it. Personally, I like this bacon lettuce and tomato salad served slightly chilled. Eating it straight out of the fridge can be tricky with the tahini because it can get a bit thick when it’s cold. So take it out a few minutes before serving. But it’s also great at room temperature.
How To Prep The Salad Ahead Of Time
Prepping this delicious summer side dish is super easy. You can prep everything ahead of time and mix it all together excluding the avocado a day in advance. Right before serving, dice up your avocado and toss it in. I found that the romaine and bacon stand up pretty well for at least a day even with the dressing on it. But you can always add this in at the last minute with the avocado before serving to ensure it’s all extra crunchy!