BLT Pasta Salad

Some times it's fun to take a classic recipe and turn it on its side. That's what's happening here, with a pasta salad version of summer's favorite sandwich, the BLT, that unbeatable combination of bacon, lettuce and tomato between two slices of bread.

BLT Pasta Salad

If one is mindful, it is possible to observe lessons taught and lessons learned in unlikely settings: at the local Target store, say, on an errand-filled Saturday, perhaps.

In the shoe department, with Mom apparently shopping elsewhere, Dad is charged with a restless three-year old. Insisting to be let out of the cart, she squats to examine a low shelf of bedroom slippers, yes pink! She lines them up on the floor with precision, then stands to tuck pudgy toddler toes into each Mom-sized slipper, one by one. Dad watches in silence, then returns the slippers to their rightful shelf, one by one.

In housewares, another Mom shops with a son and daughter. Just for something to do, the bored boy leans into the cart to rummage in his mother’s bag. "Matthew!" Mom snaps. "Out of my purse."

Meanwhile, the girl caresses a box of slickly packaged drinking glasses. "Aren't they pretty, Mom?" Mom eyes the package and runs her hand across the girl’s. "They’re beautiful, Mel. Wouldn't milk taste good in those?"

Which of the three will grow up to be shoppers? Lessons taught, lessons learned.

ALANNA's TIPS Save the leftover bacon grease in a glass container stored in the fridge. It keeps for months and makes for delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes and sautéed vegetables. To avoid burns, use caution scooping the hot fat out of the skillet. For a more healthful variation of this pasta salad, stir in an extra diced tomato or two. For lunch, I especially like to serve BLT Pasta Salad tucked into a tomato that's been scooped out with a grapefruit spoon and usually leave out the lettuce.

BLT PASTA SALAD

A fresh approach for a summer favorite
Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 1 - 2 hours
Makes 6 cups
  • 1-1/2 cups salted water
  • 3/4 cup mini dry pasta such as orzo or shells
  • 8 ounces bacon, diced
    DRESSING
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise (my favorite is Hellman’s Light)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups (about 1 pint) grape tomatoes, quartered or 1 - 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced in ribbons
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • About 3 cups thin-sliced iceberg lettuce

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan on medium high. Add the pasta, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until pasta is just done. Drain and let cool briefly.

While the pasta cooks, cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp, scooping out the fat as it accumulates. (See TIPS.)

While the bacon cooks, whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion and basil. Gently stir in the cooked pasta and bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Make ahead this far.) Refrigerate to cool.

Just before serving, stir in the lettuce. Best served the same day.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Cup: 251 Calories; 13g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 24g Carb; 2g Fiber; 504mg Sodium; 26mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 5½ points

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite summer tomato recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade via Facebook!

More Great Recipes for Summer's Best Tomatoes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Panzanella Summer's Tomato Soup Shrimp with Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta

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Hi Alanna. I've been visiting your blog quite a bit, just wanted to say how great everything looks!
 
I'm away from my kitchen for a few days. Will try the BLT Pasta Salad as soon as I get home. Alanna, you come up with fresh, fun, yet normal(!) ideas. I love it!
 
I like that very much. And of course, we should always save our bacon drippings!!!
 
That one sounds really good. I haven't been able to make a BLT pasta salad since I did a turn in a deli and actually made their BLT salad. The salad involved frying up 3 pounds of bacon for the entire batch, and dumping it into the pasta warm WITH all the bacon grease. The salad certainly tasted great...but I just couldn't get over all that fat. It was our most popular salad too. All those unsuspecting customers.
 
that looks great! the round up will done shortly
 
Made this for supper last night. So tasty. Next time we'll probably add a little more pasta and bacon but the flavour was perfect.

Thanks for the great recipes!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna