BLT Macaroni Salad
Everyone’s favorite sandwich. In side dish form.
Ah, the BLT. It’s just three little letters, three very simple ingredients, and yet it makes for one absolutely magnificent sandwich. It goes to show that simple really is best because it’s hard to think of a more successful combo than crunchy, salty bacon, juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and creamy mayo. You know where else that combo works? In a pasta salad. Just think about it — chewy macaroni, crisp bacon, juicy tomatoes, and a little bit of fresh lettuce all tucked into a mayonnaise-based dressing. Makes sense right? It makes perfect sense. Bacon Lettuce Tomato was meant to be a sandwich but it was definitely meant to be a pasta salad too.
I’d wager a bet that if you set this next to a traditional macaroni salad at a party that people will pay hardly any attention to the classic version. Why? It’s all because of that bacon-lettuce-tomato combo. Now, lettuce in a pasta salad might seem odd, but it adds a bit of freshness, a bit of crunch, and a little break from all the creaminess. It works, I promise.
Bacon and tomatoes probably need no defense because they’re naturals in a salad of most kinds (and most dishes too, really). Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes cut in half work perfectly here, but in a pinch you could chop up a larger variety. (Like if you happen to have some garden fresh heirlooms on hand!) The bacon will soften as this chills so to keep things crisp, you can stir it in at the end or even just add a little extra before serving to ensure that nice crispy texture is still there.
The dressing is mostly a celebration of creamy mayo, as it should be, but it’s doctored up with some ranch seasoning, sour cream, a touch of apple cider vinegar for acidity, and a little sugar for balance. It’s not quite like ranch, it’s more like something you’d spread on your sandwich with a little extra flavor. Its job is to tie the whole salad together in creaminess and it certainly does its job well.
BLT Pasta Salad
10m prep time
15m cook time
- 1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 16 oz dry elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups romaine hearts, roughly chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni 2 minutes more than package directions indicate. Drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together mayo, sour cream, ranch seasoning, sugar, and apple cider vinegar.
- Add macaroni, bacon, tomatoes, onion, and lettuce and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Spaceships and Laser Beams.