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BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT pasta salad, with spinach or other baby greens, is a quick and easy way to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at home without breaking the bank—or heating up the kitchen.

BLT pasta salad is a quick and easy way to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at home without breaking the bank—or heating up the kitchen.

This isn’t your typical mayonnaise-style pasta salad (not that there’s anything wrong with that sort). It’s a main dish pasta salad, but it’s served warm, not hot. Plus it’s ready in less than 20 minutes, from start to finish. All you need on hand is some fresh baby greens (any kind you like—I like a mixture of arugula, baby kale and baby spinach), cherry tomatoes, thick-cut bacon, dried pasta and a grated semi-hard cheese.

My family loves asiago cheese, since it adds so much flavor and aroma, but the same could be said of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. If you’re dairy free, try replacing the sour cream with a nondairy sour cream and the grated cheese with nutritional yeast (if you haven’t tried nutritional yeast, you should!).

BLT pasta salad is a quick and easy way to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at home without breaking the bank—or heating up the kitchen.

Gluten free pasta is sort of notorious both for not having a proper texture, and not holding an acceptable texture once chilled in the refrigerator. First of all, you need the proper gluten free dried pasta (my favorite, hands down, is Barilla) that boils perfectly every time—without any special treatment.

Second of all, try skipping the whole problem by tossing the cooked pasta with a bit of oil, then covering it and storing it at room temperature. It will retain a perfect al-dente texture without any extra effort. If you do boil the pasta ahead of time, this is really going to be the fastest, most satisfying dinner in the history of ever.

BLT pasta salad is a quick and easy way to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at home without breaking the bank—or heating up the kitchen.

I’ve made this with a couple variations already, all with fabulous results. I’ve tried it with blanched cauliflower florets in place of the greens (or in addition to the greens), and with sundried tomatoes added at the sour cream stage. This dish is also lovely served at room temperature entirely, and would make a great pack-and-go summer meal for the beach.

I’m not sure I would have thought to make a pasta sauce with a sour cream, bacon and garlic base on my own, but no worries. Chef John did it for me!

BLT pasta salad is a quick and easy way to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at home without breaking the bank—or heating up the kitchen.
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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound (16 ounces) dried gluten free rotini pasta (my favorite brand is Barilla)

8 ounces thick-cut smoked bacon, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups (300 g) sour cream

1/4 cup (4 fluid ounces) chicken stock or pasta water, plus more as necessary

2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

1 pound (about 3 cups) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

5 ounces baby spinach or mixed baby greens

3 ounces finely grated asiago cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese)

Directions

  • Boil the pasta to an al dente texture according to the package directions. I boil mine for 5 minutes flat. Drain and rinse with cold water, and set aside briefly.*

    *The pasta can be boiled up to a day ahead of time, then drained and rinsed, tossed with a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil then covered tightly and stored at room temperature. Proceed with the recipe when ready.

  • In a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until browned and crispy (about 5 minutes). Remove the cooked bacon from the saucepan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat and set it aside. Press the minced garlic with the flat side of a large knife into a paste with the kosher salt, then add it to the pan. Cook the garlic in the bacon fat over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add the sour cream, stock, vinegar, and as much of the rendered bacon fat as you dare, and whisk until smooth and well-combined. Add more stock by the teaspoonful as necessary to thin the sauce.

  • Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tomatoes, greens, 2 ounces of the grated cheese, and cooked bacon, and fold gently into the pasta. Divide into 4 servings and sprinkle evenly with the remaining ounce of grated cheese. Serve immediately. 

  • Adapted from Allrecipes Magazine.

Love,
Nicole

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  • Denise Campbell
    July 5, 2016 at 1:16 AM

    This looks amazing & will have to give it a shot. If Mom will allow it that is. Being Celiac is hard as it is, but add in non supportive Family & it’s quadrupled. :o/. Anyway….I just wanted to add Catelli’s GF Pasta line for my fellow Canadians to the line of great GF Pastas out there. It’s a mix of rice, quinoa & something else I’m blanking on ATM & is the best GF Pasta I’ve tried.

    Just thought I’d add that there. Both for other Canadians checking this recipe out & also for anyone planning a visit up here this Summer. Catelli can be found in all of the major Grocery stores up here, as well as Wal Mart.

    Hope all of you had a wonderful Fourth of July!!!

  • Joy Marie
    July 1, 2016 at 8:28 PM

    Have you (has anyone here) tried Bonta d’Italia pasta? I love its penne. So far, best pasta I have tried. Am recently giving Barilla a try again, and Ronzoni. Weekend before last, I made your baked mac and cheese (no bacon though) and made a mistake of stirring it about 2/3 through cooking while it was still “wet”, which sorta scrambled the eggs. It was good tasting, but odd with that scramble texture. Will try it again and make sure I “set it and forget it” until done baking. I was a huge pasta freak before going GF. It is the one thing I seem to miss. Now, when i do eat it (rarely) it is usually a mere vehicle, not a main, and I hardly ever want a second helping.

  • Alene Wendrow
    June 30, 2016 at 1:20 AM

    Hi!! The recipe was perfect until you got to the sour cream, at least for me. I wonder if there is anything I can substitute for it that is not white and creamy, perhaps something completely different. I guess I am just not a cream sauce person. Ps. I sent someone with celiac to your site today. I just know she will love you!!!

    • Joy Marie
      July 4, 2016 at 12:19 AM

      I’m wondering how this would taste minus the wet ingredients in the “sauce/dressing” and instead use a sweet and tangy Catalina dressing. How does this sound to you? Back in the day, I would fancy a pita pocket with roast beef, fresh tomato, sliced fresh pineapple and Catalina dressing. Divine.

    • July 4, 2016 at 9:56 AM

      You’re really talking about a totally different dish, then, Alene. You might find something else more to your liking in my gluten free pasta dish recipe index. And thank you for the referral!

  • Alene Wendrow
    June 30, 2016 at 1:16 AM

    Alene
    It all sounded perfect until the sour cream, at least for me. I wonder what else I might use, that is not white and creamy but in another direction. Ps. I sent someone to your site today who has celiac.I just knows she will love you!!!

  • sher
    June 29, 2016 at 1:02 PM

    I too love Barilla.. Glad to see it is a “serve immediately” as I have had issues with chilled GF pasta salads. Tend to crumble> Have you notice this? Any ideas.. or is it just the nature of the beast?

    • June 29, 2016 at 1:25 PM

      Hi, Sher, Barilla holds its texture much better than any other dried gluten free pasta I have ever tried, and it responds very well to reheating in the microwave. I find that, for “cold” pasta salads, I like to stick with room temperature, especially since as I discuss in the post, cooked pasta that has been rinsed and tossed with a bit of oil and covered can stay at room temperature for hours.

  • Carole
    June 29, 2016 at 12:07 PM

    Boy, does that look great for a hot day like today.

    • June 29, 2016 at 1:26 PM

      🙌 Carole!

    • sher
      June 29, 2016 at 1:44 PM

      ty hugs!

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