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Damn Good BLT Pasta Salad


This could be the BEST pasta salad I’ve ever made. It’s just so perfect and I can’t stop thinking about how dreamy it is.

This BLT pasta salad was an idea that came to me after Tony and I started making amazing BLT sandwiches with avocado for our lunches (we were on a real bacon kick for a few weeks!). There is something so classic, comforting and delicious about a class BLT sandwich that I started thinking about how good it might be deconstructed into a pasta salad. A few nights later, I developed this recipe and fell head over heels in love. Trust me when I tell you, you need to make it.

Before you get started, I do want to mention that the jalapeno cashew dressing really helps tie it all together. It’s creamy with a hint of heat and coats every nook and cranny of the pasta. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different than what you’re use to! It’s DAMN GOOD.

healthy BLT pasta salad on a plate


BLT pasta salad ingredients

This easy BLT pasta salad is basically just made up of your fav pasta, some fresh summer veggies, and a simple cashew sauce you’ll absolutely fall in love with. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Jalapeno cashew dressing: We’re using this recipe for the dressing. IT IS AMAZING and dairy free!
  • Bacon: the B in the BLT, baby! The bacon adds salty, crispy bites to the pasta salad. Feel free to use turkey bacon if you’d like.
  • Pasta: I suggest using bowties or large shells so that the dressing gets in all of those nooks and crannies, but feel free to use any pasta you’d like (even gluten free pasta).
  • Corn: for a fresh, summer twist and slight sweetness. You can use grilled, raw or sautéd corn!
  • Cherry tomatoes: tomatoes add juicy bursts in every bite. I love using heirloom cherry tomatoes for color variety.
  • Red onion: for a little extra zip.
  • Romaine lettuce: the L in BLT! Romaine holds up really well in this BLT pasta salad and adds a wonderful crunchiness.
  • Avocado: can’t forget about creamy avocado. Nothing better! I like to pick a just slightly ripe avocado so it stays firm in the pasta salad.

ingredients for dairy free BLT pasta salad in a bowl

How to make the dairy free cashew dressing

We’re lightening up this BLT pasta salad with a dairy free jalapeño cashew dressing that you’ll fall in love with. It’s easier to make than you think.

  1. First, soak the cashews in 2 cups of warm water for at least 2 hours; otherwise I’ve found that you can easily speed up the process by adding the raw cashews to a pot with water and placing over high heat. Bring water to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat.
  2. Let the cashews sit for about 30 minutes in the hot water, then drain.
  3. Once the cashews have finished soaking, add them with fresh water, jalapeno, garlic, fresh lemon juice, salt, onion powder and black pepper to a blender.
  4. Blend on high until sauce comes together. If you want a bit of a thinner sauce, add 1-2 tablespoons more water and blend again.

pouring cashew dressing into a BLT pasta salad

Customize your healthy BLT pasta salad

One of the best parts about this easy, dairy free BLT pasta salad? It’s great for customizing to fit the needs of guests or use up what you have on-hand.

  • Swap the regular bacon for turkey bacon or even omit to make this salad vegan & vegetarian.
  • Add grilled chicken for an extra boost of protein, or even chickpeas!
  • Add a sprinkle of shredded sharp cheddar cheese or feta for a little more savory indulgence.
  • Try some fun croutons if you’re missing the toasty bread of your favorite BLT sandwich!
  • Looking to go nut free? Drizzle with this homemade ranch dressing instead of the cashew dressing. Feel free to add jalapeno to the dressing, or toss thinly sliced jalapenos in the pasta salad itself.

healthy BLT pasta salad in a bowl with golden spoons

How to store BLT pasta salad

This BLT pasta salad will stay fresh covered in the fridge for about 3-4 days. It’s delicious made ahead of time, too, so feel free to prep it the night before a picnic or bbq, or prep it for your weekday lunches. I would recommend adding the avocado on when you’re ready to serve so that it stays fresh.

BLT pasta salad recipe in a bowl with gold salad spoons

More pasta salad recipes to try

Peach, Tomato & Corn Arugula Pasta Salad

Street Corn Pasta Salad with Cilantro Pesto + Goat Cheese

Roasted Veggie Mediterranean Pasta with Goat Cheese

Avocado & Tomato Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

easy BLT pasta salad on two plates with forks

See how to make the BLT pasta salad

I hope you love this damn good BLT pasta salad recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment so I know how you liked it. You can also share a photo on Instagram and tag #ambitiouskitchen. Enjoy, xo!

Damn Good BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Jalapeño Cashew Dressing

Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Damn good BLT pasta salad made with fresh corn, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, creamy avocado and crispy bacon. This easy, healthy BLT pasta salad recipe is tossed in an incredible, creamy jalapeño cashew dressing for an unbelievably delicious twist on your favorite sandwich. Perfect for potlucks, BBQ’s or enjoying for a healthy lunch or dinner!

  • 1
    batch of jalapeno cashew cream dressing
  • For the pasta salad:
  • 12
    ounces
    bacon
  • 10
    ounces
    pasta of choice (I suggest bowties or large shells, gluten free if desired)
  • 1 ½
    cups
    corn, grilled, raw or sauteed
  • 1
    pint
    cherry tomatoes, halved (I love using heirloom cherry tomatoes for color variety)
  • ½
    medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-4
    cups
    chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1
    slightly ripe but still firm avocado, diced
  1. While the cashews are soaking for your dressing, I suggest chopping all your veggies and having them ready to go. You can also cook your bacon: add bacon to a large skillet or pan and place over medium heat, cook bacon on both sides until crispy and golden brown. If the pan starts to smoke at any point, simply lower the heat. I always cook my bacon on medium low heat. Once bacon is done, blot with a paper towel to absorb excess grease, then chop into bite sized pieces and set aside.

  2. Next cook your pasta until al dente, drain and then place in a large bowl. Add all of the jalapeno cashew dressing, then stir together to combine. Next add the chopped bacon, corn (I prefer grilled or sauteed), halved cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, romaine lettuce and avocado. Gently toss again, then taste and adjust seasonings as necessary, adding more salt and pepper if you’d like. Serves 6, or 4 as a larger meal. Garnish with extra corn, tomatoes, red onion, avocado and bacon.

This BLT pasta salad will stay fresh covered in the fridge for about 3-4 days. It’s delicious made ahead of time, too, so feel free to prep it the night before a picnic or bbq, or prep it for your weekday lunches. I would recommend adding the avocado on when you’re ready to serve so that it stays fresh.

How to customize:

  • Swap the regular bacon for turkey bacon or even omit to make this salad vegan & vegetarian.
  • Add grilled chicken or salmon for an extra boost of protein, or even chickpeas!
  • Add a sprinkle of shredded sharp cheddar cheese or feta for a little more savory indulgence.
  • Try some fun croutons if you’re missing the toasty bread of your favorite BLT sandwich!
  • Looking to go nut free? Drizzle with this homemade ranch dressing instead of the cashew dressing. Feel free to add jalapeno to the dressing, or toss thinly sliced jalapenos in the pasta salad itself.

Nutrition

Servings: 6 servings

Serving size: 1 serving (based on 6)

Calories: 451kcal

Fat: 19.5g

Saturated fat: 3.9g

Carbohydrates: 54.2g

Fiber: 7.4g

Sugar: 7.3g

Protein: 18.6g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats



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