Caesar BLT Pasta Salad

August 5, 2012

Caesar BLT Pasta Salad

This is another super simple and delicious summertime pasta salad.

I don’t normally eat much pasta; but there’s something about the Summer that makes me want to experiment with different cold pasta salads. (And, I’ll admit that I’ve never really been a fan of cold pasta salads.)

We have a lot of cookouts with friends in the Summer and not only are pasta salads easy to throw together, but they also feed big crowds and are a perfect side dish for grilled chicken, fish or burgers.

Last weekend I took Bry’s favorite Angel Hair Pasta Salad to his birthday celebration with the family and several of his hungry fellow sailors. It was a hit, as usual, but we managed to save one small dish of leftovers for the birthday boy. :-)

The Seashells with basil, tomato, and garlic pasta salad that I made for our 4th of July celebration was also a huge hit with all our friends and with a lot of our readers. A big thanks to all our new readers that found us via Pinterest!

I found the original recipe for the BLT Pasta Salad on Food Network; but I adapted it, like I always do.  I don’t know why, but I just can’t follow a recipe exactly as written. I’ll read it a couple of times for inspiration and will almost always change it up.

I decided to nix the milk, sour cream and mayo in the original recipe and try some yummy Caesar dressing instead. Then I thought I might as well throw in some black olives and Parmesan to make it more like a Caesar salad.

It did not disappoint.

Caesar BLT Pasta Salad
(adapted from Food Network)

16 oz. mini farfalle (bowties)
1 lb. bacon
1 pint sugar plum tomatoes, sliced
1 c. Gardini’s Caesar dressing
1 c. sliced black olives
1/2 c. parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
Juice of one lemon
4 c. chopped romaine lettuce

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water to al dente, then drain. (I cooked mine the night before and tossed it with the olive oil and lemon juice and marinated it in the refrigerator overnight.) This keeps the pasta from sticking together.

Cut the bacon into bite size pieces and cook in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard the bacon grease; leaving just a tablespoon or so in the skillet. Add the sliced tomatoes and minced garlic and toss in the skillet for just a couple of minutes to cook the garlic and soften the tomatoes. Remove from heat and let sit until cool.

Since the pasta is nice and cold from being refrigerated overnight; just mix in the Caesar dressing, bacon, tomato mixture, olives and Parmesan, then toss in the chopped lettuce at the end and it’s ready to go! Serve at room temperature.

Again; simple and delicious.

Note: I’ve made plenty of pasta salads with spinach but this is the first time that I’ve made one with lettuce; and, at first, I was a bit skeptical as to how it would turn out.  But, my hungry, meat and potato eatin’ guys raved about it and all my friends loved it.

Obviously, you want to serve this salad pretty soon after it’s made so the lettuce doesn’t get all limp and wilted; but we snacked on it hours later and it was still very good.

I really hope you’ll try this one. Enjoy!

BigSis’ Vegan Twist:  Adios to the bacon and parmesan for starters. I wouldn’t sub a faux bacon, since most that I’ve tried wouldn’t stay crispy in a moist salad. Many aren’t vegan anyway. To replace the salty flavors from the bacon and cheese, I’d use a really flavorful kalamata olive, some capers, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

We also need to cut the Caesar dressing since anchovies are part of the traditional recipe. We definitely want the Caesar flavors in this recipe but without the fishies, so we can make our own dressing or buy one. I think this recipe for vegan Caesar salad dressing sounds awesome. Follow Your Heart makes a vegan Caesar salad dressing if you don’t want to make your own. That should do it!

~LilSis

20 Comments so far

  1. Posted by Judy

    August 11, 201212:27 pm

    Recipe looks great…but I am a bit confused. I see vegan and cruelty-free posts, then a recipe with bacon. Just wondering (is Bis Sis the vegan?). I am slowly gravitating to veganism (but bacon is my weakness :-) ). I’m mainly asking because I pop over to your site when I am looking for a cruelty-free product (thanks for saving me the time), so I just want to make sure I am not misunderstanding.

  2. Posted by BigSis

    August 12, 201211:17 am

    Hi Judy! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, we really appreciate your question. It’s a good one!

    It’s true, I’m the vegan (BigSis). I’ve been vegan for 2-1/2 years, and vegetarian for about 16 years before that. LilSis cooks for a family of hungry guys, and is nudging them toward healthier choices all the time.

    BigSisLilSis is about how we real sisters are alike in lots of ways, but different in others. LilSis is a great cook, and I’m more of a baker. I’m a bit crafty, but she’s full-blown artsy. She’s living in California, working and caring for all those boys, while I’m in Texas, working a high pressure job in a high rise.

    I hope we don’t confuse our readers, since you’ll see a recipe with bacon one day and a post about cruelty-free shopping the next day. Occasionally, you may see LilSis do a meaty version of a recipe, and then I’ll do a vegan version. We could do two separate blogs, but we really like doing this together, and post on things besides food (our biggest difference). I hope that explanation helps clarify what’s up with us. :-)

    Thanks again for your question! Have a great week! ~BigSis

  3. Posted by Judy

    August 12, 20124:32 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up! I think what the two of you are doing is great — and yes, keep doing it together. I think we all need to see how we can be the same and different…doing the best we can to do our part in the world.

  4. Posted by BigSis

    August 19, 20125:24 pm

    Thanks, Judy. I agree!

  5. Posted by Shelly

    December 29, 20129:26 pm

    I made this for my Family Christmas Party,and it was a big hit,,,problems is I made way too much,,,,question,can this be frozen????

    Thank you

  6. Posted by BigSis

    December 30, 20123:08 pm

    Hi Shelly, thanks for your question. I definitely wouldn’t freeze this because of the lettuce and tomatoes. I think it might be freezable otherwise, but even then I think there’s a chance for it to get weird in the freezer. Maybe you can share leftovers with family and friends? Have a happy new year!

  7. Posted by Shelly

    January 12, 20133:48 pm

    Thanks,,,and Happy New Year to you,,,,

  8. Posted by Lisa Jamerson

    February 23, 20137:14 pm

    I just made this and it was the most delicious pasta salad I believe I have ever made. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Posted by LilSis

    February 24, 20132:31 pm

    Lisa,
    I’m so glad you enjoyed this salad. It’s one of our favorites now!

  10. Posted by chris

    March 2, 201310:04 am

    I am going to try this salad it sure looks great. I think it would make a good salad for a potluck. Thanks for the receipe.

  11. Posted by LilSis

    March 3, 201312:33 pm

    Thanks, Chris! Yes, it is a good salad for a pot luck. Thanks for reading BigSisLilSis!

  12. Posted by Melissa

    May 21, 20138:52 am

    This sounds great…I am going to make it for a graduation luncheon we are having for my daughter. I am confused about the garlic…do you mince it and include it in the salad or just cook it with the tomatoes to release the flavor. It is not real clear to me.
    Thanks!!

  13. Posted by LilSis

    May 23, 20131:12 am

    Melissa, thank you so much for your comment. Yes, the garlic is minced and it should have been mentioned in the recipe. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention and I’ll revise the recipe just to make sure it’s not confusing. This salad turns out great and I’m so glad that you’ll be making it for a graduation luncheon! Please let me know how it turns out. Thanks for reading BigSisLilSis!!!

  14. Posted by Lori E

    May 30, 201310:31 am

    Does sound delicious. I am like you in that I always change up recipes to what I have on hand or to what I prefer.
    I suppose we could always leave the lettuce out of the dish until serving and then put it on the plate and spoon the pasta salad on top of the lettuce. If the pasta hasn’t absorbed all of the dressing I think this would work.

  15. Posted by Gooner

    August 9, 20135:08 pm

    If you’re not a fan of Miracle Whip, leave out the lemon or go very easy on it. Other than that, a great salad.

  16. Posted by Lori Jackson

    August 25, 201312:13 am

    Could I substitute spinach for the romaine lettuce or is it the crunch from the lettuce that makes this salad so good?

  17. Posted by BigSis

    August 25, 20137:53 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Gooner!

  18. Posted by BigSis

    August 25, 20137:56 pm

    Hi Lori! You could definitely sub spinach for the romaine, but I think you’re right that you might miss the crunch.

  19. Posted by Mab

    January 7, 20141:07 pm

    FARFALLE means BUTTERFLY, not Bowtie as so many people incorrectly refer to this pasta. Not meant to be a slam. Just and FYI.

  20. Posted by LilSis

    January 9, 201410:52 pm

    Of course, we know that Farfalle translates to butterflies in Italian. Bowtie pasta is just a nickname because the shape looks like a bowtie. Thanks for sharing that comment, though.

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