This BLT pasta salad recipe is a fun twist on the classic sandwich. Packed with fresh veggies and avocado, it’s a flavorful side dish or light lunch.
BLT pasta salad! Ok, more like TAT pasta salad, but this recipe has some serious BLT flavors going on, so we’re sticking with that. As you might have guessed, there’s no actual bacon here, just my trusty tempeh bacon plus sun-dried tomatoes for an extra savory kick.
This BLT pasta salad recipe would be a great dish to pass at a Labor Day gathering this weekend, but it’s also hearty enough to be a vegetarian main dish. Pack it up for a weekday lunch, or serve it for a light dinner. Whichever way you pick, I think you’re going to love it.
BLT Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this BLT pasta salad recipe:
- Pasta, of course! I think farfalle (aka bow tie pasta) is so cute and fun here.
- Tempeh bacon – Cooked in a tamari and rice vinegar marinade, this vegan bacon has a smoky, savory flavor that’s surprisingly close to the real thing.
- Cherry tomatoes – The “T!” Their sweet flavor and juicy texture are a welcome addition to the salad.
- Arugula – Instead of mixing fresh lettuce into this salad, I add a handful of arugula. I love how the tender leaves fold around the pasta and other veggies.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – For chewy texture and umami flavor.
- Cucumber – For crunch!
- Red onion – It adds more crunch and sharp, savory flavor.
- Avocado – Who doesn’t love avocado with bacon, lettuce, and tomato? Its creamy texture is fantastic with the crispy bacon and tender pasta.
- And the dressing – Made from olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and dried herbs, it adds zingy flavor to the salad and ties it all together.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make this BLT Pasta Salad
The first step to making this BLT pasta salad recipe is preparing the tempeh bacon. You’ll cut the tempeh into thin strips, steam it, marinate it, and bake it until it’s browned and crisp. (Find the complete recipe here!) Once it cools slightly, use your hands to break it into small pieces.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Cook it in a large pot of salted boiling water until it’s just past al dente. Because this is a cold pasta salad recipe, you want to cook it long enough so that it’s still tender when it cools.
While the pasta cools, make the dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients at the bottom of a large bowl. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Then, add the tempeh bacon, sun-dried and cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. Toss again before folding in the avocado and arugula.
Season to taste, and serve!
BLT Pasta Salad Serving Suggestions
This recipe is best right after it’s made, when the bacon is crisp and the avocado is green and fresh. That being said, it still packs up nicely for picnics, cookouts, and make-ahead lunches. Just hold off on adding the avocado until right before you’re ready to serve.
Thanks to the tempeh, pasta, and avocado, this salad is nice and hearty, so it can easily pass as a meal on its own. I also like to serve it as a side dish with classic cookout fare like veggie burgers, black bean burgers, and BBQ sandwiches. Round out the meal with other summer side dishes like fruit salad, grilled vegetables, or corn on the cob. Enjoy!
More Favorite Pasta Salads
If you love this BLT pasta salad recipe, try one of these pasta salads next:
BLT Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces farfalle pasta
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- Tempeh Bacon, broken into small pieces
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- ⅓ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh arugula
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, or until slightly past al dente.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, parsley and salt. Add the pasta and toss. Add the tempeh bacon, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and toss again. Gently mix in the avocado and arugula. Season to taste and serve.