Our tomato plants are finally slowing down. While I am thrilled with the less work that it gives me, I am already going to miss all the fresh tomatoes! The various cherry and pear tomato plants are the first to go. The harvest remaining is small. This is one dish that is absolutely wonderful with any type of smaller tomato.
How can you really go wrong with anything BLT? Bacon and tomato are perfect together. Okay, not the best if you are vegetarian or don’t eat pork. The beauty of this dish, though, is that the tomatoes are the shining star. Just omit the bacon or use turkey bacon, whatever floats your boat. Add even more tomatoes if you want, I certainly would!
As with any recipe, especially salads or pasta salads, this is quite flexible. In addition to the previous bacon substitutions, there are many ways to do the “lettuce” part of the BLT.
This time I chose to put the pasta salad on a bed of spinach and arugula. I have also chopped Romaine lettuce and mixed it in with the pasta salad. The key to this preparation is that you will need to eat all the salad at once so the lettuce doesn’t wilt, making it ideal for a party or large family gathering. There are plenty of other lettuces that would work as well.
You can also play around with the dressing. This time I used a store-bought chipotle ranch dressing mixed with the mayonnaise. Plain ranch is also good. Obviously homemade ranch and mayo are also great, but let’s face it, sometimes quick is a must. I was making four cakes when we had this salad! This time I used mini shell pasta, but rotini, penne, macaroni etc. also work. Make it early in the day and let it sit in the fridge. Then toss all together for a quick dinner, or better yet, take it on a picnic.
This also pairs wonderfully with a glass of red wine. I can’t believe my little snail friend hasn’t made an appearance on the blog yet. This glass filled with some red wine and a tasty meal will cheer anybody up!
BLT Pasta Salad
12 oz. pasta, cooked to al dente
12 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
Lettuce (Romaine, bibb, arugula, etc.)
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. ranch salad dressing
Mix the mayonnaise and ranch dressing together. Gently toss the pasta and bacon in a bowl. Pour a small amount of the dressing on the salad and chill. When ready to serve add the rest of the dressing and tomatoes. Place some lettuce on plates and spoon salad on top. (Or chop lettuce and add to the salad when serving)
Yields 6-8 servings