Is there a better combo than BLT? Such a simple idea combining salty, crunchy, smooth and creamy in a sandwich. The colors, the flavors, and the textures are what make this sandwich a favorite for so many. This recipe combines all of those amazing flavors into a simple and colorful salad!
If you take time to do the little things while making this salad – fry and chop the bacon (instead of buying pre-cooked bacon bits), make your own ranch dressing with fresh herbs and garlic (instead of using a bottle of ranch), I promise you will taste the difference.
Oh, and the homemade Ranch dressing? It’s hard to go back to bottled once you make your own.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference.
BLT Pasta Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
1/2 lb bacon
1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and dried (yield about 16 cups of loosely packed lettuce)
1 lb Grape tomatoes or Roma tomatoes
1-1 1/2 lb cheese-filled ravioli ( I use a 1 lb 4 oz package)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry Ranch dressing mix
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
adapted from The Huffington Post
1/2 cup well shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon chopped fresh: tarragon, dill, parsley, chives (all or a combo of these)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
two dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake until blended well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you have an immersion blender place all of the ingredients in a jar and pulse until the herbs are chopped fine.
Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels. Pat any remaining grease off of bacon. Place on a cutting board and chop. Set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook. Rinse with cold water, drain. Toss the pasta with 1-2 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons prepared dry ranch dressing mix. Refrigerate until ready to use. Let the pasta cool completely before adding to the salad, or the pasta will wilt the lettuce.
Cut the lettuce into bite size pieces.
Slice the grape tomatoes in half, or if using Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks.
Arrange the lettuce in a large bowl. Place the tomatoes over top of the lettuce and top with cooled pasta. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, toss the salad a bit, sprinkle with bacon and drizzle with fresh ranch. Serve salad with additional dressing on the side.
Serves12 as a side dish
-When purchasing buttermilk, I try to buy brands that are thicker in texture. Locally (Utah) my favorite brand is Winder Dairy. Their buttermilk is significantly thicker than other brands. If you are concerned about using up all of your buttermilk, try making ABK’s buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, buttermilk syrup, blueberry buttermilk scones…search “buttermilk” in the search bar on the right side of the main page.
-I do not recommend using dry buttermilk for this dressing.
-I usually double the dressing recipe so I can have leftovers for other salads.
-You may use any type of filled pasta in this salad . I like cheese or a combo of spinach and cheese filled ravioli, but tortellini also works well.
-You may add additional lettuce to this salad to create more servings. If doubling this recipe, double the lettuce but only 1 1/2 the bacon, tomatoes and pasta. Any type of lettuce may be used ( I have even used spinach) I like Romaine because it has a very firm texture, which makes it a good lettuce to support the heavy pasta and tomatoes in this dish. I also like Romaine’s dark green color.