Why does the combination of bacon, lettuce and tomato work so well together? I decided to push my tastebuds to the limit and add a little something extra, chicken, pasta and a green leafy mixture.
Which created my new favorite lunch and/or side dish: Chicken BLT Pasta Salad.
This is the perfect light spring or summer salad to bring to barbecues, or to eat for a light lunch. The ingredients are so fresh and taste amazing together.
I like to use the cherry tomatoes because I love the way they look in this salad, but any type of tomato would work.
You can use any type of noodle to make this pasta. We personally love bow tie, because it’s easier for the little ones to eat.
How to make chicken blt pasta salad
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine the chicken breast pieces, noodles, spinach, Romain lettuce, tomatoes and bacon until fully combined.
Step 2: In a smaller separate bowl, combine the ranch, barbecue sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper.
Step 3: Mix until fully incorporated.
Step 4: Add the dressing to the salad.
Step 5: Sprinkle with extra pepper and add avocado as a garnish.
I don’t know about you, but I am busy. I don’t have time to be preparing big elaborate meals for my family every night. If I can pull something together in under a half hour and my kids will eat it, I feel fulfilled.
With every recipe I come across, I look for shortcuts. I don’t have time to cut, chop, or boil many ingredients, so when I find a shortcut, I share it with my fellow busy moms.
Here are a few short cuts you could use for this recipe:
- Pre-cooked and shredded chicken. Grocery stores that have pre-cooked and shredded chicken, are my saving grace. You can usually find this in the deli section, or ask a store helper for assistance.I have seen it at Kroger, Harmons, and Costco, but I’m sure it’s more and more common.You could also use a rotisserie chicken if you don’t want to boil your chicken. If it’s an extra busy night, you could even go without it.
- Cherry tomatoes. I hate cutting tomatoes almost as much as I hate cutting onions. Why are there so many slimy seeds that seem impossible to clean up?I have found a new appreciation for cherry tomatoes. You could slice them one time, in half and toss them in the salad, or you could even put them in whole.
- Pre-cooked bacon or bacon bits. There is no better smell in this world than cooking bacon, but I think we can all agree that cleanup is a pain.When bacon cooks, the grease is popping everywhere and your hair smells like bacon for days (not really too upset about that though). But did you know, there is pre-cooked bacon at the store? I’m serious it’s a thing.I usually spot it right next to the bacon, but you literally just have to warm it up in the microwave. No bacon grease, no spitting bacon, no meat stench, just cooked bacon ready to eat.You could also use bacon bits. This is usually found by salad dressings or croutons at the store. I prefer the taste of fresh bacon, but when you are in a time crunch, nobody is complaining about bacon bits.
- Pre-made Dressing: I know this recipe comes with a dressing, but depending on your time, and the urgency, you could also use a dressing you have on hand. I have had this salad with ranch, vinaigrettes, etc.You make the recipe work for you, not the other way around. You eat it how you like it. Even if it means adding or taking away ingredients from the recipe.
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Chicken BLT Pasta Salad Recipe
- 6 chicken breasts cooked, and cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 cups bowtie noodles cooked and drained
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 3 cups romaine lettuce leaves
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 12 bacon strips cooked and diced
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 avocado diced
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken breast pieces, noodles, spinach, Romain lettuce, tomatoes and bacon until fully combined.
- In a smaller separate bowl, combine the ranch, barbecue sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Add the dressing to the salad.
- Sprinkle with extra pepper and add avocado as a garnish.
- You could use a rotisserie chicken if you don’t want to boil your chicken. If it’s an extra busy night, you could even go without it.
- Large Bowl
- small bowl
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