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BackstoryYou've heard the phrase before... 'everything's better with bacon!' I'm definitely a bacon lover so I'll echo that phrase. I often keep bacon on hand because I love incorporating it in dishes and of course, eating it for breakfast now and then. A popular use for bacon is in sandwiches, name a BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato). I've used this combination for a BLT pizza, BLT mac & cheese, even a BLT green salad. My most recent application of BLTs is for this BLT Pasta Salad. In this dish, the BLT stands for bacon, leek and tomato, where all the great flavor of the sandwich are tossed with pasta in a creamy ranch dressing...
I suppose you could use lettuce in place of the leeks if you wanted, but I like the more savory touch the leeks add to this pasta salad. It's a salad that I found tastes better as it sits so the ranch flavor from the dressing really get absorbed by the pasta. You could refrain from adding the bacon until the last minute if you want the crunchy texture but it's certainly up to you. For a gluten free alternative, substitute the pasta with a gluten free variety.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large leek, cleaned and sliced (bottom white part only - discard green tops)
- 1-2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
- 12 ounces your favorite shape, cooked al dente
- Mix together the mayonnaise and dry ranch dressing mix in the bottom of a large bowl, set aside.
- In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and saute the chopped leeks. Cook until softened.
- Add the leeks to the large bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Carefully fold in all the ingredients to incorporate and coat with the ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before serving to allow time for flavors to meld.