Take this Bacon & Avocado Pasta Salad to your next potluck and watch it disappear! Everyone loves this easy pasta salad!
Easy bacon avocado pasta salad is ah-mazing. Every bite is creamy, flavorful, and it has bacon in it, BACON! This recipe is the perfect side dish for warmer months. I make it as often as my family’s favorite Italian Pasta Salad. It’s great with all your favorite BBQ dishes. Everyone loves Bacon & Avocado Pasta Salad for obvious reasons!
EASY BACON & AVOCADO PASTA SALAD
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Confession time, I have a weird thing with tomatoes. Raw tomatoes gross me out to no end. I’m fine with salsa, tomato-based pasta sauce, and super thin-sliced tomatoes on my pesto pizza. I’m 97% sure it’s the squishy, slimy inside parts. Textures in my food are a big thing.
In the past, I’ve avoided cooked whole tomatoes because of that weird squishy stuff, but now I’m a changed woman. Last week I had a polenta dish that came with roasted grape tomatoes. They were amazing! Sweet little pops of flavor against the goat cheese and polenta. Yum! Tomatoes and I are on speaking terms now…just not the raw ones.
Bacon & Avocado Pasta Salad Ingredients
- Grape tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Rigatoni pasta
- Crispy bacon
- Avocado ranch dressing
- Salt and pepper
That’s how we get to this easy pasta salad recipe. It’s my homage to my new found love of roasted tomatoes paired with my other food obsessions – bacon and avocado. This is a great recipe that’s all about simple ingredients for an easy summer pasta salad you’ll want to take to every cookout!
How to Make Easy Cold Pasta Salad
- Start by placing the grape tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir the tomatoes they are coated in the oil and seasonings. Pour the tomatoes onto a baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
- Then roast the tomatoes at 400 degrees F until the skins are wilted and they are starting to burst. That’s how you know they’re ready. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then season liberally with salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and run under cool water until the pasta is no longer warm.
- Pour pasta to a large mixing bowl. Pour the avocado ranch dressing over the pasta and gently stir until the pasta is completely coated.
- If you want to garnish the top of your pasta salad, go ahead and set aside some of the bacon, avocado, and a few tomatoes now. Then add the rest of these ingredients into the pasta bowl. Stir everything together gently so the tomatoes don’t fall apart too much.
- Season the pasta salad with salt and pepper to your taste. Next, add the reserved bacon, avocado, and tomatoes to the top of the pasta salad. Serve right away or cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
I love homemade dressing for my pasta salads. There’s just no beating those fresh flavors and burst of tasty goodness. Since I was adding avocados to this recipe, I whipped up my avocado ranch for an easy pasta salad dressing. You could also use store-bought or homemade ranch dressing if you prefer. I find the avocado ranch a bit creamier, but you make it how you like it.
Bacon & avocado pasta salad is so delicious I stood at my kitchen counter yesterday and had half of the bowl for dinner. My mind kept drifting back to it all day and I have to give into my pasta salad craving!
What goes with pasta salad?
So many things! I love this easy pasta salad recipe with grilled chicken, burgers, and ribs. But it’s so good you could eat it on its own.
Can you make pasta salad ahead of time?
Absolutely! Pasta salad gets better when you let it sit for a couple of hours before serving so all the flavors can marry together.
That being said, this pasta salad has avocado in it and those little guys like to brown up as they are exposed to air. If you want to make this bacon & avocado pasta salad more than 4 hours ahead of time, don’t add the avocado chunks (the dressing is fine to add) until your ready to serve. Mix them in at the last minute.
Do I need to rinse pasta for pasta salad?
You don’t have to rinse your pasta, but it’s a great way to get your pasta cooled down right away.
If you don’t want to rinse your pasta, drain it, return the pasta to the pot and stir pasta with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself. Let the pasta cool down while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Then chill your pasta salad in the refrigerator until your desired temperature is reached.
Be sure to try some of my other favorite potluck side dishes!
- 7 Layer Salad
- Pineapple Casserole
- Red Potato Salad
- Grilled Veggie Kabobs
- Frog Eye Salad
- More side dish recipes…
Tools used to make this Bacon & Avocado Pasta Salad recipe
Baking Sheet: A nice big baking sheet is a must-have for any kitchen. This half pan sheet is large than a regular cookie and works great for anything you’re baking.
Silicone Mat: I use a silicone mat on my baking sheet practically every time I bake. The mat makes for easy cleanup and my foods don’t stick to the pan.
Large Pot: This pot is a kitchen essential for everything from dinner to desserts. I use mine all the time and with proper care, it’ll last for years and years.
Mixing Bowls: These mixing bowls are perfect for mixing and serving. I love the varied sizes so I always have to right-size bowl for all my mixing needs.
*This post originally posted on 05/31/2015
- 11 ounces grape tomatoes rinsed and dried
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 2 avocados pitted
- 6 strips bacon cooked crispy and crumbled
- 1 cup Avocado Ranch Dressing
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir until tomatoes are coated. Transfer tomatoes to the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until tomatoes are slightly wilted and bursting. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the tomatoes cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season water with a generous pinch of salt. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta and run under cold water until completely cooled.
- Add pasta to a large bowl and pour in avocado ranch dressing. Stir until pasta is completely coated.
- Run a knife through the avocado flesh to make a checkerboard pattern, then run a large spoon under the avocado right up against to skin to remove the flesh. Add most fo the avocado to pasta bowl.
- Add most of the crumbled bacon and roasted tomatoes to the pasta. Gently stir everything together until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Sprinkle reserved bacon, avocado, and tomatoes on top of the pasta salad. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.