A gluten and dairy-free pasta salad that no summer should be without. All the best parts of a BLT: bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado, along with a filling pasta and creamy dressing that is delicious on its own as an entree, or perfect as a side dish for potlucks and BBQs. This Avocado BLT Pasta Salad is free of: wheat, gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanut and tree nuts. It’s top-8-free and can be vegan if you use vegan bacon crumbles!
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Forgive me for not posting this Gluten, Egg & Dairy-free: Avocado BLT Pasta Salad recipe sooner. We started eating this last summer and we just gobble it up so fast I can’t keep my family away long enough to snap a picture.
My mom has been staying with me for about the past month because 1.) she is a saint and 2.) to help raise my children while I worked wildly on the cookbook to get it sent to the publisher by the deadline.
This was one of her FAVORITE recipes I made for her last year and so she requested it again. And, guess what a bad daughter I am??!! We had it without her.
I know, I know. I bought all of the ingredients with good intentions, but ended up not making it while she was here because that week was crazy and I totally over estimated how much time I’d have to make a fresh dinner–so instead we ate cookbook shoot leftovers. My mom left to stay with my sister for the weekend since she lives about 40 minutes away. And, I realized that the avocados were NOT going to make it until she came back. So, I went ahead and made this in her honor. But now, she has it written down so she can make it for herself too once she gets back home. I’m so sorry mom! But, my mom did get to eat many of the delicious cookbook recipes while she was here, so hopefully that makes up for it!
The other thing that I love about this allergy-friendly pasta salad is that my boys ACTUALLY ate the lettuce. Seriously this never happens. They do not like salads and if there’s lettuce or spinach in something they typically pick it out. I’m not into making different meals for them, so I figured they’d just have to eat around it. But to my surprise they were gobbling. SERIOUSLY GOBBLING this down. My son had an extra helping and he’s already asking when I can make it again–to which I will gladly oblige.
While some may feel it’s not the healthiest because of the bacon–I still feel like this is a total mom win with the fresh tomatoes and lettuce in it, both of which vegetables my kids aren’t huge on. Sneak some carbs and some pasta and it will work magic. I swear!
SUBSTITUTIONS FOR THE AVOCADO BLT PASTA SALAD:
- If you need this to be pasta salad to be vegan, since the mayo is already a vegan mayo, it’d be an easy switch to use vegan bacon instead and ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, my vegan friends can have this as well!
- And, if you’re not an avocado fan (seriously, how is that even possible??!) and you don’t want your salad to be extra creamy, then you can omit that too for a straight BLT salad instead of an avocado BLT pasta salad.
- If you don’t need it to be gluten free, go ahead and use regular pasta–the same amount.
- If you don’t need it to be egg free, go ahead and use regular mayo–same amount.
- If you don’t want to cook the bacon (I get it, it’s hot and it’s summer!) you can buy pre-bought bacon crumbles.
- If you don’t want to do romain, any other green can be substituted–same amount.
- If you want to use more or less of the veggies, you can do that too.
- If you don’t want to lead a happy, fulfilling life, don’t make this salad.
- POINT IN CASE: this salad is very tweakable and forgiving.
I hope this helps you feel some pride when you go to a picnic or potluck, knowing that even if what you bring has to be allergy-friendly or tweaked for certain diets, that it can still be DELICIOUS. Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer friends!
- 12 oz box of gluten-free short pasta. cooked according to direction to al dente
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1 12-oz package of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 carton of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 heart of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- ⅔ cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp minced garlic (approx 2 cloves)
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- optional: fresh chives for garnish
- Boil the pasta until it's al dente, following the directions on the box for the kind you get. Rinse the pasta off in cold water and drain well. Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- While the pasta boils, cook your bacon--either by doing it in a cast iron skillet on your stove top over medium high heat and turning until both sides are crisp, or by cooking it in the oven. If you cook it in the oven, place aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, lay the bacon without overlapping it on the aluminum foil. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes, until the bacon is crisp.
- Either way you bake the bacon, once it's cooked lay it on a paper towel to drain excess fat. Once it's cool enough to handle, crumble the bacon and add it to the large mixing bowl.
- Wash and chop the lettuce and halve the cherry tomatoes. Add them to the large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients: finely chopped red onion, vegan mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste--season well. If the dressing is too thick for you, you can thin it a little with some rice milk.
- Dress the salad with the dressing, starting with just using half the bowl and working your way up, until it is coated as much as you like. Be sure to stir and incorporate the dressing on all of the salad, tossing as you go.
- Mince fresh chives and cube the avocado. Top the salad with the avocado and chives. Serve immediately. Great at room temp or refrigerated. If I refrigerate mine a few hours before serving, I like to reserve a little dressing, so that it's freshly dressed again, as the pasta can soak in the dressing and it can dry out a little and I like my salad a little more wet.
DON’T FORGET TO PIN THIS, SO YOU DON’T LOSE IT. BE SURE TO ALSO CHECK OUT MY OTHER ALLERGY-FRIENDLY PINTEREST BOARDS FOR MORE IDEAS!
Looking for other allergy-friendly summer salads? Here are three of my other favorites: