BLT Pasta Salad Recipe Weight Watchers Friendly

This BLT pasta salad recipe mixes turkey bacon, whole grain pasta, lettuce and tomatoes in a light mayonnaise dressing for a healthy pasta salad that’s just 3 WW points a serving! 

Grey handmade ceramic bowl of BLT pasta salad on blue placemat

The flavors and textures of a BLT sandwich are classic and memorable: The salty umami of bacon, sweet and juicy acidity from ripe tomatoes, a crisp crunch of romaine lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, and earthy whole grain bread.

So it makes perfect sense to bring that combination to a BLT pasta salad!

How to make BLT pasta salad

The biggest change in a BLT pasta salad compared to the sandwich is swapping pasta for the bread. Since I prefer whole grain bread, and the nutritional benefits of whole grains over processed flour, I went with a whole grain penne pasta.

The other big difference is going from simply spreading mayonnaise on the bread, to incorporating it into a pasta salad dressing. Below I’ll jump into each ingredient and possible substitutions.

A forkful of lettuce, turkey bacon, penne pasta, and tomatoes in a creamy dressing in front of bowl of BLT pasta salad

Ingredients

Whole grain penne pasta: I love whole grain pasta because of its nutty flavor, nutritional value, and the fact that whole grain pasta doesn’t cause the same sugar spike and crash of white flour pasta. Whole grain pasta also means I don’t have to include any WW points for the pasta on my purple plan.

If you can’t do grains at all, you can definitely substitute your favorite pasta alternative, just make sure to calculate that into your nutrition estimates. I love Modern Table’s lentil pasta which is packed with protein and would make another great healthy option for the BLT pasta salad.

Turkey bacon: Turkey bacon is a lean alternative to regular pork bacon. While I find it more difficult to substitute when eating bacon on its own, the swap works well in this pasta salad.

Cherry tomatoes: You can definitely chop up larger tomatoes for the BLT pasta salad, but I really like the look and texture of cherry or grape tomatoes cut into quarters. There are fewer seeds and juice to deal with, and it’s also easier to make sure you’re getting some tomato in every bite.

Romaine lettuce: While you could go with any lettuce, I recommend romaine lettuce hearts because they have a delightful crunch and are easy to slice into ribbons.

Light Mayonnaise: There is no question that I prefer the taste and ingredients in regular mayonnaise. Give me a basic egg yolk, vinegar, oil, and salt aioli over the food starches, sugar, and preservatives in light mayo.

However, the goal of this BLT pasta salad was to make it Weight Watchers friendly for those of us trying to meet our health goals. Even with the added sugar, light mayo has half the WW points of regular. And with the additional dressing ingredients, light mayonnaise works well in this recipe.

Glass mixing bowl of tossed BLT pasta salad with wooden spoon and green napkin

Real maple syrup: This isn’t pancake syrup, which is basically just corn syrup. You’ll want a good maple syrup to not only add a touch of sweetness to the pasta salad dressing, but also a hint of maple flavor which goes so well with the bacon.

Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar adds both acidity and flavor to this BLT pasta salad dressing. I prefer an ACV that has the mother for the additional health benefits.

Dijon mustard: The Dijon mustard really ups the complexity of the creamy dressing, giving it a little mild and pleasant horseradish type heat with the mustard flavor.

Salt and pepper: Salt is a flavor enhancer and brings all the flavors out, helping them meld together. Pepper is a choice if you like the added spiciness. Add each of these to taste after mixing up your salad.

Making the Salad

Overhead of large glass mixing bowl full of BLT pasta salad
  1. Cook about 1 ¼ cups dry penne pasta to get around 2 cups cooked penne. Drain well.
  2. In a large bowl mix the pasta with 4 cups of quartered grape tomatoes, 4 cups of thinly sliced romaine hearts, and 6 chopped slices of turkey bacon.
  3. In a small bowl mix the light mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and mix.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. This BLT pasta salad is best served after chilling for 30 minutes.

Weight Watchers points

I love that this pasta salad has just 3 WW points per serving. I can eat a couple servings on their own for a full meal, or eat one serving as a side dish with my main course.

List of WW points for BLT pasta salad ingredients

This photo shows you the breakdown for the points. The BLT pasta salad recipe makes 6 servings that are about 1 cup each.

Tips for the best BLT pasta salad

  • Let the pasta salad chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. This lets all the flavors develop and come together.
  • If you aren’t trying to lose weight, feel free to swap the light mayonnaise for real mayonnaise. 
  • You can also swap any pasta shape for the penne. We like the tube shape of the penne, but rotini, bowtie, or macaroni pasta can work well too. 
  • Be sure to only cook your pasta to al dente. If you cook it longer than that, the pasta can get soggy and even mushy in the pasta salad.
  • If serving this BLT pasta salad at a potluck or summer BBQ, grab another serving bowl that is larger than the bowl your salad is in. Put ice or ice packs in that bowl and set the pasta salad bowl on top of them. This will help keep your pasta salad safe to eat for a couple hours.
  • If you want to make this salad a main dish, try mixing in slices of grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts. They will add protein without adding to your point count.
Overhead view of BLT pasta salad in a salad bowl with fork, cucumber water, and a pinch dish of salt

How long does this pasta salad keep in the fridge?

Because the BLT pasta salad has lettuce, I recommend serving within a few hours of assembling. The lettuce can definitely get soggy after that. 

If you want to make the salad in advance, like a day before, just keep the lettuce out. Mix everything else together and store the salad and the lettuce separately in the refrigerator. Then mix the sliced lettuce into the salad before serving.

What to serve with BLT pasta salad

I love serving this salad with a good salmon recipe like grilled cedar plank salmon, lemon pepper salmon, easy microwave salmon, or even a 0 WW point baked salmon asparagus foil packet.

If you love chicken, the BLT pasta salad pairs beautifully with BBQ chicken, and also goes well with keto baked chicken or coconut chicken skewers.

Bowl with penne pasta, sliced cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and turkey bacon in creamy dressing

My pressure cooker short ribs are a classic pairing with any pasta salad, and oven baked lamb loin chops are a flavorful meat that is really complimented by the creamy salad.

More salad recipes from Eating Richly and our blogging friends

Pin to Save for Later

Don’t lose the recipe! You can save the image below on Pinterest and then leave a photo in the comments of the pin once you’ve made it. We love seeing your creations!

Fork of penne, chopped bacon, cherry tomatoes and lettuce with text saying BLT Pasta Salad Recipe

Printable BLT Pasta Salad Recipe Card

Yield: 6 servings

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad bit on a fork

This BLT pasta salad recipe mixes turkey bacon, whole grain pasta, lettuce and tomatoes in a light mayonnaise dressing for a healthy pasta salad that’s just 3 WW points a serving! The additional time in the recipe is for chilling at least 30 minutes before serving. This really lets the flavors come together. Adapted from Food.com

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked whole grain penne pasta
  • 4 cups quartered grape tomatoes
  • 4 cups thin sliced romaine lettuce
  • 6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook about 1 ¼ cups dry penne pasta to get around 2 cups cooked penne. Drain well.
  2. In a large bowl mix the pasta with grape tomatoes, romaine hearts, and turkey bacon.
  3. In a small bowl mix the light mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and mix.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Chilling in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Notes

  • If you aren’t trying to lose weight, feel free to swap the light mayonnaise for real mayonnaise. 
  • You can also swap any pasta shape for the penne. Rotini, bowtie, or macaroni pasta can work well too. 
  • Be sure to only cook your pasta to al dente. If you cook it longer than that, the pasta can get soggy and even mushy in the pasta salad.
  • If serving this BLT pasta salad at a potluck or summer BBQ, grab another serving bowl that is larger than the bowl your salad is in. Put ice or ice packs in that bowl and set the pasta salad bowl on top of them. This will help keep your pasta salad safe to eat for a couple hours.
  • If you want to make this salad a main dish, try mixing in slices of grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts. They will add protein without adding to your point count.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 454mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is an estimate only.


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