This Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad is perfect to make all summer long. Loaded with grape tomatoes, smokey bacon, cubed mozzarella cheese and red onions all wrapped up in a light vinaigrette. A great dish for potlucks, barbecues or as a lunch any day of the week to go with Crispy Fried Chicken Cutlets.
As summer approaches each year, I am always thinking of new salads I can make. I absolutely love pasta salads like my Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad and the easy Red Pesto Pasta Salad. I love all the different flavour combinations you can come up with and the sky really is the limit. I have another pasta salad planned to come out in a few weeks that I’m sure you’ll all love. And what makes this salad great? The bacon…hahaha! I’m not even kidding when I tell you how much flavour it brings to the salad. Do you like bacon in salads?
- Pasta – I used spiral/fusilli pasta for this recipe
- Fresh ingredients – grape tomatoes and red onion
- Cheese – I chose to use fresh mozzarella in this pasta salad.
- Bacon – I just cooked regular bacon and crumbled it for the salad
- Dressing – this recipe uses a vinaigrette that consists of lemon juice, olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, sugar and parsley.
REMEMBER, The full recipe and instructions is always found at the end of the post in the recipe card.
- Cook pasta – Cook pasta according to package, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Make vinaigrette – In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and fresh chopped parsley. Whisk really well to combine.
- Combine salad – In a large salad bowl combine the pasta, grape tomatoes, chopped onion, crumbled bacon, cubed mozzarella and the vinaigrette. Stir really well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour before serving.
- Serve – Serve cold or at room temperature.
- Cooking pasta – pasta salads are best with al dente pasta. This means the pasta will still have a bit of a bite to it and not be falling apart soft. I cooked this pasta al dente in 8 minutes. But remember, all pasta brands are different.
- Cooking bacon – the easiest way to cook bacon is on a baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the bacon strips on the baking sheet and cook in a preheated 375 degree F/190 degree C oven to desired doneness. I like to cook IT well to crumble and it took about 12 minutes.
- Make it in advance – This salad is best the day it’s made but can easily keep overnight in the fridge to take to a potluck or serve at a barbecue the following day.
- Spiral pasta – for the pasta element I used spiral pasta because the flavours stick to it easily. If you prefer you could use penne no problem at all for this salad.
- Mozzarella cheese – I used cubed fresh mozzarella pasta for this salad. If you prefer you could use another cheese like cheddar, feta, Gouda, Swiss or Havarti.
- Grape/cherry tomatoes – I love these tomatoes because they are a great size and give a wonderful flavour to summer salads. However, if you are not a fan, you could leave them out and substitute chopped bell peppers.
- Bacon – I feel this is a must for the salad and would leave it just as it is!
- Vinaigrette – This salad has a fresh taste with the Lemon Vinaigrette. Alternatively you could make it creamier using a Creamy Greek Yogurt Dressing, Ranch dressing or any of your favourite salad dressings.
What to Serve With This Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad
Like many summer salads, they go great with barbecues, to bring to potlucks, to have as a light lunch or to serve with dinner. I served this recently with Chicken Cutlet Sandwiches and it went down great. And they would go really well with the Grilled Barbecue Chicken Skewers or The Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Sliders to keep the kids happy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pasta salads with creamy dressings and cheese need to be refrigerated. However, if the pasta salad doesn’t contain a creamy dressing, cheese or any other dairy, you can keep it at room temperature for hours without having to refrigerate it.
The great things about pasta salads is they are best made in advance. Many you can make the day before serving and others, like this one, can easily be made up to eight hours before serving.
Most short pasta will work in pasta salads. And you can play around with different flavours of pastas as well. I like to use spiral pasta because the flavours stick really well to this shape pasta.
Bacon Pasta Salad
- 8 oz spiral pasta
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes quartered
- 5 oz mozzarella cheese cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup red onion finely diced (approximately 1/2 small red onion)
- 8 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- small bunch fresh chopped parsley (about 2 tablespoons)
- Cook pasta according to package, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and fresh chopped parsley. Whisk really well to combine.
- In a large salad bowl combine the pasta, grape tomatoes, chopped onion, crumbled bacon, cubed mozzarella and the vinaigrette. Stir really well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour before serving.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
*A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.