This pasta salad packs big punches of flavor: creamy, savory blue cheese, salty bacon, plus broccoli florets and green onion.
- 1 pound dried pasta (any medium-sized shape, such as rotini, fusilli or bow ties)
- 2 cups small broccoli florets
- 4 green onions
- 12 ounces bacon
- 10 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup ranch or blue cheese salad dressing
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (see note 1)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Prep the ingredients:
- Set a large pot of water to boil on the stove. While the pasta water is coming to a boil (and while the pasta is cooking), continue with the remaining steps:
- Cook the bacon using your favorite method (pan-frying, baking, etc.). Drain the bacon on paper towels, then remove the bacon to a cutting board. When the bacon is cool enough to handle, chop it into small pieces. Set aside.
- Chop the broccoli into small florets, set aside.
- Chop the green onion into thin slices, set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients with a fork until smooth, set aside.
Cook the pasta and broccoli:
- Whenever the pasta water begins to boil, add a large pinch of salt. Then, add the pasta and stir. Cook according to the package directions. During the last 1 minute of the cook time, add in the broccoli florets.
- Drain the pasta and broccoli into a colander and rinse it well under cold water. Shake off any excess moisture from the pasta and broccoli.
Mix the pasta salad:
- Add the drained, rinsed pasta and broccoli to a large bowl.
- Add the bacon, green onion, and dressing to the bowl, reserving a small amount of the bacon and green onion to garnish the top. Stir to combine.
- Add in the blue cheese crumbles, reserving about 1/4 cup to garnish the top. Stir gently to combine. Taste the salad and sprinkle in more kosher salt and/or black pepper if needed.
- Garnish the top with the reserved bacon, green onion and blue cheese. Serve immediately, or cover and store in the fridge until fully chilled (about 1 - 2 hours), then serve.
To my tastes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt in the dressing was the perfect amount for a well-seasoned, but not overly salty pasta salad. However, because seasoning is subjective, and because the pasta salad includes blue cheese and bacon which are also salty, you may wish to start with less salt in the dressing than called for. Then, taste the salad after mixing and sprinkle more in if needed.
If the pasta is ready before all of the remaining steps are finished, drain the pasta, rinse it well under cold water, and set it aside until ready to use.
This salad tastes the best when eaten the day it is made. However, any leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, and will last for 3 - 4 days.
Keywords: blue cheese pasta salad, pasta salad, bacon pasta salad