Those who have visited the recipe file on my website for a while can clearly tell I adore trifles of all kinds be it sweet or savory. That’s how I would describe this stunning BLT penne pasta layer salad. It’s a savory trifle that makes an exquisite edible centerpiece and the vibrant colors make it a show-stopping dish. Layers of penne pasta, lettuce, bacon, green onions and juicy tomatoes all served-up with a homemade dressing that takes BLT’s to a whole new level!
When I share a salad like this one it quickly becomes a fan favorite. It takes all of the familiar flavors we love and presents it in a different way. Due to the fact the penne is dressed separately from the lettuce, it can be made the night before an event if needed and shouldn’t become soggy. If desired, it’s a great idea to make extra dressing to serve on the side at the time of serving. This will allow those who prefer more dressing to add it to their taste.
Two additional salad recipes that are super popular with my readers are my Layered Southwestern Cornbread Salad and Chicken Bacon Ranch Layer Salad. When making this BLT penne pasta layer salad, make sure you checkout my tips in the Cook’s notes. In it, I’ll give you ideas on how to take a couple of shortcuts, if you’re in a hurry. Serve this dish in a large trifle or glass bowl to show off the lovely colors of the ingredients. It’s a feast for the eyes and the senses.
BLT Penne Pasta Layer Salad
- 2 cup real mayonnaise
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped chives
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb mezze penne pasta cooked to al dente
- 7 cups chopped green leaf lettuce divided
- 6 medium vine-ripened or Roma tomatoes tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 1 cup sliced green onion
- 1 1/2 lb thick cut bacon cooked and chopped
- Garlic-Parmesan Croutons:
- 4 cup cubed French bread 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 Tbsp butter melted
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsely
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Cherry tomatoes halved for garnish optional
- in advance whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a medium size mixing bowl, cover and chill. (Mayonnaise, buttermilk, chives, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, garlic salt, lemon pepper and black pepper.)
- Cook the pasta in salted water per the package directions until al dente. Drain well. Dress with 1/2 of the prepared dressing, set aside to cool slightly while preparing the remaining ingredients.
- To assemble, begin with 2 cups lettuce, 1/3 dressed penne pasta, 1/3 tomatoes, 1/3 green onion,1/3 bacon and 1/3 of the remaining dressing.
- Repeat this process until all ingredients have been used. (Reserve 1 cup of lettuce, 2 Tbsp each of green onion and bacon to sprinkle on top)
- Chill overnight or until serving. Top with homemade croutons just before serving. Garnish with halved cherry tomatoes, if desired.
- To make the Garlic Parmesan croutons: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium size mixing bowl mix together the melted butter, parsley, garlic salt, garlic powder, onion powder. Toss the bread cubes in the seasoned butter. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 8 minutes then toss with 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until golden.
- Toss with the remaining 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese and set aside to cool.
If desired, you may make extra dressing to serve on the side, to allow your guests to drizzle more on top to their taste, when serving
Shortcuts: You may dress this salad with the same amount of prepared buttermilk ranch and use premade Texas toast croutons, if desired.