GF Friday: BLT quinoa pasta salad is perfect for picnics

Feb 27, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. ET

Seriously, what screams spring and summer more than a tasty pasta salad? Pasta salad is an epic picnic dish that never gets old and is usually always easy to prepare. With spring right around the corner, you'll want to keep this recipe handy.

I love BLT sandwiches and decided to take those flavors and transform them not only into a pasta salad but into a healthy, gluten-free version. Rather than plain pasta, I opted for quinoa pasta, which adds protein and isn't as processed as other pastas out there. I crisped up some all-natural, nitrate-free bacon, chopped some fresh tomatoes and made a rich and creamy dairy-free mayonnaise-based dressing. Top off this yummy salad with fresh chopped parsley, and serve it up in crisp lettuce leaves for a fun way to enjoy this dish.

Gluten-free BLT quinoa pasta salad recipe

Quinoa pasta is combined with fresh diced tomatoes, crunchy all-natural bacon and fresh parsley, then tossed in a creamy dairy-free mayo-based dressing.

Serves 8

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes


For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, dairy-free mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pasta salad

  • 1 (12 ounce) box quinoa pasta or other gluten-free pasta
  • 8 strips all-natural, nitrate-free bacon (I used Applegate Farms brand)
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Fresh lettuce leaves, for serving
  • Extra parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing, and mix well. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and place the bacon on the pan in a single layer.
  4. Bake the bacon for about 15 minutes or until it is nice and crisp. Remove the bacon from the oven, and transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels.
  5. Add the box of quinoa pasta to the boiling water, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the pasta as directed on the package or until it is nice and tender.
  6. Drain the pasta, and immediately rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  7. Once the bacon has cooled, crumble it with your hands into pieces.
  8. To a bowl, add the cooked pasta, crumbled bacon and diced tomatoes. Pour the dressing over top, and toss with 2 large spoons until the dressing is combined with the other ingredients.
  9. Spoon the pasta salad into fresh lettuce leaves, and garnish with extra parsley.
  10. Best served chilled.

For tons of great recipes, like our I <3 Comfort Food<></3>> page on Facebook.

More gluten-free recipe ideas

Gluten-free zucchini pizza crust
Gluten-free stromboli
Gluten-free apple cider muffins