Spinach Bacon Pasta Salad

5 from 1 vote

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Summer is right around the corner, and this Spinach Bacon Pasta Salad is the freshest side dish for all the picnics, barbecues, and pool parties your heart desires.

spinach bacon pasta salad in a big bowl with wooden spoons sitting on a blue and white towel.
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Hey, summer, we are so ready for you! Pasta salads remind me of long, sunny days outside and dinner on the deck. They have everything you need; they’re almost like casserole’s cooler, fresher, more summery cousin! This one covers all its bases. Protein? Check. Vegetables? Check. Carbs? Check. Tons of flavor? Check!

Plus, it’s an absolutely beautiful dish. It’s great to bring to get-togethers with family and friends for a colorful side that everyone will love, and it couldn’t be any easier to toss together—literally. If you want to make it ahead of an event, store the cooked pasta, mixed dressing, and veggies separately and throw ’em in a bowl with a quick toss before serving.

pasta salad with different colored vegetables in a big bowl with wooden spoons sitting on a blue and white towel.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • An easy make-ahead dish to take to any gathering, and it’s an easy dish to transport with a tight-fitting lid. Super easy and no mess!
  • Since this recipe has a meal-in-one variety of pasta, bacon, and vegetables, it also makes a great lunch for home, work, or even at the park.
  • This pasta salad is so quick to pull together—basically the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, and you can have this dish prepared!

Recipe Ingredients

  • Pasta – I used fun cavatappi here, but you can use any pasta cooked according to the package directions.
  • Bacon
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Mayonnaise
  • Garlic – fresh garlic tastes best, but use garlic powder in a pinch!
  • Tomatoes – fresh tomatoes make this a go-to summer salad
  • Onion – any color or type of onion will work—red or yellow, sweet onion, or even green onions
  • Spinach – this must be fresh spinach but can be either baby spinach or regular spinach that’s cut up.

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Spinach Bacon Pasta Salad

  1. Cook the pasta, drain, and rinse.
  2. Cook the bacon in another pan while the pasta cooks.
  3. While the pasta and bacon are cooking, make the dressing.
  4. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve warm or chill before serving.
pasta salad with different colored vegetables in a big bowl with wooden spoons sitting on a blue and white towel.

Recipe FAQs

How long does Spinach Bacon Pasta Salad last?

Once it’s constructed, you’ll want to eat this pasta salad within 24 hours to avoid the spinach wilting or tomatoes making everything soggy. If the cooked pasta, dressing, and chopped vegetables are separately in the fridge, it will keep for 3 to 4 days.

Do you rinse pasta after cooking it for a cold pasta salad?

Yep! In a lot of hot pastas, you never rinse the noodles to save the good starchy film on the pasta, which helps pasta sauce cling to it. But for cold pasta salad, you have to rinse the noodles to stop them from cooking further and to keep the pasta loose, not sticky and clumpy.

Can you heat up cold pasta salad?

You probably could… but I wouldn’t. The dressing is basically a salad dressing, and it doesn’t really translate to warm foods. Plus, the veggies would steam and wilt, taking away from the nice, fresh crunch they add to cold pasta salad.

pasta salad with different colored vegetables in a big bowl with wooden spoons sitting on a blue and white towel.
  • If you’re feeding a crowd, double or even triple this recipe!
  • This salad is the perfect summer lunch or dinner side dish when spinach and tomatoes are fresh from the garden.
  • Two other pasta dishes my family loves in the summer are zucchini pasta and pesto pasta salad, both of which have ingredients you can pull straight from the garden.
  • Serve this easy salad with quick grilled chicken skewers or grilled salmon for a fast summer meal.

What goes with pasta salad?

If you’re looking for main dishes to go well with Spinach Bacon Pasta Salad, there are tons of options, including burgers, grilled chicken or ribs (or your favorite grilled meat), hot dogs, lobster rolls, and steak skewers.

More Easy Salad Recipes to Consider

Summer is right around the corner, and this Spinach Bacon Pasta Salad is the freshest side dish for all the picnics, barbecues, and pool parties your heart desires.
5 from 1 vote

Spinach Bacon Pasta Salad

Summer is right around the corner, and this Spinach Bacon Pasta Salad is the freshest side for all the picnics, barbecues, and pool parties your heart desires.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 as a side

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces pasta
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mild onion, like a red or sweet onion, or to taste
  • 4 cups baby spinach
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Instructions 

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Slice the bacon into small pieces, and then place in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, until very crisp.
  • While the pasta and bacon are cooking, make the dressing for the pasta salad.
  • In a small bowl, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, mayo, garlic, salt, and ground black pepper.
  • Whisk to combine well.
  • In a large bowl, add the pasta, and toss with the dressing. Add the cooked bacon, tomatoes, onion, and baby spinach, and toss to combine.
  • Adjust the salt and pepper to taste, and serve right away.

Notes

  • The salad can be chilled before serving if you’d like.
  • If you’d like to make this ahead, cook the pasta, make the dressing, and prep the other ingredients, but keep these separate. Toss everything together right before serving.
  • Don’t skip rinsing the pasta!  This is a cold pasta salad, so you must rinse the noodles to stop them from cooking further and keep the pasta loose, not sticky and clumpy.
  • Use any pasta in your pantry and cook it according to the package directions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 of 12 side servings, Calories: 253kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 577mg, Potassium: 261mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 992IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. Kaysha says:

    5 stars
    This was so yummy! A fun summer flavor!

  2. Jo Thrasher • Jo Eats says:

    Melissa, this looks so tasty! My husband loves all things spinach AND bacon so this is a must try for us!

    1. Melissa says:

      Hope you enjoy it! Let me know how it goes.