Have you ever been to a steak house and started your meal with spinach salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette? Man, I love a salad with bacon vinaigrette.
Spinach really shines when coated in bacon grease, doesn’t it? It almost makes you forget you’re eating something green that’s good for you.
It got me thinking that spinach isn’t the only vegetable that could use a bath in bacon.
I think warm bacon dressing is ready to move into the spotlight with tomatoes. The method is similar to making a regular vinaigrette, but instead of streaming in the olive oil or other oil you would normally use in a recipe, we save the bacon grease from the skillet to use instead.
Yes, bacon grease! Not only is it delicious, the warm oil incorporates seamlessly into a vinaigrette.
If you have a garden over flowing with tomatoes, you can pull together this easy pasta salad with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. I have basil and parsley growing next to my tomatoes, so I grabbed a handful of each, but whatever herbs you would like to include is fine.
The same rule applies with the pasta shape – any kind of pasta in your pantry will work fine in this recipe. In a pinch, canned tomatoes will work great, too.
Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad Ingredients
Bacon – The bacon will be chopped and included in the salad and also the grease adds the fat to the vinaigrette
Pasta – Here I used orzo, because it makes a great salad, but any pasta you prefer is fine
Red wine vinegar – Combined with the bacon grease, it makes the yummies vinaigrette
Sugar – A touch of sugar balances the flavors of the vinaigrette
Salt – Salt added to pasta water and vinaigrette results in a perfectly seasoned dish
Pepper – Basic black pepper does the heavy lifting here
Dijon mustard – Because bacon and mustard are so perfect together, add dijon to the vinaigrette
Tomatoes – A big beefsteak tomato, a few romas or a can of diced tomatoes in a pinch
Fresh herbs – I made my pasta salad with basil and parsley, but use whatever you prefer or have on hand
How to Make Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad
- To make this pasta salad as easy as possible, get the bacon going first.
- While the bacon cooks, bring the water to a boil to cook the pasta.
- Chop the vegetables and herbs, and add them to the serving bowl.
- Drain off the cooked bacon, reserving enough grease for the vinaigrette. Chop the cooked bacon to use in the salad.
- Next, make the vinaigrette by combining the leftover bacon grease, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and mustard and whisk until smooth.
- Strain the pasta, then immediately toss with the vinaigrette, herbs and tomatoes.
- Serve warm and enjoy seconds!
Preparation Tip: Since the pasta needs to be tossed in the vinaigrette while both are still warm so that the pasta absorbs the dressing, cooking everything at the same time is ideal. That way, all it takes is a quick drain of the pasta before combining everything.
What to Serve with Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad
This pasta salad makes a great side dish – or try an easy lunch from the leftovers! Here are a few recipes to pair with it:
- Braised beef shanks
- Red Lobster biscuits
- BBQ burgers
- The best turkey burger recipe
- Grilled BBQ chicken split breasts
- Instant Pot ribs with maple glaze
Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad Recipe
- 4 Bacon
- 1 Orzo Pasta
- 0.5 Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Sugar
- 0.25 Salt
- 0.25 Black Pepper
- 1 Dijon Mustard
- 1 Beefsteak Tomato Diced
- Fresh Basil Leaves Torn
- Fresh Parsley Chopped
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon strips over medium-low heat until firm and chewy—they will crisp as they cool. Drain the grease from the skillet, but reserve 3 tablespoons of the grease for the dressing.
- In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. When boiling, add a small handful of salt and the orzo pasta. Cook according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: combine the warm bacon grease with the red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard. Whisk very well to combine.
- When the pasta is done cooking, immediately toss it in the warm dressing and stir to combine. Add the diced tomato and herbs, and serve.