This recipe came about one night when I realized I had nothing planned for dinner and wondered what I could scrounge up from the contents of the fridge. It came out really good and I’ve since made it a few times, most recently for dinner last night and a second batch I’ll be delivering to a friend today who just had her third baby girl.

There’s no fancy food styling going on here. These un-staged pictures are straight from the phone while I was cooking last night, because halfway through I realized, hey, this is a good recipe to share! So, advance apologizes for any bad lighting, appearance of Owen’s bib, a newborn pacifier in the drainboard, etc. Don’t let the photos fool you…this is yummy!

The basis of this pasta salad is a yogurt dressing rather than your standard oil base. Because of that, I wouldn’t recommend bringing it to an outdoor event where it would be in the sun or heat for an extended period, unless you put it on top of an ice bath. There’s no “real” recipe for this. I kind of just eyeball amounts of things, but I’ll do my best to give you an estimate of how much I use for various ingredients.

Start by making your dressing. I chopped up an handful of Italian parsley and mixed it with a container and a half of plain yogurt. Add in 1-2 squirts of dijon mustard, a healthy sprinkling of salt and pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.

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While this is going on, cook up a pound of bowtie pasta and start your bacon. Line a baking sheet really well with foil, place 5-6 strips on bacon on it and place in oven. Turn it to 400 degrees and give it about 10-15 minutes to get good and crispy. You’ll know when you start to smell that delicious bacon smell. Once you do, check on it periodically and take it out when it’s crispy, but not burnt. Drain on paper towels.

I pretty much make bacon exclusively in the oven; it frees up your burners, cooks evenly, doesn’t really stink up the house and as long as you’ve used enough foil, clean up is as easy as throwing it away.

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Dice up some tomatoes and avocados. Add some corn. You can really use whatever veggies you like here, but these taste yummy together. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.

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Drain your cooked pasta. If you’re serving this right away you can run it under cold water to cool it down quickly, or if you have time just let it cool on its own. Throw everything in the bowl together and squeeze half a lime over the top. Crumble in your bacon. Mix.

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If you can, let the pasta salad sit for a bit so the flavors can really marinate, but it’s not totally necessary. This makes a fair amount — usually enough for the three of us to eat dinner, then lunch tomorrow.

Below is the best breakdown of ingredients I could do, but really, make it to your taste. Enjoy!

Pasta Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:

– 1 pound of bowtie pasta

– about 8-9 oz. plain yogurt (I used 1.5 individual serving cups)

– small handful (about 1/4 cup) Italian parsley, chopped

– 1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard, to taste

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon pepper

– about a tablespoon of garlic powder

– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

– 2 tomatoes, diced

– 2 avocados, diced

– 3/4 cup corn

– 1/2 lime

– 5-6 slices of bacon

Directions:

– Cook and drain pasta. Cook bacon on foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until crispy. Drain on paper towel.

– Mix yogurt, parsley, mustard and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.

– Chop tomatoes and avocados and place in large bowl. Add corn. Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta, dressing, lime and crumbled bacon. Mix.

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