chipotle BLT pasta salad

Pasta is one of my favorite comfort foods. But in the warm summer months, I’m not craving a heaping helping of baked ziti; I want something lighter and cooler—something like a pasta salad. A few months ago I experimented with a chipotle mayo dip to go along with some sweet potato fries I had cooked. When it came time to make pasta salad for a family dinner last week (we all love it), I wanted a twist on the classic deli-style macaroni salad. The best way to kick it up a notch? Add a touch of spice.

I decided to perfect the chipotle mayo recipe and use it as the base for this pasta salad. I added some sharp shredded cheddar—it was just the flavor competition needed to calm the chipotle flavor without eliminating it. The BLT idea came a little afterward, when I thought the spiciness of the mayo might need to be toned down a bit with other flavors. Bacon, lettuce, tomato—well, those are always perfect for a salad, right?

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Ingredients:

1 box rotini pasta

2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped

1 c mayonnaise

1 c sour cream

8 strips bacon, crumbled

1/3 c chopped red onion

1 c shredded cheddar cheese

2 c chopped iceberg lettuce

2 tomatoes, chopped

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp lime juice

In a large bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, chipotle peppers, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lime juice. Stir and let sit overnight (this is so the flavors can come together – the recipe can be made and served the same day as well). Cool pasta according to package instructions. Cool cooked pasta under cool running water for one minute, then pour pasta into bowl with chipotle-mayo sauce. Stir in lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onion and bacon and serve immediately.

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