Pasta Salad with Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil and Bacon

This pasta salad is perhaps one of the best I have ever had! It’s super simple and easy to make and can easily be made on a hot summer afternoon for dinner that night or lunch the next day. It’s also the perfect food to take on a picnic in the park, by the lake, or in the mountains! Make it, pack it, and enjoy wherever you choose!

Pasta salad flat lay. Niiiiice!!

Your kids will love this because the bacon tricks them into eating it! I know my brothers could go nuts over it. It’s a stellar recipe for sure! I can see it right now: “why have boring pasta salad when you can have BACON pasta salad!?” Bacon truly makes everything better, and makes this pasta salad the star of the show.

Let’s get into the recipe, shall we?


  • 1 box of multi-colored rotini 
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar (or more for stronger flavor)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp dried parsley (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8-10 slices of crispy cooked bacon (chopped)
  • Sliced salami or ham (optional)
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese cubes
    • Optional: 3 mozzarella cheese sticks cut into small bites
      • This gives the pasta more color and a different shape if you want to dress it up!
  • 1 cup chopped baby carrots


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Promptly drain, but DO NOT RINSE WITH COOL WATER. Immediately transfer pasta into a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Disperse the balsamic vinegar and wait approximately two minutes for the pasta to absorb. **This is the secret to getting the pasta to hold in the flavor!
  3.  Afterwards, add olive oil and additional balsamic vinegar (to taste)
  4. Add italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and gently stir.
  5. Add remaining ingredients.
  6. Garnish with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Pasta Salad Secrets we’ve learned along the way:

  • If this clean dressing is too radical of a change, you can try adding in a splash of your previous store bought Italian dressing to make it taste like “home”. This can make the transition to cleaner eating smoother for your little ones.
  • You can adjust the recipe to fit your family’s preferences as needed. For example, gluten free pasta is a good substitute for gluten sensitive people.
  • The more bacon, the better. Seriously, pour it on. Unless you will be serving vegetarians then maybe not. You can always try to trick them, though!
  • Costco has some of the best deals on balsamic vinegar!
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

As you may have noticed, when we made this pasta salad, we added chicken as well. This pasta salad is definitely light enough to be on it’s own; for this reason, we didn’t add salami or ham to the recipe, since we were having chicken with it. If having it as the main dish, you may want to add more meat.

Double flat-lay. Best had with friends or family!

If you mouth is watering and you want to try the chicken recipe detailed in these photos, head on over and find that right here!

Hopefully you’re on your way to making your pasta salad and enjoying it with your family. It’s an easy party food, too! Keep this in mind the next time you have a large gathering at your house. You’ll blow them away with this pasta dish.

Until next time!

A perfect dinner. Bring the Sauvignon blanc, please!

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