If you want pasta salad during the spring and summer months when cookouts and picnics are popular, it’s worth taking a look at what Aldi offers. They sell a standard tub of macaroni salad that reminds me — for better or worse — of what my university cafeteria often served. A few years ago, Aldi also introduced some excellent Caprese pasta salad that is a favorite of mine when I want something to go with lunch or a side dish to take to a barbecue. Some of my family members also like to pack pasta salad for easy school or work lunches. This spring, the German grocer debuted another seasonal pasta salad in smoked mozzarella or street corn varieties.
In addition, Aldi is selling yet more unique pasta salads as limited-edition Aldi Finds. This time, they have a ranch BLT pasta salad and a taco pasta salad. My entire family is a bunch of suckers for BLT sandwiches and for anything taco-related, so I didn’t think twice before dropping these in my shopping cart on a recent Aldi run.
Little Salad Bar Ranch BLT Penne Pasta Salad and Little Salad Bar Southwest Taco Rotini Pasta Salad cost $4.99 for a 16-ounce container at the time of publication. That’s pricier than the large 32-ounce tubs of seasonal standard macaroni salad Aldi currently sells for $3.99 in my local stores, but you’re paying more for a specialty pasta salad. (My cashier looked intrigued when she spotted these, but she admitted she wasn’t a fan of the high price for the small containers.)
Both of these pasta salads are Aldi Finds, so they’re only in stores for a short time. Each store gets one shipment, and after that sells out, they’re gone unless Aldi decides to bring them back later. Aldi doesn’t offer online ordering for products that aren’t in stock at your local store.
The Ranch BLT pasta salad container states it contains smoked applewood bacon and ranch dressing blended with garden vegetables. The Southwest Taco pasta salad container states it contains “Southwestern flavors” with tomatoes, kidney beans, and sweet corn.
When these are in stock, you’ll find them in the refrigerated aisle, and of course you’ll need to keep them refrigerated.
The ingredients lists for these are in fairly tiny print, but if you’re looking out for allergens, both of these contain wheat. The Ranch BLT pasta salad also contains eggs and milk.
The Ranch BLT contains three half-cup servings, while the Southwest Taco contains five half-cup servings. Both containers are the same size, so I’m not sure about the difference in the number of servings per container.
Both of these have lengthy ingredients lists, and they’re loaded with preservatives and processed ingredients. No one turns to pasta salad when they want to eat healthy, but these are not great for you and are definitely a sometime-food and not something to eat all the time. If you want pasta salad with fewer ingredients and a lot more recognizable ingredients, you might want to try the Little Salad Bar Caprese Pasta Salad and Little Salad Bar Fresh & Zesty Rotini Pasta Salad at Aldi.
Nutritionally, the Ranch BLT pasta salad has a lot of calories, fat, and sodium. It also contains MSG. A half-cup of the Ranch BLT pasta salad has 310 calories, 17 grams of total fat (22% DV), 3 grams of saturated fat (15% DV), 840 mg of sodium (37% DV), 17 grams of total carbohydrates (6% DV), 3 grams of total sugars, and 1 gram of added sugars (2% DV).
The Southwest Taco pasta salad is not quite as bad in terms of the nutrition panel. With that being said, this flavor contains high fructose corn syrup. A half-cup of the Southwest Taco pasta salad has 150 calories, 8 grams of total fat (13% DV), 1 gram of saturated fat (5% DV), 457 mg of sodium 20% DV), 17 grams of total carbohydrates (6% DV), 4 grams of total sugars, and no added sugars.
In terms of taste, these are fine.
The Ranch BLT is on the salty side, and it has a lot of sauce. I don’t think it has a lot of bacon flavor and it doesn’t scream BLT to me, but it’s all right on its own merits. The bacon pieces seemed to be either very small or larger with a lot of fatty bits. This flavor also contains ingredients such as bell peppers and cucumbers that I don’t associate with a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
The Southwest Taco variety tastes good, with a distinct taco salad type of flavor. It has chunks of tomato along with corn and beans that add some nice texture variation. This might be my favorite of the two pasta salads here.
Little Salad Bar Ranch BLT Penne Pasta Salad and Little Salad Bar Southwest Taco Rotini Pasta Salad are limited-time specials at Aldi. The Ranch BLT pasta salad features bacon, ranch dressing, and a variety of veggies. It doesn’t exactly shout BLT, but it’s all right, if a bit overly salty and saucy. The Southwest Taco pasta salad tastes like a taco salad and has veggies and beans mixed in, and we liked this one. Neither of these pasta salads are healthy, and they are on the pricier side, but if you need a side dish for a summer cookout, they’ll fit the bill.