Completed Pasta Salad In Glass Bowl With Serving Spoon and Next to Knife, Bowl, Parsley and Towel

Bow Tie Pasta Salad – An Easy Summer Side Dish

Bow tie pasta salad is a summertime classic. Not only is it super simple to throw together, but it can be made in advance for get-togethers and picnics. It’s also refreshing, flavorful and chocked full of juicy tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, spicy pepperonis, crunchy onions and a tangy, zesty Italian dressing.

Ever Harc is reader supported, therefore, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I may earn a small commission when you click on these affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.

Bow Tie Pasta Salad Is Fast And Easy To Make

One of the things I love most about bow tie pasta salad is that it takes very little time and effort to throw together. 

The preparation consists of a little bit of chopping and cooking the pasta. Other than that, it’s just a matter of putting all the ingredients in a bowl together and giving everything a good toss to combine. 

With very little prep work involved, it should come as no surprise that this pasta salad takes about 30 minutes to prepare. And about half of that is inactive time as the cooked pasta cools enough to add the remaining ingredients. 

All in all, this recipe is no fuss, no muss which is just how I like things – especially in the summertime when I’m more interested in being outside versus being stuck in a hot kitchen all day.

Overhead View of Pasta Salad In Bowl With Spoon Next To Large Bowl of Pasta Salad and Parsley

Bow Tie Pasta Salad Is The Perfect Make-Ahead Side Dish

While certain dishes should be served and enjoyed immediately once prepared, bow tie pasta salad is not one of those dishes. 

In fact, it gets even better as it sits and marinates for a few hours, or – better still – overnight. 

By resting the assembled pasta salad in the fridge, you’re allowing the pasta to absorb the Italian dressing. You’re also providing all of the ingredients with a friendly environment to get to know one another and mingle together. 

Bow tie pasta salad will keep in the fridge for up to three days so you can easily make this on your own time for a pot-luck or family get-together. 

Be Sure To Check Out Some Of My Other Side Dish Recipes

Close Up of Someone Holding a Spoon of Pasta Salad Over A Bowl With Large Bowl of Pasta Salad and Parsley

Bow Tie Pasta Salad Is A Crowd Pleaser

Pasta salad is a must at summer get-togethers and barbeques for several reasons: 

  1. It’s delicious. 
  2. It’s ridiculously fast and easy to make.
  3. It can be made up to 3 days in advance. 
  4. This recipe makes 12+ servings.

That’s right – this recipe makes a big batch of pasta salad in under 30 minutes so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd. 

Even better – all of the ingredients are incredibly affordable so this side dish is perfect for any budget. 

Tips and Tricks

  • If serving the bow tie pasta salad the next day, reserve about a quarter of the Italian dressing to add just before serving. Then give everything a quick toss to incorporate. 
  • To help keep your pasta salad cold at outdoor gatherings, try freezing the bowl or serving platter you intend to use. This will help keep the pasta salad cooler for longer. 
  • Another method for keeping cold food cold is to place the serving dish inside of a large dish with some ice. You can also try placing your serving dish on top of ice packs or cooler mats.

Ingredients For Bow Tie Pasta Salad

  • Bow tie or farfalle pasta – I grew up eating pasta salad with bow tie pasta, but you can substitute with penne, rotini or fusilli. Tri-color rotini makes an especially pretty pasta salad.
  • Cucumbers – I prefer to use English cucumbers with the skin on. I like the pop of color from the green skin. You can also use regular slicing cucumbers, but you may want to peel and deseed them before chopping. 
  • Cherry tomatoes – I generally use cherry tomatoes in my bow tie pasta salad, but I have been known to dice whole tomatoes in a pinch. 
  • Mini pepperonis – I love the salty, spicy flavor of the pepperonis in this pasta salad dish.
  • Red onion – You can substitute for another type of onion in this recipe, but I recommend sticking with red onions. They are mild and sweet enough to eat raw.
  • Shredded cheese – I typically use Colby Jack or Sharp Cheddar cheese in my bow tie pasta salad. But feel free to experiment with different cheeses. 
  • Zesty Italian dressing – I have made my own Italian dressing for this in the past, but I generally just pick up a bottle of Zesty Italian dressing. Makes my life easier, and my family likes it so it’s a win-win for me 🙂
Overhead Shot of Chopped Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onion Next to Shredded Cheese, Knife and Pasta

Method

Cook pasta according to the package directions in a pot of heavily salted, boiling water. 

While the pasta cooks, dice the red onion, chop the cucumber and cut the cherry tomatoes. Set aside. 

Once the pasta is al dente, drain and transfer to a large bowl.

While the pasta is still hot, add the Italian dressing. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to cool. 

Once cooled, add the rest of the ingredients and toss together.

Allow to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight for best results. 

Serve and enjoy! 

Overhead View of Completed Pasta Salad In Glass Bowl Next To Small Bowl of Pasta Salad, Tea Towel

Possible Variations For Bow Tie Pasta Salad

These are the basic, tried-and-true ingredients that I most generally use. However, like so many of my favorite recipes, this bow tie pasta salad is customizable. 

I’ve made this with different veggies based on what I had in my fridge such as peppers, broccoli, corn and even roasted red peppers. Sun-dried tomatoes make for a nice addition as well. 

Up until very recently, I used to make this bow tie pasta salad with kalamata olives as well. My oldest daughter and I love olives, but my husband and the baby of the family – ehh, not so much. So now I keep the peace by leaving them out. If you’re an olive lover, I encourage you to add them in there!

Overhead View of Pasta Salad In Bowl With Spoon Next To Large Bowl of Pasta Salad and Parsley

Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Bow tie pasta salad is a summertime classic. Not only is it super simple to throw together, but it can be made in advance for get-togethers and picnics. It’s also refreshing, flavorful and chocked full of juicy tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, spicy pepperonis, crunchy onions and a tangy, zesty Italian dressing.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cool Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 221 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb uncooked bow tie pasta
  • 16 fl oz zesty italian dressing
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 5 oz mini pepperonis
  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to the package directions in a pot of heavily salted, boiling water.
  • While the pasta cooks, dice the red onion, chop the cucumber and cut the cherry tomatoes. Set aside.
  • Once the pasta is al dente, drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • While the pasta is still hot, add the Italian dressing. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to cool.
  • Once cooled, add the rest of the ingredients and toss together.
  • Allow to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight for best results.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Keyword Bow Tie Pasta Salad, Pasta Salad, Easy Side Dish, Summer Side Dish

If you enjoyed this pasta salad recipe, be sure to pin, save and share so you have it handy for your next summer get-together.

Enjoy!

Like this post? Share it!

Are You On the List?

SUBSCRIBE FOR EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO THE EVER HARC LIBRARY OF FREE RESOURCES!

STAY CONNECTED AND FOLLOW ME

5 1 vote
Article Rating
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
W. Santiago | Literal Med

I love to have easy-to-prepare recipes at hand for those days when you can’t spend much time in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing this one!

Denise Gardiner
25 days ago

5 stars
What a great recipe for a Bow Tie Pasta Salad! I am always looking for new easy summer salad recipes. Thank you for sharing!

Lori Wallace-Roberts
25 days ago

Looks amazing! Always on the hunt for new pasta recipes!

marvette
25 days ago

This looks absolutely delish. I’m a pasta salad foodie.. I will try this at an upcoming get-together.

Nury
25 days ago

This looks so good and easy! I’m not a big fan of cheese, so I’ll skip that little part. Do you have a recipe for your homemade Italian dressing?

Giangi
24 days ago

5 stars
I am so in love with this pasta salad. Refreshing and so yummy.
Thank you for sharing

Christine
24 days ago

5 stars
I love pasta, and I can’t wait to try this recipe this summer. You got me at “super simple to throw together.” Thanks, Heather.