Light and Simple Bow Tie Pasta Salad
If you love tasty and refreshing pasta salads, you'll love this light and simple Bow Tie Pasta Salad. This pasta salad is full of veggies, tossed in a light and tasty dressing. Make this dish on busy weeknights, for potlucks or summer parties, all in 28 minutes or less!
If you love pasta and summer salads, be sure to also check out our Summer Asparagus Pasta and Avocado Ranch Chopped Salad.
👍 Why We Love this Bow Tie Pasta Salad
Kid-friendly- Our kids love this dish because of its mild yet tasty flavor. They also love the bow tie shape of the pasta!
Quick and simple- Like all of our recipes, this bow tie pasta salad can be made in 28 minutes or less.
Customizable- You can get pretty creative with the veggies you include in the meal, or choose to go with what's in season.
Versatile- Serve this dish alone, as a vegetarian meal, or with your favorite protein that you throw one the grill. We have it with hot dogs, but it also goes great with grilled salmon, burgers, grilled eggplant, kabobs, or BBQ chicken.
Great leftovers- This pasta salad is so yummy that we end up munching on it for days. A whole box of pasta goes a long way, so we almost always have leftovers. Most of the time it starts out as a side dish for dinner, and then we have it for lunch the next day.
Notes on ingredients:
- Bow tie pasta- We love the pop of color Tri Color pasta gives this dish, and we are big fans of bow ties (also referred to as Farfalle which is Italian for "butterflies"). Pinwheels or rotini work great as well.
- Grape tomatoes- Cut in half so they can absorb the flavor of the dressing.
- Cucumber- Cut however you'd like! We prefer to peel and seed cucumbers and cut them into half moons.
- Yellow peppers- We love their fruity and sweet taste. Note: Delishably gives a great overview of the flavors of different colored bell peppers.
- Olive oil & red wine vinegar- Feel free to add or subtract based on preference.
- Basil and dill- Super important for their awesome pop of flavor!
- Salt- Add or subtract to taste.
🔪 How to Make This Simple Bow Tie Pasta Salad
Step 1: Boil Bow Tie pasta until al dente (so it doesn't become mushy). Be sure to drain and rinse pasta with cold water.
Step 2: In a large bowl, toss veggies in olive oil and vinegar. Mix in seasoning.
Step 3: Stir in cold pasta until well mixed, and serve!
🥄 Kid Step! Help chop veggies! We're big fans of these Curious Chef kid-safe knives and Core Kitchen Grip Back Cutting Boards. And for cutting herbs, these Kitchen Shears are great for adults/older kids, and these duck snippers are great for lil' kiddos.
✔️ Don't overcook pasta. Boil pasta al dente to prevent it from getting mushy.
✔️ Cool pasta completely before mixing it with veggies and dressing.
✔️ Peel and seed cucumbers for a lighter and fresher taste to your vegetable.
✔️ Optional Marinade. If you have extra time, a 30 minute marinate will allow the bow ties and veggies to soak up the pasta salad's tasty flavors! If marinating for more than a few hours, keep in mind you may have to add more dressing.
✔️ Season to taste! You may want to add more vinegar or salt based on preference. We like to keep our salad on the milder side to appease our youngest eaters 🙂
⏲️ To Make Ahead
This bow tie pasta dish can definitely be made ahead of time. In fact, making this dish a few hours ahead of time will allow the flavors to marinate and blend. Note: If making ahead, consider increasing the amounts of dressing ingredients as the pasta may soak up the dressing.
- Add cheese. For an extra pop of flavor, consider adding feta, crumbled goat cheese or parmesan to this simple bow tie pasta salad.
- Mix in protein. Add some grilled chicken, shrimp, crispy bacon or pepperoni.
- Add spice. For an added kick, add some crushed red pepper flakes.
- Make gluten-free by using your favorite medium-sized gluten-free pasta.
Love summer side dishes? Don't miss our crowd-pleasing Watermelon Chicken Salad and Three Bean Salad!
🧊 Storing Leftovers
Our bow tie pasta salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Do not freeze pasta salad.
Need a food craft to keep kids busy while you cook? We've got you! Use extra dry bow tie pasta to make Bow Tie Pasta Butterflies! If your kids love this recipe's veggies, they can also make these adorable Pop-Up Paper Peppers or Paper Plate Tomatoes.
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Grapefruit, Avocado and Arugula Salad
Avocado Ranch Chopped Salad
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Light and Simple Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- ▢ 1 12 ounce box bow tie pasta
- ▢ 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- ▢ 1 large yellow pepper diced
- ▢ 1 cucumber cut however you like
- ▢ 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- ▢ 3 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ▢ 10-12 fresh basil leaves chopped or ripped apart
- ▢ 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- ▢ 1 teaspoon salt
- Cook pasta according to instructions on box and al dente. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
- Meanwhile, combine veggies into a large bowl. Add olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, dill and salt, and toss together.
- Stir in cold pasta until well mixed, and serve!
- ✔️ Don't overcook pasta. Boil pasta al dente to prevent it from getting mushy.
- ✔️ Cool pasta completely before mixing it with veggies and dressing.
- ✔️ Peel and seed cucumbers for a lighter and fresher taste to your vegetable.
- ✔️ Optional Marinade. If you have extra time, a 30 minute marinate will allow the bow ties and veggies to soak up the pasta salad's tasty flavors! If marinating for more than a few hours, keep in mind you may have to add more dressing.
- ✔️ Season to taste! You may want to add more vinegar or salt based on preference. We like to keep our salad on the milder side to appease our youngest eaters 🙂