This Italian Bowtie Pasta Salad is a hearty side dish that's full of flavor and easy to make! It's a great make-ahead dish for any family gatherings or dinner.
A delicious pasta salad is always a good side dish idea.
They're so hearty and satisfying. And you can create a different kind of pasta salad to pair well with almost any main course.
This Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad is especially wonderful for summer entertaining. It's great to serve at summer parties, picnics, BBQs and more.
And it's fast enough to make on any busy weeknight, too!
🌟 Why this recipe works
I think you'll love this Italian bowtie pasta salad recipe! It's a great recipe that can be enjoyed as a light lunch or it's the perfect addition to any dinner or gathering.
- It's easy to make. Simply boil water to cook the pasta, then toss together all of the ingredients!
- You can easily customize the pasta salad to include your favorite meats and vegetables.
- This is a fast recipe. You can make this in just a few minutes -- the time it takes the pasta to cook.
- It's a great make-ahead recipe. Add all of the ingredients together in a large serving bowl up to one day in advance, and then simply toss with Italian dressing just before you are ready to serve.
🛒 Ingredient notes
- Farfalle pasta - Also known as bowtie pasta, this fun shaped pasta is perfect for pasta salads.
- Salami - Use thin or thickly sliced salami.
- Fresh veggies - You can use your favorite Italian vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, black olives, broccoli, and red onion. Be sure to finely dice the red onions, finely chop the broccoli, and slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Herbs - I love the fresh taste of basil in this salad. But you could also use a light sprinkling of oregano or thyme.
- Italian dressing - Use your favorite store-bought Italian dressing. Or feel free to make your own.
- Parmesan cheese - A light sprinkling of parmesan cheese adds a delicious cheesy, slightly nutty flavor to the pasta salad. You can substitute grated or shredded mozzarella cheese or feta cheese instead.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
The full ingredients list and cooking instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. But here's a photo step-by-step guide to help you make this delicious Italian bow tie pasta salad.
- Boil water in a large pot and cook farfalle pasta (bow tie pasta) according to package instructions.
- Rinse the cooked pasta under cold water over a collander. Drain.
- Add cooled and strained pasta to a large serving bowl.
4. Add the vegetables and meat to the bowl.
5. Pour over the Italian dressing.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
👩🏻🍳 Recipe tips and FAQs
- With the best pasta salad recipes, it's important not to overcook the pasta. You want to cook the pasta al dente -- "to the tooth," which means it's got a bit of a bite to it and is not soggy.
- Every Italian dressing is different. If you find the pasta salad needs a little more acidity because your dressing is lacking, simply add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice over the salad and toss to combine.
Yes! You can use diced ham, pepperoni, prosciutto, or even chorizo.
You can use diced bell peppers such as red bell pepper or green bell pepper, green olives instead of black olives, and zucchini or yellow squash.
Store undressed pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four or five days. Add the dressing just before serving. If the pasta salad is already dressed, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. After that, the pasta and vegetables may get soggy from the salad dressing.
🍽 Serving ideas
This easy recipe is a good pasta salad to make for your summer cookouts and summer picnics!
Serve it with:
- Filipino Style Pork BBQ
- Grilled Honey Chicken Skewers
- Instant Pot BBQ Ribs
- Meatballs with Romesco Sauce
And for dessert? Enjoy this easy Strawberry Spoon Cake
☀️ Hosting a summer bash? Be sure to check out our Ultimate Summer Party Guide with hosting tips and more recipes!
🍷 🥂 Wine pairings
This pasta salad is delicious with a crisp white wine or a light bodied red wine. Try serving it with an unoaked Chardonnay if you prefer white wine. For red wine, serve a Gamay or a Pinot Noir.
A chilled, refreshing Rosé wine would also pair deliciously with this Italian pasta salad.
🍳 Kitchen tools and equipment
Ready to make this recipe? Here are the kitchen tools and equipment you'll need:
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Bowtie Italian Pasta Salad
- 10 ounces pasta
- 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- 1 Tablespoon thinly sliced basil leaves about 3 large basil leaves, chiffonade
- ¾ cup Italian dressing
- grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, you can prep all the vegetables.
- Once the pasta is cooked, rinse and drain under cold water and into a strainer to cool down the pasta.
- To a large serving bowl, add the cooled and drained pasta.
- Then add all of the remaining ingredients and toss together until the pasta is well coated with the dressing.
- Sprinkle grated parmesan if desired and season with salt and pepper.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.