Serve alongside Crescent Roll Hot Dogs, Turkey Burger Sliders, or any of these adorable Sliders for Kids as a crowd-pleasing summer salad!
If you love pasta and summer salads, be sure to also check out our Summer Asparagus Pasta and One Pot Lemony Garlic Pasta recipes!
👍 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 easy 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.
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.
💭 Expert Tips & Tricks
✔️ 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 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 pasta salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Do not freeze pasta salad.
🧶 Crafts for this Recipe
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.
🍽 More Summer Salads
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🥣 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 ½ teaspoon fresh dill chopped, or ½ 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!
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. While we are not certified nutritionists, we work with a WordPress-integrated nutrition API to calculate our recipes' ingredient values.
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I love how easy this salad is to make but it's bursting with flavor from all of the fresh herbs! It's the perfect recipe to use all the herbs in my garden!
I love how simple this pasta salad is and that you can customize it with whatever produce and cheese you have on hand. I've made it a couple of times now. Most recently I added feta and kalamata olives; it turned out so good.
Thanks, Jessica! I love the idea of adding olives and feta!
Light pasta salads like this are a go-to during the hot humid months here. I love keeping dinners light and easy. This will be on repeat I'm sure!
Agreed, Tammy! Light and easy is what we are all about 🙂 -Marcie
This pasta salad was really tasty and so easy to make. I had some leftover roasted salmon so I threw it in with a bunch of veggies and everyone really enjoyed it!
I love the idea of adding salmon! Thanks for sharing, Veronika! -Marcie
Patricia @ Grab a Plate
You said the magic words for this summer staple: light and simple! Love that you've added cucumber. Don't think I've ever thought to add it to pasta salad. Super-refreshing & love the crunch!
Thanks, Patricia! We love the added crunch that cucumber brings too 🙂
I love pasta salads. This one was a delight, my co-workers were raving about it for our team spread.
I'm so happy to hear that. Thanks for sharing, Sean! -Marcie
This bow tie pasta salad looks so delicious and colorful. My daughter also loved it. The mild flavor was a plus point for the kiddo.
That's awesome to hear! My kids are big fans too. Thanks for sharing! -Marcie
One of the rare salads my kids liked. Probably due to bow-tie pasta, lol. Thank you for the great idea.
I know what you mean. There seems to be something special about bow ties! Always a hit with kids. Thanks for your comment! -Marcie
Been craving pasta salad so can’t wait to mix this up! Love the idea of adding fresh dill… sounds amazing.
Thanks, Heather! Let us know how it goes! -Marcie
Loreto and Nicoletta
We love pasta salads espexially in summer. Great use of tge bow tie pasta and those colirs just bring you right in for a bite! I am so craving this now!😋🥰
Saved as a favorite, I love your blog!
Thanks so much!