This delicious Italian bow tie pasta salad is packed with flavor, a quick and easy side dish recipe that is great for backyard BBQs, family gatherings, potlucks, or a side with your favorite meal. Loaded with farfalle pasta, pepperoni, hard salami, bell pepper, red onion, and more, this is a hearty, light pasta salad you are sure to enjoy.
This delicious pasta salad is loaded with a variety of tasty flavors, textures, and colors – and let’s not forget the flavor. I love making this pasta salad because it’s so easy, feeds a crowd, and everyone loves it. This is one of those recipes that’s so versatile that you can literally make it for any occasion. I love to make this for dinner as a simple, hearty side. I also bring this to potlucks, backyard bashes, and holiday get-togethers. I’ll serve this year-round for almost any occasion. Scratch that, I’ll serve it for ANY occasion. Period.
Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad
This pasta salad combines the texture of perfectly cooked farfalle (bow tie) pasta with delicious Italian flavors like pepperoni, tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, mozzarella, and Italian dressing into a light side dish that’s absolutely exploding with flavor but that doesn’t take a lot of effort. It also won’t leave you feeling like you ate a boulder, which is great. It leaves you with enough room to enjoy everything else on the table! Oh, and I can’t forget how easy it is. You’ll be in and out of the kitchen in no time.
Why You’ll Love This Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- It’s a delicious side dish that’s packed with flavor.
- It’s a super easy recipe to make – always a bonus!
- And, it’s a fan-favorite for everything from parties to backyard barbecues, potlucks, and even a light lunch or dinner side.
Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad Tips and Variations
A recipe like this one is so easy there are almost no tips whatsoever. You would have to actively try to ruin this recipe to get any part of it wrong. It’s that easy. That being said, I have one very important tip. I also have some variations I think you’ll enjoy.
- Don’t overcook your pasta. It should be done to al dente and no more. Otherwise, the pasta will disintegrate while you mix it with the other ingredients.
- Try adding prosciutto to the recipe for a rich, salty addition of flavor.
- You can use any variety of short pasta like rotini, penne or shells.
- Try mixing a little parmesan into the pasta salad for more Italian flavor.
What to Serve with Cold Pasta Salad
This is an easy answer for everyone. Get ready.
Serve it with pretty much anything! Pasta salad is great with just about anything you can think of from chicken to beef. Just a few examples are:
- Grilled chicken
- Fried chicken
- BBQ ribs
- BBQ chicken
- Pulled pork
- Grilled pork chops
- Hot dogs
Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad FAQ
If you have questions about this recipe, then read on. The following FAQ answers the most commonly asked questions about this pasta salad.
Where did pasta salad originate?
Pasta salad sounds Italian, but it’s actually an American invention. The earliest mentions of macaroni salad actually date back to 1914. Fun fact, even Italian dressing isn’t actually Italian. It’s another American invention.
Are farfalle and bow tie pasta the same thing?
They sure are. “Farfalle” translates to butterfly in Italian, and if you look at the pasta, you can see the resemblance. North Americans call it bow tie pasta because it also resembles a bow tie.
How far ahead can pasta salad be made?
You can make it about a day in advance, but I don’t recommend even that. Pasta salad is best served fresh, as the pasta will continue to absorb the moisture in the dressing. The fresher the better.
How long will pasta salad keep in the fridge?
You can store it for up to 5 days. Keep in mind that this time frame is for safety, not necessarily flavor. Pasta salad is best when it’s eaten in the first day or two. After that, the pasta begins to get waterlogged and mushy.
How to Store Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad
Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezing is not recommended.
Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad Ingredients
It only takes a few simple ingredients to make this pasta salad. You’ll find them all easily at your local grocery store.
- Mini Farfalle pasta
- Sliced black olives
- Grape or cherry tomatoes
- Salami, sliced
- Green bell pepper
- Red onion
- Mozzarella cheese
- Zesty Italian dressing
How to Make Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad
When I say this recipe is easy, I’m not exaggerating. It only takes 2 steps to make it. It’s easy with a capital EZ.
Step 1: Make the Pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions for al dente. Then drain and rinse the pasta with cold water and add it to a large bowl.
Step 2: Add the Remaining Ingredients
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Try This Tasty Farfalle Pasta Salad Today
This Italian bow tie pasta is loaded with flavor, but it’s so easy to make. Now, I ask you: is there a better combination? No. The answer is no. Whip this up for a delicious side for family dinner or bring a double batch to your next party or potluck. It’s so easy, delicious, and versatile that there’s no reason not to make it. Give it a try, and you’ll find yourself making it again and again.
Some More Easy Pasta Salad Recipes that You’ll Love
Chicken Caesar Bowtie Pasta Salad – An incredible combination of pasta salad and Caesar salad in one delicious pasta salad.
BLT Avocado Pasta Salad – A great recipe that is great for a light lunch, a side dish, or a dish for a potluck or party.
And. try this BLT Pasta Salad from Great Grub, Delicious Treats. It has all the delicious flavors of a BLT, but made into a delicious cold pasta salad.
Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces mini Farfalle pasta
- 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
- ½ cup salami sliced
- ½ cup pepperonis sliced into smaller pieces
- 1 cup cucumber. diced
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese diced into small pieces
- 16 ounce bottle zesty Italian dressing
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse and add to a large bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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