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Italian Bowtie Pasta Salad Recipe

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This Italian bowtie pasta salad recipe is a great make ahead side dish, and loaded with tomatoes, bell peppers, greens, and a bright fresh dressing. My 5-minute recipe for Italian Dressing is below – but this pasta salad is great with bottled salad dressing too if you’re short on time.

This hearty pasta salad is packed with vegetables and great for an appetizer, a light lunch, or a side dish with anything off the grill.

Want more tasty pasta salads? Try our California spaghetti salad, creamy cottage cheese pasta salad, or our macaroni salad with Greek yogurt!

italian farfalle pasta salad recipe healthy bowtie noodle salad with Italian vinaigrette dressing.

There’s nothing better than a big batch of homemade bowtie pasta salad for a cookout and BBQ! Whether I’m hosting or heading over to a friend’s place, I always try to make something that I can cook ahead of time. That way I get myself ready day-of, and grab the dish on my way out the door.

This pasta salad takes about 20 minutes to make, and is so much more impressive than a store-bought salad. You can make your own dressing if you’re fancy (it just takes 5 minutes), or use a bottled Italian dressing. Either way, this is a simple fresh pasta salad everyone will want to dig into.

This Italian Bowtie Pasta Salad Recipe Is

  • Bright
  • Crunchy
  • Tangy
  • Vibrant
  • Loaded with Flavor
  • Colorful
  • Vegetarian, and gluten free by using GF pasta
farfalle pasta salad recipe bowtie pasta salad with italian dressing vegetarian with a vegan option.

A Great Make-Ahead Recipe

This easy bowtie noodle salad recipe is fantastic to make ahead of time for a party, potluck, or gathering. Making this recipe in advance allows you to skip any cooking or prep on the day-of.

If I make this ahead of time, I toss the pasta salad with a little extra dressing before serving for extra flavor. Check out my other make ahead meals too.

Ingredients

italian bowtie pasta salad ingredients like dried noodles, tomatoes, bell pepper, fresh basil, black olives, italian dressing, and parmesan cheese.
  • Tomatoes, Bell Pepper, Olives, Spinach
  • Bowtie, or Farfalle Pasta – a great pasta salad noodle!
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, which gives this dressing a little extra tang which is really fantastic! I love using organic apple cider vinegar with the mother which has a great flavor.  I think it gives a nice extra sweetness and depth.
  • Italian Seasoning Blend: usually has thyme, basil, rosemary, parsley, etc. I love this bright and flavorful Italian season mix which brings this amazing dish to life.
  • Oregano: a spice I always put in my pasta salads!  This dried oregano has a bright and earthy flavor, and goes so well with the fresh crunchy vegetables.
  • Shredded Cheese, I used parmesan, but this is optional. Skip this for a vegan version (and make sure you don’t use a dressing with cheese).
  • Fresh basil – for a tasty, herby finish
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Variations and Substitutions

  • Instead of farfalle, you can use any medium-shaped pasta like penne, medium shells, or rotini.
  • If you aren’t a fan of olive, you can omit them and substitute another briny vegetable like marinated artichokes.
  • Use a bottled Italian dressing instead of making your own, if you are short on time.
italian bowtie pasta salad recipe farfalle salad with vegetables and a homemade vinaigrette dressing for pasta salad

How Do I Make this Farfalle Pasta Salad?

Be sure to visit the recipe card below for full ingredient amounts and recipe instructions!

farfalle bowtie noodles cooking in boiling water for pasta salad.

Step 1: Boil a large pot of water, and cook bowtie pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water to stop them cooking. Place drained cooled noodles into a large mixing bowl.

a large bowl full of black olives cooked bowtie pasta, spinach, and bell peppers.

Step 2: Dice the bell peppers and tomatoes, put in the spinach, and halve the olives.  Add the veggies to the bowl with the pasta.  

itlaian dressing being poured over a pasta salad with farfalle.

Step 1: Add all dressing ingredients to a mason jar, and shake well to combine. Pour the dressing over the pasta and veggies, and toss well to coat.

fresh shredded parmesan cheese over pasta salad in a bowl for an easy italian summer appetizer recipe.

Step 2: Taste, and season with salt and pepper if desired. Add shredded parmesan cheese on top, and serve.

Dietary Modifications

  • This recipe does not contain meat, and can be vegetarian if you use a vegetarian parmesan cheese that does not contain animal rennet.
  • For a vegan version, skip the cheese or use a plant-based variety if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store pasta salad?

For leftovers, store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

What is the best noodles to use for pasta salad?

I like the texture and broadness of farfalle (bowtie) pasta – since it’s a medium/large pasta shape, it works well with roughly chopped vegetables.

Can I use store-bought dressing for this pasta salad?

Absolutely! I included my recipe for 5-minute vinaigrette below, but a quick prepared Italian dressing will absolutely work and taste delicious.

More Pasta Salads You May Enjoy

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italian farfalle pasta salad recipe healthy bowtie noodle salad with Italian vinaigrette dressing.

Italian Bowtie Pasta Salad

This Italian bowtie pasta salad recipe is a great make ahead side dish, and loaded with tomatoes, bell peppers, greens, and a bright fresh dressing. My family recipe for Italian Dressing is below- but this pasta salad is great with bottled salad dressing too, if you’re short on time.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 249 kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients
  

For the Pasta Salad

  • 1 16 ounce box bowtie pasta (farfalle)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 14 ounce can black olives drained, and halved
  • 1 cup Zesty Italian dressing recipe below
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded

For the Zesty Italian Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning spice blend of thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano, garlic
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

Instructions
 

  • Boil a large pot of water, and cook bowtie pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water to stop them cooking. Place drained cooled noodles into a large mixing bowl.
  • Dice the bell peppers and tomatoes, put in the spinach, and halve the olives.  Add the veggies to the bowl with the pasta.
  • Add all dressing ingredients to a mason jar, and shake well to combine.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta and veggies, and toss well to coat. Taste, and season with Salt and Pepper if needed! Add shredded parmesan cheese on top.
  • For leftovers – I like to take a quart sized mason jar, fill half with pasta salad, and half with fresh spinach and enjoy for a quick and easy lunch!

Notes

Dietary Modifications

  • This recipe does not contain meat, and can be vegetarian if you use a vegetarian parmesan cheese that does not contain animal rennet.
  • For a vegan version, skip the cheese or use a plant-based variety if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 4gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 171mgPotassium: 175mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1110IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a rating and comment below, let us know what you loved about it!

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5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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