If you are looking for the easiest bow tie pasta salad EVER, you found it!
Not only is this pasta salad really easy to throw together (you know, for that last minute bbq or church gathering), it’s also tasty and pairs nicely with any main dish on the planet!
This cold salad keeps well so you can make a big batch to eat throughout the week.
Pasta salad is truly as easy as boiling water and tossing in a few key ingredients.
It’s Not About The (Bow Tie) Pasta
Today’s recipe is made with a bow tie pasta, but I also love to use spaghetti pasta. Honestly, you can use ANY PASTA that is sitting in your pantry. If you want more color, I’d suggest using a tri-color rotini or radiator pasta.
I always make this easy bow tie pasta salad with the following 5 ingredients: pasta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, Italian salad dressing and McCormick Salad Supreme Sprinkles.
Other variations or add-in ingredients I’ve added to this basic recipe are: kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese or fresh mozzarella (cubed bite sizes or mini balls), salami slices (cut into ½” wide strips) and chopped fresh parsley leaves.
A key element is to cool the pasta correctly – don’t wait around for the past to cool! After draining, dunk the strainer of pasta in an ice bath (equal parts of ice and water in a large bowl). This keeps the pasta from sticking to itself and keeps the pasta perfectly al dente.
And my secret key ingredients are a flavorful Italian salad dressing (we like Wish-Bone Light Italian Dressing – Signature Blend of Herbs and Spices) and McCormick Salad supreme sprinkles.
The Ultimate and Easiest Bow Tie Pasta Salad
There are a lot of pasta salads out there, but here’s why you want this one: The dressing is a simple store bought item, there’s no mayo so you don’t have to worry about it siting out at a picnic or potluck, and you can easily adapt to your favorite mix-ins. Don’t like feta? Use mozzarella instead. Don’t like cucumbers? Don’t put cucumbers in.
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My easy bow tie pasta salad is the perfect last-minute recipe for a family get-together or a hearty, quick lunch.
Best Tips For A Tasty Pasta Salad
Shock the pasta immediately. As noted above, you’re going to want to cool the pasta right away. After draining, dunk the strainer of hot, cooked pasta in an ice bath made up of equal parts ice and water (in a large bowl). This will keep your pasta from sticking to itself and maintain an al dente pasta.
Make all ad-ins roughly the same size. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and even mozzarella should be chopped around the same size before tossing them into the salad.
Mix and chill before serving. Let the pasta salad soak in the flavors for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Pasta gets better as it rests and why I like it even better the next day!
Taste and season again just before serving. As pasta salad chills, it can lose some of its flavor, so be sure to taste and season the salad again just before serving. Note: Pasta salad keeps well up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge, so it can easily be made in advance.
Are you ready to make the easiest bow tie pasta salad recipe? Here it is…
The Easiest Bow Tie Pasta Salad
Not only is this pasta salad really easy to throw together, it’s tasty and pairs nicely with any main dish.
- 8 ounces dried Bow tie pasta
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes halved or quartered (I did a mix of red and yellow cherry tomatoes)
- 1 medium cucumber quartered chunks
- Italian Dressing we like Wish-Bone Light Italian Dressing – Signature Blend of Herbs and Spices
- McCormick Salad supreme sprinkles
Cook the pasta. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook until al dente, approximately 8 minutes or according to the package directions.
Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
Quickly drain and cool the pasta. Drain the past in a colander and run under cold water. Place the colander in the ice bath and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Chop the mix-ins. Cut the tomatoes and cucumber. Place them into a large bowl.
Toss the pasta. Place the pasta into the large bowl of chopped mix-ins and toss with the salad dressing and McCormick Salad Supreme Sprinkles.
Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend together.
I didn’t even have to go to the store to make this easy bow tie pasta salad! I had all the ingredients on hand and the tomatoes were from my garden.
This year I planted a yellow cherry tomato variety called ‘Sun Sugar Hybrid Tomato” – these were so sweet and juicy. To date, these were THE BEST tomatoes I’ve had in my life and will definitely be planting them again next year.
Let me know if you make the easiest bow tie pasta (in the comments below)! I also hope you have a chance to try some of my friend’s delicious summer salad recipes too!
15 Delicious Summer Salad Recipes
Asian Noodle Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing // Happy Happy Nester
Simple Burrata and Tomato Salad // Craftberry Bush
Strawberry Avocado and Pecan Summer Salad // Maison de Pax
Fresh Sauteed Beet & Butternut Salad // French Country Cottage
Pasta Salad With Summer Tomatoes // Modern Glam
Asian Noodle Salad // Finding Lovely
Easy Spinach and Fruit Summer Salad Recipe // Zevy Joy
Blueberry Summer Salad // My 100 Year Old Home
Pacific Northwest Cobb Salad // Lemon Grove Lane
Refreshing & Healthy Cauliflower Summer Salad // My Sweet Savannah
Easy Vegan Lentil Bolognese Salad // Shabbyfufu
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad With Balsamic Dressing // Twelve on Main
Summer Peach Spinach Salad // Sanctuary Home Decor
The Easiest Bow Tie Pasta Salad // Your Marketing BFF
Mexican Salad Bowl // Jennifer Maune