This Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing is served cold and is a light side dish tossed with feta cheese, tomatoes, olives, and more and is perfect for summer. Drizzle it in our homemade dressing made with olive oil and vinegar.
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What Type of Pasta to Use
You can use whatever you like. I use farfalle, which is in the shape of bow ties. Rotini is another favorite of mine for pasta salads. Something like penne, spaghetti, or linguine will also work.
Homemade Italian Dressing
I like to use my Homemade Italian Dressing recipe for this salad. Feel free to use your favorite store-bought version if you wish. Key ingredients for the dressing are:
- White or Red Wine Vinegar
- Olive Oil (Extra virgin Olive Oil)
- Dried Basil
- Dried Oregano
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Lemon Juice
- Sweetener or Sugar
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- Cook the pasta in accordance with package instructions.
- Combine the pasta, Italian dressing, cucumbers, onions, feta, black olives, mixed greens, tomatoes, and peas in a large bowl.
Additional Toppings and Ideas
- Chopped Broccoli
- Chopped Cauliflower
- Chopped Dill Pickles
- Sweet Pickle Relish
- Chicken Breast
- Red Peppers
- Green Peppers
- Creole Seasoning
- Cajun Seasoning
- Homemade BBQ Seasoning
Can You Omit the Feta Cheese?
Yes. You can also substitute it for any cheese you like.
How Long Can it Sit Out
It can sit out 1-2 hours. It takes about 2 hours for bacteria to start to grow to dangerous levels. In warm temperatures, that time shrinks. You can read the Food Safety Guidance from the FDA here.
Can You Make it Ahead of Time/How Long Does it Last in the Fridge
Yes, store the salad in the fridge (tightly covered) for up to 3-4 days. When the salad sits in the fridge overnight (or for several hours), the pasta will absorb a lot of the moisture and flavor from the dressing. If you like a slick/moist texture you will need to refresh it with more dressing.
If you plan to make it ahead, add the dressing when you plan to serve the dish.
Can You Freeze It?
I recommend freezing it without the dressing. It will last tightly sealed and covered for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
Pair With These Recipes
How to Grill Chicken Wings
Traeger Smoked Salmon
Dry Rub Chicken Wings
Chicken and Avocado Salsa
Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs
Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon
How to Grill the Best Burgers
Traeger Smoked Whole Chicken
Traeger Smoked Brisket
More Salad and Pasta Salad Recipes
Get a full listing of BBQ and Cookout Recipes here.
Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing
- 12 oz farfalle pasta
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach or mixed greens
- 1 cup chopped cucumbers
- 1 cup cooked or steamed peas
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes Sliced in half. You can use any tomatoes.
- 1/3 cup feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped onions I used red onions.
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
Optional Homemade Italian Dressing (You can use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your favorite Italian dressing)
- Cook the farfalle in accordance with the package instructions.
- Rinse the farfalle in cold water and pat dry.
- Add the farfalle to your serving dish along with the remaining ingredients including the Italian dressing. Taste repeatedly and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Chill for a minimum of 1 hour. 2-3 hours is optimal.
Homemade Italian Dressing
- Combine the ingredients in bowl or measuring cup.
- Taste repeatedly and adjust the spices to suit your taste if necessary.
- I tested the homemade Italian dressing using both red and white vinegar. I noticed a subtle difference, but it wasn’t too major. The red wine vinegar had a little more of a bite to it. You can like likely reduce it some with more lemon juice or sweetener/sugar. Overall, I felt like white vinegar works best and you are more likely to have it on hand using it for other things.
- Adjust the sugar or sweetener to taste or omit it if you wish. It helps balance out the tanginess from the vinegar.
- Feel free to substitute any of the veggies, pasta, or ingredients used in this recipe. Use your favorite foods.