Bow tie pasta salad is always the fanciest salad at the BBQ.

Tender bow tie pasta, cheese, onions, tomatoes, celery, and sliced black olives are tossed in ready-made ranch dressing and ready to serve in minutes.

Cool, creamy, and refreshing, bow tie pasta salad is a summer stunner.

bowl of Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Ingredients and Variations

This easy bowtie pasta salad uses simple ingredients for the perfect potluck or picnic dish.

Pasta – AKA “farfalle”, bow tie is the perfect size and shape for the dressing to cling to. Use other ridged pasta like rotini, penne, cavatappi, or large macaroni shells.

Dressing – What’s easier than a cup of ranch dressing? A cup of Caesar, Thousand Island, blue cheese, or any vinaigrette will add new flavor profiles to this recipe.

Cheese – Shredded cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, a Mexican cheese blend, feta crumbles, or parmesan will all work.

Vegetables – Onions, tomatoes, and olives add color to this salad. Green onions, sundried tomatoes, and kalamata olives can be used instead for a more Mediterranean-style salad.

ingredients assembled to make bow tie pasta salad

How to Make Bow Tie Pasta Salad

  1. Cook, drain, and “shock” pasta (see TIPS in next section).
  2. Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Refrigerate and stir before serving (as per the recipe below).

Pasta Salad Tips!

  • Cook pasta to “al dente” so it stays firmer longer. Once drained, pour it into a large bowl of ice water. This process “shocks” the pasta and prevents it from cooking, keeping it al dente.
  • Bow tie pasta salad tastes best when it’s extra cold, chill it for at least 30-60 minutes. Or prepare up to a day ahead.

Serving And Storing Pasta Salad

Bow tie pasta salad can be customized to match any main dish. Serve as a vegetarian dish, with burgers, BBQ bacon chicken sliders, or some quick and easy pork bites.

Make it a main dish “protein salad” and add crumbled bacon, diced ham, shredded chicken, shrimp, tuna, or even salmon.

Keep leftover bow tie pasta salad in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir in a little fresh ranch dressing or fresh pasta before serving.

Other Tasty Pasta Salad Recipes

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bowl of Bow Tie Pasta Salad
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Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Wow your bbq guests with this vibrant bowtie pasta salad with fresh vegetables, and a creamy ranch dressing.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Refrigerate 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly



  • 16 ounces bow tie pasta
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 cup cheese shredded
  • ½ red onion diced
  • ½ cup celery chopped
  • ½ cup tomato diced
  • cup black olives sliced


  • Cook the pasta 'al dente' according to package directions. Drain and cool completely.
  • Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.
  • Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, and stir before serving.


  • Cook pasta to al dente, drain, then “shock” the pasta by placing in a large bowl of ice water. This helps keep the pasta firm.
  • Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Before serving, stir and add a bit of ranch dressing to refresh the flavors.
5 from 7 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 455mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Lunch, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American

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