This Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad with crunchy fresh vegetables and tangy dressing packs big flavor! It's a make-ahead no mayonnaise salad and perfect for a summer bbq, potluck or your next family gathering. This easy to make salad is the best-loved recipe and a go-to family favorite!
If you love this salad, be sure and try this Teriyaki Noodles Recipe - it's great warm or cold!
Table of contents
Why you'll love this recipe
This easy Italian pasta salad is one of the most popular recipes on the blog. It's an easy recipe my sis-in-law Alice shared a couple of years ago and a recipe we enjoy often. You will too!
It's that good!
I've been lucky enough to grab a few of her recipes, like her Tuna Pasta Salad (one of my favorites!) and this yummy salad. Alice makes Bowtie Pasta Salad for just about every family get-together. Christmas, Easter, 4th of July or Sunday supper, it's always on the table.
Whether it's served as an easy side dish or a light lunch, I always get seconds! AND...It's easy to make too!
For the exact measurements, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- bow tie pasta - you can certainly substitute any small pasta you have on hand.
- green onions - we prefer the mild onion flavor of green onions, but if you do not have those available, use a red onion.
- green or red bell pepper - you could also use yellow or orange peppers.
- grape tomatoes - cherry tomatoes or a large tomato seeded and chopped.
- cucumber - for bright crunch!
- roasted red pepper - adds nice smokey flavor.
- marinated artichoke hearts - though you could omit these, I think they add a ton of flavor!
- Johnny's Salad Elegance seasoning salt or McCormick's Salad Supreme Seasoning - adds so much flavor to this pasta salad
- Italian Salad Dressing - use store-bought, it works just fine!
This is an overview of the instructions. For the complete directions just scroll down to the bottom!
- Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse, drain well. Place in a large mixing bowl, all to come to room temperature and refrigerate.
- Chop the tomatoes, thinly slice the green onions and bell peppers. Drain the roasted red pepper and chop, drain the artichoke hearts and dice.
- Now add the remaining ingredients to the cooked pasta and toss everything together well.
- Sprinkle with the salad seasoning and add the salad dressing, mix to combine.
- Cover the Italian bow tie pasta salad tightly and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.
Some pasta is healthier than others. If you're watching your carbs or want to add more protein to your diet, be sure to choose whole grain pasta to get the most nutrition in each bite. Additionally, watch your portion sizes!
It doesn't have to be! Choose a pasta salad with a light vinaigrette rather than a pasta salad laden with a heavy mayonnaise dressing. It will help you enjoy delicious pasta guilt free!
Run cold water over the pasta and shake it well to get rid of the water. Pour a couple of tablespoons olive oil over the pasta and mix it with a spoon. That will keep it from sticking together. Refrigerate to cool completely.
You should cool pasta before adding dressing - whether that's a creamy coleslaw dressing or Italian salad dressing - because hot pasta absorbs twice as much liquid as cold pasta! You'll end up with a clumpy lump of pasta that's overdressed, ewe! Nobody wants that!
Best solution? Cook the pasta the night before to ensure it's completely cool!
Always allow the pasta to cool completely before adding salad dressing. Hot pasta will absorb moisture and suck up all the salad dressing. It will be a soggy mess. Make the pasta ahead of time and refrigerate to allow it ensure it's chilled.
Don't overcook the pasta! Cook the pasta to al dente.
Rinse the pasta with cool water and allow it to completely drain before refrigerating.
I don't use a homemade Italian dressing, though you certainly could. I think store-bought works great in this recipe.
Additional add-ins include chopped fresh spinach, edamame, olives or radishes - if you like it and it's crunchy don't be afraid to toss it into this pasta salad!
- Refrigerate - the salad keeps well up to four days. Be sure to place it in a well-sealed large mixing bowl. If it becomes dry, just add a splash of Italian salad dressing and mix well.
We make this for nearly every holiday from July 4th to Christmas, it's perfect for Memorial Day BBQ's and great for Thanksgiving dinner because you can make it ahead. Here are a few suggestions for pairing to make a great meal.
- It's perfect with grilled Chili Lime Chicken and Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs - just delicious!
- Great with this juicy grilled Turkey Burger recipe or Lemon Pepper Chicken as well.
- It's yummy with beef as well - one of my favorites is this Tri Tip Recipe, but this slow cooker recipe roast beef is terrific as well.
I'm such a big fan of summer salad recipes! Here are a few more delicious pasta salads to try.
- Southern Style Ham Pasta Salad - Salty ham and feta cheese are mixed with bright, crunchy vegetables and al dente pasta.
- Antipasto Pasta Salad – All the flavors of your favorite Antipasto Platter in a salad! Big flavors with just a little work.
- Artichoke Avocado Pasta Salad -Another great salad for a cookout or bbq, as it doesn’t contain any mayonnaise and it is so delicious and flavorful!
- Tuna Pasta Salad - tuna, pasta, salty parmesan cheese and olives with crunchy veggies brought together with a creamy dressing. This salad is a meal in itself!
This pasta salad recipes no mayo is perfect for summertime bbqs, cookouts, potlucks and family gatherings. Crunchy fresh vegetables, tangy dressing and delicious pasta combine to make this side great to enjoy year round!
Love this recipe it's just the perfect side dish! Please leave a comment with a five-star rating below, or pop me a note. I love hearing from you! If you make this, be sure to tag me on Instagram @bowl_me_over or #bowlmeover - thank you for supporting the blog, trying and sharing my recipes!
Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 32 oz. box Bow Tie Pasta
- 1 bunch green onions chopped
- 1 bell pepper green or red - use your favorite
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- ½ cucumber cut in half and then quartered and thinly sliced
- ½ cup roasted red pepper
- 3 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts
- 2 tablespoons Johnny's Salad Elegance seasoning salt or McCormick's Salad Supreme Seasoning*
- 1 to 1 ½ cups Italian Salad Dressing
- Prior to serving check the seasonings - you may need to add a bit of salt depending upon which seasoning spice you use. If needed add about ½ teaspoon of salt and mix to combine.
- In a large pot, cook the bow tie pasta to al dente in boiling salted water. Remove drain well and allow to cool completely.
- When you are ready to assemble the salad, thinly slice the onions - both the white and green parts, red or green bell pepper, slice the cherry tomatoes and cucumber.
- Drain the roasted red pepper and chop. Drain the artichoke hearts and dice.
- Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the salad seasoning and add the salad dressing. Mix well to combine. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.
- Prior to serving, stir well and check seasoning. You may need to add a touch of salt and/or additional salad dressing.
- Can be served cold or at room temperature.
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This post has been updated from April 2015 on May 24, 2021 to improve instructions.