This is a light and refreshing pasta salad recipe, perfect for summer picnics and outings. This bow tie pasta salad is tossed with an amazing, light and zesty dressing.

It’s always a hit at barbeques, picnics and summertime potlucks!

bow tie pasta salad in a bowl with cherry tomatoes basil and feta
Want to save this?
Enter your email below and I’ll send it to you!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Today I’m excited to share one of our family’s quintessential summer side dishes. This is a classic bow tie pasta salad, just lightened up a little.

I have never really enjoyed the heavy mayonnaise-drenched pasta salads, so I make this bow tie pasta salad with a vinaigrette dressing, which is perfect for summer outings like picnics and parties.

Pretty little bow tie pasta noodles all dressed in a lemon vinaigrette pasta salad dressing, and tossed with feta, basil and cherry tomatoes…does it get any better? It’s the ultimate summer side dish but can also be enjoyed as an entree.

In fact, that’s the best way to have leftovers – for lunch! It gets even better as it soaks into the noodles when refrigerated. It makes the bowtie pasta so tender and flavorful.

bow tie pasta salad with lemon vinaigrette basil and cherry tomatoes

This has long been one of my most popular recipes on Facebook and Pinterest, and it’s no wonder why. In fact, it was even seen on MSN!

I’m a big fan of pasta salads, and we have created quite the collection of recipes over the years. Don’t miss my complete pasta salad recipe collection! Be sure to check out my our family favorites, like this Italian pasta salad, spaghetti salad, and vegetarian pasta salad

logo

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

You’ll love this light and refreshing pasta salad dressing. It’s always a crowd pleaser!

This recipe is so easy to make! The homemade dressing uses just four ingredients: lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and minced garlic.

Pasta salad keeps so well – which means you can enjoy it all week long!

This pasta salad recipe also feeds a crowd! It serves 10-12 side portions. It’s great for summer entertaining.

easy pasta salad recipe in a bowl with tomato and basil

Shopping List

  • Farfalle Pasta
  • Feta
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Whole Grain Mustard
  • Minced Garlic
bow tie pasta salad with vinaigrette tomatoes and basil

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Bow Tie Pasta Noodles – You can use the noodle of your choice, but I like using bow tie for the prettiest pasta salad. It holds the cheese and mustard grain and looks beautiful!
  • Feta – A slightly salty Greek cheese, this one is often tolerated by those who are dairy free. Choose your favorite kind of crumbled cheese, though!
  • Basil – Fresh basil adds so much flavor and color to this pasta salad. Slice thin. You can use a sprig to garnish on top as well.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Use red or a blend of yellow, orange and red to add even more color.
  • Lemon Vinaigrette – A blend of lemon juice, olive oil, whole grain mustard, and minced garlic coats the noodles to perfection.
  • Salt and Pepper – Season to taste. I like to use thick flakes of black peppercorns from a grinder for the best flavor.

Variation

Make it a Creamy Pasta Salad Dressing with our easy creamy dressing recipe!

close up of bow tie noodles covered in dressing tomatoes, cheese and basil

How to Make

  1. Prepare PastaBoil the bowtie pasta until al dente. This prevents them from breaking or becoming mushy.
  2. Shock Pasta – Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. A white colander with water coming in, rinsing cooked pasta for a lesson in how to make pasta salad.
  3. Make Pasta Salad DressingWhisk pasta salad dressing ingredients together. woman in stripe dress combing ingredients in jar
  4. Toss and TopToss drained pasta with dressing, feta, cherry tomatoes and basil. pouring pasta salad dressing onto pasta salad

To see just how simple this pasta salad recipe is, watch the video in this post.

bow tie pasta salad with mustard grain
logo

Tips

  • Don’t Overcook – Prepare noodles al dente. This will prevent your pasta salad from becoming mushy and toss easier. Overcooking your noodles will result in a mushier pasta salad. Nobody wants that!
  • Shock PastaAfter straining noodles, rinse them with cold water to shock them.
  • Cool Pasta Allow your pasta to cool before adding the pasta salad dressing and ingredients.
  • MarinateThe best pasta salads are made in advance to allow the dressing to soak into your bow tie pasta and toppings. This makes it so flavorful!
A bowl of easy pasta salad with cherry tomatoes and herbs.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – This pasta salad should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Refrigerator – Wrap your serving bowl tightly with plastic wrap, or choose a storage bowl with a tight fitting lid. Most pasta salads can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 
  • Freezer – I do not recommend freezing this bow tie pasta salad.
bow tie pasta salad in white serving bowl
4.90 from 152 votes
Click stars ↑ to rate and leave a review!

Bow Tie Pasta Salad Recipe

This is a light and refreshing pasta salad recipe, perfect for summer picnics and outings. This bow tie pasta salad is tossed with an amazing, light and zesty homemade vinaigrette dressing.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Pin Rate Print
Save this recipe!
Enter your email and I’ll send it to you!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Ingredients  

  • 16 ounces farfalle pasta
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 5 ounces feta cheese crumbled
  • 11 ounces cherry tomatoes (one pint) halved
  • 6 leaves basil sliced thin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • In a large pot of boiling water, prepare pasta until al dente.
  • In a small mixing bowl or jar whisk or shake lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and minced garlic until well combined.
  • Drain bow tie pasta and rinse with cold water to shock the noodles.
  • In a large serving bowl, toss drained pasta with dressing, feta, cherry tomatoes and basil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Refrigerate until serving (recommend 2+ hours to allow the pasta salad dressing to marinate the bowtie pasta).

Julie’s Tips

Substitutions

  • Bow Tie Pasta Noodles – You can use the noodle of your choice, but I like using bow tie for the prettiest pasta salad. It holds the cheese and mustard grain and looks beautiful!
  • Feta – Can be substituted with any soft cheese including fresh mozzarella or goat cheese.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Use red or a blend of yellow, orange and red to add even more color.
  • Lemon Juice – Can be substituted with white wine or white wine vinegar. 
  • Olive Oil – Can be substituted witch canola oil in a pinch.

Tips

  • Don’t Overcook – Prepare noodles al dente. This will prevent your pasta salad from becoming mushy and toss easier. Overcooking your noodles will result in a mushier pasta salad. Nobody wants that!
  • Shock Pasta – After straining noodles, rinse them with cold water to shock them.
  • Cool Pasta – Allow your pasta to cool before adding the pasta salad dressing and ingredients.
  • Marinate – The best pasta salads are made in advance to allow the dressing to soak into your bow tie pasta and toppings. This makes it so flavorful!

To Store

Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container or covered for up to 4 days refrigerated.

Video

Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 167mg | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 11.1mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

Explore More

You May Also Like

4.90 from 152 votes (105 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this Recipe




96 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was great. I made it as a side for a BBQ and it was a hit. Tastes great and is so easy to make! I will keep it as one of my go-to recipes. Thanks!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to come back and sharen I’ve since shared a couple others you may like as well. Happy Spring!

    1. Thank you, Anahi! Do you mind clicking on the star rating to help other readers? I’d really appreciate it. Hope you have a great week!

  2. I love it, I might make this too but will use yellow cherry tomatoes which are a bit sweeter. #ThursdayFavoriteThingsBlogParty