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Bowtie Pasta Salad

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overhead shot of Bowtie Pasta Salad in a bowl
Packed with plenty of colorful veggies, tender pasta, and tangy dressing, this bowtie pasta salad will be a delicious addition to your summer menu.
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Table of Contents
  1. Bowtie Pasta Salad Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Bowtie Pasta Salad Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This delicious bowtie pasta salad is the perfect side dish to serve at all of your summer gatherings and potlucks. It’s loaded with plenty of fresh veggies, ham, cheese, and a creamy dressing that will have you coming back for seconds.

overhead shot of Bowtie Pasta Salad in a bowl with tongs

Bowtie Pasta Salad Ingredients

Bowtie Pasta Salad raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Dressing

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning (from a 1-ounce packet)
  • 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the Bowtie Pasta Salad

  • 12-ounce box of bowtie pasta (cooked to al dente and drained according to package directions)
  • 1 (7-ounce) smoked uncured ham steak, diced 
  • 1 cup cheddar-Monterey jack cheese block, diced
  • 1 cup cucumber, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes that have been cut in half

PRO TIP:

Make sure you don’t overcook the pasta, or it will fall apart in your salad if it is too soft.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CHEESE: I like the flavor of the block of cheddar-Monterey jack cheese in this creamy pasta salad, but you can certainly substitute a sharp cheddar, Colby jack, or block of swiss cheese. 

MIX-INS: This easy recipe has plenty of room for extras. Try black olives, green onion, or green bell peppers for a few ideas.

TOMATOES: If you can’t find grape tomatoes at the grocery store, cherry tomatoes would work just as well.

PASTA: If you can’t find bowtie pasta, also known as farfalle pasta, any bite-size pasta would be delicious in this salad.

How to Make This Bowtie Pasta Salad Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Make sure you dice all your vegetables, block cheese, and ham steak in the same size (approximately ¼ to ½-inch-sized cubes). Your grape tomatoes only need to be cut in half.

STEP ONE: To make the dressing, whisk together in a medium bowl, the mayonnaise, whole milk, white vinegar, ranch seasoning, granulated sugar, salt, and pepper. Transfer ½ cup of the dressing to a separate bowl to reserve. Set aside the dressing to thicken up while you make the rest of the recipe.

mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, ranch seasoning, sugar, salt and pepper whisked together in a bowl

STEP TWO: In a large bowl, add the cooked and drained bowtie pasta noodles and allow it to cool for 10 minutes while you dice all your other ingredients.

PRO TIP:

Rinsing hot pasta in cold water helps cool it down quicker and prevents it from sticking together.

STEP THREE: To the cooled bowtie pasta, add the remaining 1 cup of dressing and toss it to coat all the pasta with the dressing.

dressing tossed with the pasta with a spoon in a bowl

STEP FOUR: To the bowl of pasta and dressing, add the diced ham, diced cheddar-Monterey jack cheese, diced cucumber, diced red onion, and grape tomato halves.

PRO TIP:

If your ham steak has been packaged in a liquid, you will want to pat it dry before dicing it. You can also trim off the tough edges before dicing it if you’d like, although this is optional. 

STEP FIVE: Toss all the diced vegetables, diced ham, and cheese with the dressing-coated bowtie pasta until everything is evenly distributed.

diced vegetables, ham and cheese tossed with a spoon in a bowl

STEP SIX: Transfer to a large serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

How To Serve

Pasta salad is always a winning choice for a summer side dish and this yummy bowtie pasta salad is no exception. Serve along with our grilled chicken breast, cucumber salad, and grilled corn on the cob for the perfect summer meal.

Some of our best pasta salad recipes include our Greek pasta salad and Italian pasta salad.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: This classic pasta salad can be served immediately or after it has been refrigerated. If you refrigerate this pasta salad before serving, you may want to add the reserved ½ cup of dressing and toss it with the chilled pasta salad. As your bowtie pasta salad sits, the pasta will absorb some of the dressing. 

Place leftover pasta salad in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

IN THE FREEZER: We don’t recommend freezing this tangy pasta salad recipe as it will become soggy once thawed.

close up shot of a spoon with a piece of bowtie pasta salad

The mix of textures and flavors drenched in the creamy ranch dressing in this bowtie pasta salad is always a crowd-pleaser, and it’s perfect for potlucks and summer get-togethers. Plus, it’s easy to customize with any of your favorite ingredients. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I store this summer salad?

This easy pasta salad recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days.

Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time?

This great recipe can be made the day before. The next day, it will have had time to soak up some of the extra dressing and the salad will be extra flavorful.

What is al dente?

Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.

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overhead shot of Bowtie Pasta Salad in a bowl

Bowtie Pasta Salad

5 from 1 vote
Packed with plenty of colorful veggies, tender pasta, and tangy dressing, this bowtie pasta salad will be a delicious addition to your summer menu.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Dressing

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning, from a 1 oz. packet
  • teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Bowtie Pasta Salad

  • 12 ounces bowtie pasta, cooked and drained according to box instructions
  • 7 ounces smoked uncured ham steak, diced
  • 1 cup cheddar-Monterey jack cheese block, diced
  • 1 cup cucumber, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes that have been cut in half

Instructions
 

  • To make the dressing, whisk together in a medium bowl, the mayonnaise, whole milk, white vinegar, ranch seasoning, granulated sugar, salt, and pepper. Transfer ½ cup of the dressing to a separate bowl to reserve. Set aside the dressing to thicken up while you make the rest of the recipe.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked and drained bowtie pasta and allow it to cool for 10 minutes while you dice all your other ingredients.
  • To the cooled bowtie pasta, add the remaining 1 cup of dressing and toss it to coat all the pasta with the dressing.
  • To the bowl of pasta and dressing, add the diced ham, diced cheddar-Monterey jack cheese, diced cucumber, diced red onion, and grape tomato halves.
  • Toss all the diced vegetables, diced ham, and diced cheese with the dressing-coated bowtie pasta until everything is evenly distributed.
  • Transfer to a large serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Make sure you don’t overcook the pasta, or it will fall apart in your salad if it is too soft.
  • Make sure you dice all your vegetables, block cheese, and ham steak in the same size (approximately ¼ to ½-inch-sized cubes). Your grape tomatoes only need to be cut in half.
  • Rinsing hot pasta in cold water helps cool it down quicker and prevents it from sticking together
  • If your ham steak has been packaged in a liquid, you will want to pat it dry before dicing it. You can also trim off the tough edges before dicing it if you’d like, although this is optional.

Nutrition

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 652mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 218IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 1mg
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