This Bow Tie Pasta Salad is an easy, tasty side dish that is always a favorite at barbecues, potlucks, or even as a filling lunch! While I often make Italian Pasta Salad, this dish has a rich creamy dressing that’s hard to resist! Ham, cheddar and veggies are mixed in for the perfect potluck dish!
Serve alongside Hamburgers or grilled pork chops for a summer salad everyone loves!
Favorite Bowtie Pasta Salad Ingredients
While some of the basic ingredients may change, the star of this pasta salad is the bow tie shaped pasta! Not only does it hold up well to the creamy mayo dressing but the shape complements round peas, diced pieces of ham and cheese. Like most pasta salad recipes, you can add or remove ingredients based on what you have on hand; this recipe is very versatile.
- Base: Bow Tie pasta (you can substitute any medium shaped pasta or even make Tortellini Salad).
- Meat & Cheese: cheddar cheese & ham are my favorite choices. You can make bowtie pasta salad with feta and skip the ham and make it with chicken or pepperoni.
- Veggies: I love pasta salad with peas! Add white onion (or swap for red or green), bell pepper (even chopped spinach works well).
These are just the basics! Get creative with what you have on hand and make your own custom summer bow tie pasta salad with items like sliced black olives, celery and even sun-dried tomatoes!
How to Make Bowtie Pasta Salad
To make this pasta salad start by boiling the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, run it under really cold water to cool, this stops the cooking process so the noodles don’t get overcooked (and mushy)! Once you have that complete, it’s easy ‘peas’-y!
- Mix all the dressing ingredients in small bowl.
- Toss everything together and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Before taking a big scoop of tasty pasta salad, season with salt and pepper.
To Make Ahead
The flavors blend as this recipe sits making it the perfect make ahead party dish. If making more than a few hours ahead of time, be generous with the dressing as the pasta will soak it up a bit.
Fridge: A bowtie pasta salad with ham can last 3-5 days in the fridge if it is kept cold and in a tightly sealed container.
Freezer: Pasta Salad doesn’t freeze well so prep this shortly before serving.
More Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes
- Italian Pasta Salad – one of my favorites!
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad – Reader favorite!
- Easy Greek Pasta Salad – full of crunch.
- Broccoli Pasta Salad – creamy homemade dressing.
- BLT Pasta Salad – classically perfect flavor combo!
- Summer Pasta Salad – filled with garden fresh veggies!
- Farmers Market Salad – so colorful & fresh
Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- 1 pound bow tie pasta
- 1 cup cheddar cheese diced
- 1 cup ham diced
- 3 tablespoons white onion finely diced
- ½ cup frozen peas defrosted
- ½ cup red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons sweet relish
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- Boil pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
- Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Is this better made the same day
We find it tastes best if left to chill for at least an hour. So as long as you have time to let it sit that long then it is delicious made the same day!
Can this be made the night before or better the same day
We prefer it on the same day because it’s creamier. The pasta will soak some of the dressing overnight. If you’d like, you can prepare everything and add the dressing at least an hour before serving.
My family loved this, especially the dressing. Thanks for the great recipe. I’ll definitely make this one again soon.
So glad your family loved it Dana!
The recipes are simple and easy to understand and follow with the pictures of each of the ingredients, fantastic food
Thanks, Kristy! So happy you are enjoying them :)
Made this for our family reunion snd it was a big hit. I am not big On Salads but this was yummy. Thank you for sharing.
So happy you enjoyed it Tresa!
Thank you for sharing this recipe . My family loves it. I made it exactly as noted and would not add or subtract any ingredient.
Easy to make , great for summer meals..
It’s great to hear that your family loves it, thanks for sharing!
I made this today and it turned out absolutely amazing! There are no leftovers
It all looks soo good cant waite to try them
There is way too much bow tie pasta in this recipe, think it should have been a 1/2 pound, I had to make more dressing and doubled the other items.
Love cooking and trying new recipes
So do we Joyce! Have fun in the kitchen :)
Very good ideas and colorful salad. Love pasta salad
Tried this today for lunch! My family loved it and so easy to make!!
I plan on making this salad, plus about every salad listed on this site! You have a most impressive and delicious looking array of absolutely divine sounding salads….sheer heaven for me, as I love to make healthy salads for my family and me!! In fact, there are SO many recipes here I want to try, and not just salads!
Aww thank you so much Vicki! I hope you love it!
I have a question about the creamy bow tie pasta salad. I am not a fan of relish, could I substitute something else, or just leave it out? Thanks
I have seen many different flavors of relish, some not made of pickles. (I love vidalia onion relish!) you could of course leave it out as well Darlene.
I use to get your emails but I no longer get any of them. Please add me back in to receive them. Thanks
Hi Peggine! At your request, I’ve sent you the email for you to confirm :) Enjoy your day