Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Elevate your summer gatherings and potluck parties with a refreshing and flavorful dish that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Our Bow Tie Pasta Salad recipe combines tender pasta bows with savory ham, creamy cheddar cheese, and a medley of crisp vegetables, all tossed in a tangy, creamy dressing. Whether served as a side dish or a light meal on its own, this pasta salad is sure to impress with its vibrant colors and irresistible flavors. Follow our simple recipe to create a dish that will have everyone coming back for seconds!



  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons relish (sweet or dill)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • 1 pound bow tie pasta
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 cup fully-cooked ham, diced
  • ½ small white or sweet onion, peeled and finely diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced


  1. Prepare the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, relish, sugar, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper until smooth and well combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dressing while you prepare the salad.
  2. Cook the Pasta: Cook the bow tie pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent it from sticking together.
  3. Combine Salad Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked and cooled pasta with the diced cheddar cheese, diced ham, finely diced onion, thawed peas, and diced red bell pepper. Toss gently to mix all the ingredients evenly.
  4. Add Dressing: Pour the prepared dressing over the salad ingredients and toss gently until everything is coated in the creamy dressing, ensuring each ingredient is well coated for maximum flavor.
  5. Chill Before Serving: Cover the bowl and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together and develop.
  6. Final Touches: Before serving, give the pasta salad a final toss to redistribute the dressing and ensure all the ingredients are evenly coated. Garnish with fresh herbs or additional black pepper if desired.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Serve the Bow Tie Pasta Salad chilled or at room temperature as a delightful side dish or a light meal. Enjoy the refreshing flavors and vibrant colors of this delicious pasta salad with family and friends!

Nutrition Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 380
  • Total Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Cholesterol: 30mg
  • Sodium: 630mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 6g
  • Protein: 14g

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Chill for Flavor: Allow the Bow Tie Pasta Salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Chilling helps the flavors meld together and enhances the overall taste of the salad.
  2. Garnish for Presentation: Just before serving, garnish the pasta salad with fresh herbs like parsley or basil for a pop of color and added flavor. A sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil can also enhance the presentation.
  3. Serve with Confidence: Present the pasta salad in a decorative serving bowl or platter to make it visually appealing. Offering serving utensils alongside the salad allows guests to help themselves easily.
  4. Pair with Complementary Dishes: Serve Bow Tie Pasta Salad alongside grilled meats, sandwiches, or as part of a buffet spread. Its versatile flavors make it a perfect accompaniment to a variety of main dishes.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigerate Properly: Store any leftover Bow Tie Pasta Salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness. Proper refrigeration helps prevent the salad from spoiling and keeps it safe to eat for several days.
  2. Consume Within a Few Days: While Bow Tie Pasta Salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, it’s best enjoyed within the first couple of days for optimal taste and texture. The pasta may become too soft over time.
  3. Avoid Freezing: Due to the creamy dressing and vegetable components, Bow Tie Pasta Salad does not freeze well. Freezing can alter the texture and compromise the quality of the salad, so it’s best to avoid freezing it.
  4. Refresh Before Serving: If the pasta salad seems dry after refrigeration, you can revive it by adding a splash of dressing or a squeeze of lemon juice before serving. Toss gently to redistribute the flavors and moisten the ingredients.
  5. Portion Control for Leftovers: Consider storing leftover pasta salad in individual portion-sized containers for convenient grab-and-go lunches or snacks. This helps prevent waste and makes it easier to enjoy the salad throughout the week.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Bow Tie Pasta Salad remains fresh, flavorful, and ready to enjoy whenever hunger strikes. Whether served as a side dish or a light meal, this versatile salad is sure to be a hit with family and friends alike!


  1. Mediterranean Twist: Add diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese to the salad for a refreshing Mediterranean-inspired version.
  2. Italian Style: Incorporate chopped salami, pepperoni, diced mozzarella cheese, and sliced black olives, then toss with Italian dressing for a flavorful Italian pasta salad.
  3. Vegetarian Option: Omit the ham and add extra vegetables such as broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, sliced carrots, and bell peppers for a colorful and hearty vegetarian pasta salad.
  4. Mexican Fiesta: Mix in black beans, corn kernels, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice for a zesty and satisfying Mexican-inspired pasta salad.
  5. Greek Goddess: Combine diced cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, and chopped fresh dill, then dress with a lemony vinaigrette for a taste of Greece in every bite.
  6. Caprese Creation: Toss together cooked pasta, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, basil leaves, and balsamic glaze for a simple yet elegant Caprese pasta salad.
  7. Asian Fusion: Mix in shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, sliced green onions, chopped peanuts, and a drizzle of soy-sesame dressing for an Asian-inspired twist on pasta salad.
  8. Buffalo Bliss: Add shredded cooked chicken tossed in buffalo sauce, diced celery, crumbled blue cheese, and ranch dressing for a spicy and tangy Buffalo chicken pasta salad.
  9. Southwestern Sensation: Combine cooked pasta with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice for a vibrant Southwestern pasta salad.
  10. Pesto Paradise: Toss cooked pasta with homemade or store-bought pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, and toasted pine nuts for a taste of Italy in every bite.


  1. Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time? Yes, Bow Tie Pasta Salad can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just be sure to give it a good toss before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.
  2. Can I use a different type of pasta? Absolutely! Feel free to substitute bow tie pasta with your favorite pasta shape such as penne, rotini, or farfalle. Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions.
  3. Can I make this pasta salad gluten-free? Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta to make this salad gluten-free. Be sure to check the label to ensure it’s certified gluten-free, and cook it according to the package instructions.
  4. Can I customize the dressing to my taste? Of course! Feel free to adjust the dressing ingredients to suit your personal preferences. You can add more or less sugar, mustard, vinegar, or seasoning to achieve the flavor profile you desire.
  5. Can I make this pasta salad dairy-free? Yes, you can make this pasta salad dairy-free by omitting the cheddar cheese or using a dairy-free alternative. You can also use a dairy-free mayonnaise for the dressing.
  6. How long will leftovers last in the refrigerator? Leftover Bow Tie Pasta Salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Just be sure to keep it tightly covered or in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.

Impress your guests and delight your taste buds with our Bow Tie Pasta Salad recipe, a perfect blend of savory and tangy flavors in every bite. Whether served at picnics, barbecues, or family gatherings, this refreshing pasta salad is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. So grab your ingredients, whip up a batch, and get ready to savor the taste of summer with this irresistible dish!