Zesty Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Meet your new favorite pasta salad! This recipe has a tangy vinaigrette, fresh tomatoes, black olives, fresh basil, and feta cheese tossed with bow tie pasta for a crowd-pleasing summer side dish.

a bowl of pasta salad.

I love a great pasta salad, and this recipe today is a go-to summer favorite. It has Italian-inspired flavors with lots of feta cheese, which goes with practically any summer main dish. It also fits right in at any potluck because it holds well at room temperature and, again, it goes with all the things.

How to Make It

It’s also easy to make (yay!). There are a few things to prep, but you can easily get that all done while the pasta boils and cools off. The dressing is a quick whisk operation, and all of it – the farfalle pasta, the mix-ins, and the dressing – are a match made in pasta salad heaven. It’s so good it might just be your new favorite summer salad.

More Summer Sides

Baked Black Beans | Orzo Pasta Salad | Green Bean Potato Salad | BLT Pasta Salad


Bow Tie Pasta Salad

a bowl of pasta salad.

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This pasta salad has a tangy vinaigrette, fresh tomatoes, black olives, fresh basil, and feta cheese tossed with bow tie pasta for a crowd-pleasing summer side dish.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 32 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American


  • 16 ounces bowtie pasta
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese


  1. Boil the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and spread it on a large baking sheet to cool for five minutes or until it’s no longer steaming hot. Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill the pasta for 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Whisk the vinegar and mustard in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk until the dressing is smooth and well combined. Add the onion, basil, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine.

  3. Add the olives and tomatoes to the bowl and stir. Add the pasta and stir again until the pasta is evenly coated with the dressing. Stir in the feta cheese.

  4. You can serve the salad right away or chill it for a few hours before serving.


I like to chill the pasta before adding the dressing because if you toss hot or warm pasta with the dressing, it will absorb it, and you’ll end up with a dry pasta salad. 

Most of the ingredients can be prepped ahead (including the pasta) and stored in the refrigerator for up to a day. Keep the components separate, then mix everything together before serving it.

I think it’s best enjoyed within a day or so, but it will keep in the fridge for up to four days. It may dry out a bit after a few days, so add a splash of lemon juice and olive oil and give it a good stir before serving it.


  • Calories: 360
  • Sugar: 4.5g
  • Sodium: 508.3mg
  • Fat: 13.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.4g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.1g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Protein: 10.9g
  • Cholesterol: 19mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.


This is a really easy recipe to change up with some swaps – here are some ideas:

  • Cheese: Use the same amount of grated Parmesan cheese, cubed fresh mozzarella, or shredded Provolone cheese.
  • Pasta: I love bow tie pasta because it has a great texture, but penne, cavatappi, fusilli, or rotini will work great, too.
  • Herbs: Add more fresh herbs like chopped fresh parsley or sliced chives.
  • Veggies: Add your favorite veggies – I think cucumber, broccoli, or bell peppers would work great.
  • Make It Dinner! You can add a protein and turn it from a side dish to a main dish. Cooked chicken would be delicious.
bow tie pasta salad in a serving bowl.

If you need a simple and delicious side dish, this bow tie pasta salad is for you! I hope you give it a try this summer – enjoy!

Happy cooking,


More Bow Tie Pasta Recipes

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