Creamy Bow Tie Pasta Salad
Homemade pasta salad is always the best, and this Bow Tie Pasta Salad recipe is just what you’re looking for. Ham, cheese, peas, onions, and bell peppers add color and flavor and a delicious, creamy homemade dressing brings it all together. You’ll be proud to serve this side dish at your next picnic, potluck, cookout, party, or family dinner!
Bow Tie Pasta Salad Recipe
Pasta salad is always on the menu for any summer gathering. It’s such a perfect side dish to add to a meal of grilled chicken, burgers, brats, fried chicken, and more. This Bow Tie Pasta Salad Recipe is so good, you’ll be finding every reason to make it all year long! The bow ties look so pretty and hold up well with the dressing and other ingredients. This is one of those recipes everyone will be asking you to send to them.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the Bow Tie Pasta Salad Recipe (the exact measurements and full recipe instructions are below in the printable recipe card):
- Bow tie pasta
- Cheddar cheese – I used a block of cheddar and cut it into small cubes.
- Ham – leftover ham would work very well, or you can use thick sliced deli ham. I used ham steaks from the meat section of the grocery store and they were great for this recipe.
- Onion – you can use a white onion or a sweet onion, whichever you prefer.
- Frozen peas
- Red bell pepper
- Relish – you can choose to use either sweet relish or dill pickle relish, depending on your taste and what you have on hand.
- Granulated sugar
- Yellow mustard
- Vinegar – either white vinegar or apple cider will be perfect.
How to Make Bow Tie Pasta Salad
First, boil the pasta according to the package directions, just until al dente. Be sure you don’t over-cook the pasta or it will fall apart and not hold up well to the other ingredients in the salad. When the pasta is cooked, drain it in the colander and then rinse well with cold water. This stops the cooking, chills the pasta fast, and prevents it from sticking together.
While the pasta is cooking, you can whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dressing until you’re ready to add it to the salad.
In a large mixing bowl, toss together all of the ingredients for the salad with the dressing.
Cover the bowl and chill the salad in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
Here are some variations on this salad that you might enjoy:
PURPLE ONION – Purple onion would be delicious in this salad.
BACON – Instead of ham, use crumbled crisp bacon.
DIFFERENT PASTA – There are other types of pasta that would work well in this salad if you don’t have bow tie pasta on hand. Farfalle, rotini, and penne would all be good options.
Also, many of the ingredients in the salad can be left out or changed to suit your tastes. Don’t like peas? Just leave them out. Prefer sweet relish over dill pickle relish? That’s fine! Use what you like.
How to Store Leftovers
Keep the leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Be sure to give it a good stir before serving as the dressing tends to settle at the bottom of the bowl.
More Recipes You Will Enjoy
- Jamaican Me Crazy Cocktail
- Loaded Mashed Potato Pancakes
- Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Crockpot Chicken Alfredo
Bow Tie Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons relish (sweet or dill)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound bow tie pasta
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese diced
- 1 cup fully-cooked ham diced
- 1/2 small white or sweet onion peeled and finely diced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper seeded and finely diced
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Cover and refrigerate while you move on to the next steps.
- Boil the pasta according to the package directions, just until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together all of the ingredients with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.