Bowtie pasta salad is packed with briny olives, artichoke hearts, and roasted chickpeas. It’s tossed in an oil and vinegar dressing.
Great for picnics, potlucks, and lunches.
When you’re looking for a light lunch or easy side dish for a potluck, bowtie pasta salad is always welcome.
It’s simple and familiar, as well as flavorful.
(Bowtie pasta is also known as farfalle. Farfalle means butterflies in Italian.)
Olives, artichoke hearts, and balsamic vinegar add a punch of salty tang.
Basil gives it summery freshness.
Finally, roasted chickpeas add protein and staying power to make this a meal-worthy salad.
Bowtie pasta salad is a great dish for meal planning, because it keeps well in the refrigerator.
Pull out what you need for a quick snack, side, or even a full lunch on its own.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe.
Farfalle: Look for farfalle in the pasta section of the grocery store. It’s also known as bowtie pasta. It can be replaced with any small-shaped pasta.
If you’re short on time, just drain & use them straight out of the can without roasting.
Olives: Castelvetrano olives are my favorite, but any will work here. I recommend buying pitted olives for easy slicing.
Marinated artichoke hearts: Jarred marinated artichoke hearts bring a lot of flavor. The grilled variety are especially delicious.
They can be replaced with any canned and/or water-packed artichoke hearts.
Cherry tomatoes: They add sweetness, and they aren’t prone to wateriness like full-sized tomatoes. They can be replaced with grape tomatoes.
Garlic: One small clove of garlic adds bite. Use a Microplane zester to make it almost paste-like for easy & even spreading throughout.
It can be replaced with ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder, added with the oil.
Basil: Fresh basil is a must. Dried basil just won’t work here.
I recommend cutting it with kitchen shears, so that it doesn’t get overly wet or smashed in the chopping process.
Pantry staples: Extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Boil pasta according to package directions.
Drain & rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the following:
- Cooked & drained pasta
- Roasted or air fried chickpeas
- Sliced olives
- Quartered artichoke hearts
- Sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
- Garlic, minced or zested
- Chopped fresh basil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
Serve right away. Or refrigerate for later & serve cold.
If you’re serving it later, remember that the pasta will soak up some of the oil & vinegar.
Taste before serving and refresh with more oil, vinegar, salt, and/or pepper if necessary.
Can it be made gluten-free?
The only ingredient with gluten in this dish is the pasta itself.
Replace it with a gluten-free noodle. And you’re good to go.
I’ve never seen gluten-free farfalle in stores. But any short gluten-free pasta like fusilli will work.
Make it your own
Make this pasta salad your own by varying the ingredients or amounts.
- Instead of farfalle, use any short pasta. Penne, rotini, fusilli, or shells work well here. Small pasta is ideal for easy scooping at a potluck, picnic, or camping trip.
- Instead of roasted or air fried chickpeas, just use drained chickpeas right out of the can to save time.
- Can’t find Castelvetrano olives? Any black or green olive will work here, including dry cured olives.
- Instead of artichoke hearts, use hearts of palm.
- In place of cherry tomatoes, use a smaller amount of drained & chopped sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers.
- Instead of balsamic vinegar, use red wine vinegar.
- Add a handful of crumbled vegan feta cheese for extra oomph and flavor.
What to serve with it
Thanks to the addition of protein-packed chickpeas, this pasta salad can be a full meal all on its own.
Or it works beautifully as a side dish for a warm weather lunch or dinner.
Serve bowtie pasta salad with:
How to store leftovers
Keep any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.
It will last for 3 to 4 days.
If it seems dry, add another splash of oil and vinegar. Taste for salt & pepper, and add more if necessary.
I do not recommend freezing it.
Bowtie pasta salad with chickpeas & artichokes
- 4 ounces dry farfalle (a.k.a. bowtie pasta) about 1 ½ cups
- 1 cup roasted chickpeas in the air fryer or oven
- ¼ cup sliced olives Preferably Castelvetrano
- ½ cup chopped jarred marinated artichoke hearts
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 small clove garlic zested with Microplane zester or minced
- 1 handful fresh basil roughly chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Cook farfalle (bowtie pasta) according to package directions. Drain & rinse with cool water. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked farfalle pasta, roasted chickpeas, olives, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, zested or minced garlic, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold. If you're serving the pasta salad cold, remember that the pasta will soak up some of the balsamic vinegar and oil. Taste before serving and refresh with more oil, vinegar, salt, and/or pepper, if needed.
Content, recipe, and photos updated May 22, 2021. Originally posted October 26, 2012.
This salad was originally a Doctor Who-themed recipe, based on Matt Smith’s penchant for bowties. If you’re a fellow Whovian, you may be interested in this Adipose tofu version.