Do you have a potluck dinner coming up and are tired of making the same boring pasta salad? I have the recipe for you to try! Everywhere I bring this dish, I end up handing out the recipe after. I should just bring recipe cards to make things easier on myself! But I can’t take all the credit, my sister-in-law served this as a main dish at her house on a hot summer day and I have shared it with many households ever since. Potlucks, picnics, and camping are great reasons to make this Asian Bowtie Pasta Salad. I have even made it for friends with new babies – it’s easy to make ahead and store in the fridge until a hungry momma finds a spare minute to eat.
The recipe starts with exactly what you’d expect from the title – bowtie pasta. I much prefer the mini farfalle noodles for this dish. I think they cook more evenly, are easier to eat and a more attractive size. With all pasta salads, I make sure and salt the cooking water to enhance the flavor of the noodles. However, this is purely an individual preference. Cook the pasta according to directions on the package and get out your ReadyStrainer! I love that I can strain the pasta from the side of the sink and leave it safely (and cleanly) draining while I continue making the sauce and preparing the salad toppings.
While the ReadyStrainer stays on the counter, the sink is open and available to wash the vegetables for the salad. This is when my second ReadyStrainer comes out. A customer was the one to give me the idea to use a ReadyStrainer as a scrap bowl. Now I keep one on my counter for bell pepper scraps, green onion ends, cilantro stems and anything else I need to throw away during meal preparations.
For the sauce, heat all ingredients on the stove until they are dissolved and mixed together. It doesn’t take long to incorporate all the ingredients together. At this time, I mix the cooked pasta and sauce together until combined. After tossing in the toppings (with the exception of the baby spinach) the meal can be set in the fridge until ready to serve. If this dish is to be presented as a side dish at a potluck, I don’t add much chicken. However, if this is meant to be a main dish I boost up the protein by doubling the amount of chicken.
Right before serving, remove the dish from the fridge and toss with baby spinach. This keeps the spinach fresh, green and looking great for the table!
Like I mentioned earlier, this dish is very easy to prepare and transport. On a recent camping excursion, I prepared this for our first night at the campground. I’ve always loathed the initial rush that comes with an evening campsite arrival. Scoping out the site and setting up camp take time away from a nice meal prep. This time I simply brought the Asian Bowtie Pasta Salad in a cooler as well as some carrot sticks, cucumber slices and pear wedges for sides. We made sure to keep the camping vibe by following the meal with s’mores over the fire!
I hope you find this recipe useful! Have a great summer!