This Italian pasta salad makes use of the Instant Pot to create a delicious side dish in minutes!
You’ll love this Instant Pot Italian pasta salad–it’s the perfect side dish for a BBQ or potluck gathering!
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Pasta salad is one of those super simple side dishes that is perfect for taking along to a gathering, especially in the warm months of spring and summer!
I started making this easy Italian pasta salad many years ago, because it was something I could whip up quickly and with just a few basic ingredients. Nothing fancy, just simple and delicious!
Once I learned how to cook pasta in the Instant Pot, I started making my pasta salad that way. It’s a great hands-free way to cook the pasta, and I can multitask and easily chop the mix-ins while the pasta cooks.
I also use my pressure cooker when I make my Instant Pot macaroni salad, Instant Pot potato salad, lemon basil pasta salad, or my Instant Pot sweet corn and tomato salad–I don’t even have to heat up my kitchen!
But if you don’t have an Instant Pot yet, you can certainly boil the pasta on the stove.
Either way, this is a great side dish to bring to a BBQ!
Quick & Easy Italian Pasta Salad
One of the best things about this Italian pasta salad is the fact that it uses a bit of bottled Italian salad dressing, so there’s no need to mix up the dressing on your own.
I love the pretty colors of the tricolor bowtie pasta! If you can’t find bowtie (also called farfalle), you can also use tricolor rotini.
You’ll also love that this pasta salad is endlessly customizable! I typically only add peppers and tomatoes to the salad, because I don’t like olives, which are often included in Italian pasta salad recipes. However, feel free to add them in if you like them.
You could also add in some chopped pepperoni, mozzarella, parmesan, feta, or whatever sounds good to you!
If you need a gluten-free side dish, try my chickpea and edamame salad!
How to Make Pasta Salad with the Instant Pot
It’s really easy to make this recipe with your Instant Pot!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Uncooked tri-color bowtie pasta
- Water for cooking the pasta
- Bell pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Italian salad dressing
- Additional mix-ins as desired: chopped pepperoni, mozzarella chunks or feta crumbles, olives, etc.
How to Make It:
(Full printable recipe is available below)
Cook the pasta. First, you’ll combine the pasta and water in the insert pot of the Instant Pot. Cook at high pressure for 4 minutes, followed by a natural release of pressure for 5 minutes, then a quick release of remaining pressure.
After cooking, drain and rinse the pasta in cold water.
Combine ingredients. Next, you’ll combine the pasta with the bell pepper, tomatoes, and salad dressing, along with any other optional mix-ins you prefer.
Chill. Last, you can either eat this right away or let it chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving–your preference!
Notes and Adaptations:
- This is easily adaptable based on your preference. I typically don’t add much more than tomatoes and peppers, but you certainly can if you want a heartier pasta salad!
- Choose whatever Italian salad dressing that you like!
- If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can simply cook the pasta on the stove top, following the instructions on the box.
- Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
- 2 cups uncooked tri-color bowtie pasta
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
- Optional add-ins as desired: chopped pepperoni, mozzarella chunks or feta crumbles, olives, etc.
- In the insert pot of the Instant Pot, combine pasta and water. Make sure the water is covering the pasta (add a bit more if needed).
- Close the lid and set the vent to the sealed position. Select a cook time of 4 minutes at high pressure.
- Once the cook time is complete, allow a natural release of pressure for 5 minutes, followed by a quick release of remaining pressure.
- After the pressure has released and the valve has dropped, carefully remove the lid. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.
- In a serving bowl, combine pasta, bell pepper, tomatoes, salad dressing, and any other add-ins you're using.
- Chill for a couple of hours before serving, if desired.
If you can't find tricolor bowtie pasta (sometimes called farfalle), you could use tricolor rotini.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 134Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 217mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is not guaranteed for accuracy.
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