Filled with fresh vegetables, tangy Italian dressing, and delightful twirls of pasta, you’ll want to savor each bite of this California Spaghetti Salad.
Italian Spaghetti Salad
Like so many pasta salads that I love, this one is loaded to the max with fresh vegetables. I like to add about ¾ of a cup of vegetables to the salad for every ounce of pasta (i.e. 6 cups of vegetables for 8 ounces of pasta).
That might sound like a lot, but I promise this ratio won’t result in too many vegetables. This is the best balance I’ve found for maximizing the textures and flavors in this Italian spaghetti salad.
You can make this recipe with any vegetable you enjoy snacking on or eating raw. Just cut the vegetables into somewhat uniform, bite-size pieces. This ensures the maximum variety of textures and flavors in every bite.
If at all possible, try making this salad with homemade Italian dressing. It takes less than five minutes to shake this dressing together, and it makes a world of difference.
California Spaghetti Salad
Something magical happens in each forkful of this pasta salad. Crunchy cucumbers and juicy tomatoes balance the slight bite of red onions and bell peppers.
The dressing is a tangy highlight, with bright notes of lemon and the smooth richness of olive oil. It adds vibrant and irresistible flavor to this California spaghetti salad recipe.
The celery seeds and black olives add their distinct flavors, adding so much depth to this dish. I adore these ingredients. But, this recipe is so versatile, you can tailor it to suit your preference.
As written, this is a vegetarian recipe. But, if you’re like the meat lovers at my table, you’ll be pleased to know that this is a dish that pairs well with pretty much any protein option.
California Spaghetti Salad Recipe
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:
- thin spaghetti
- Italian salad dressing
- red onion
- black olives
- bell peppers
- sesame seeds, celery seeds, and paprika
- parmesan cheese
California Pasta Salad
Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil on high heat. Break the pasta into thirds or quarters (pieces about 2-3 inches long). Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Then, drain and rinse until cold.
While the pasta is cooking, halve the tomatoes and dice the rest of the vegetables. Put the veggies and olives in a large bowl. Then, add the cooled pasta to the bowl.
Pour the Italian salad dressing over the pasta and vegetables. Stir to coat everything in the dressing. Then, sprinkle with seasonings and shredded cheese. Stir again to mix throughout.
Now, if you’ve never tried a homemade dressing with pasta salad, then you absolutely must give it a try. It is so worth the effort. The lemon brightens up the flavors beautifully.
You can serve this dish immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat. This is a great side to prepare ahead of time. It’s one less thing to worry about when getting dinner onto the table.
I like to garnish this salad with some more freshly shredded parmesan cheese, a pinch of kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. But, you could just as easily add bacon bits or toasted sunflower seeds.
If you like this recipe for California spaghetti salad, you’ve got to try it with Last Minute Chicken. It’s one of my favorite (and fastest) ways to get chicken on my family’s table.
You can also whip up a quick batch of Orange Garlic Shrimp to go with this recipe. Or, you can pair the shrimp with this Asian Pasta Salad, loaded with ten different fresh vegetables. It’s made with another vinaigrette so flavorful, you may be tempted to drink it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
These Crispy Pork Bites caught my eye the other day, so I’ve got them on my list to try soon.
Looking for some tangy side dishes? This Sweet and Tangy Broccoli Slaw is filled with crunchy ribbons of broccoli and carrots, paper-thin onions, chewy cranberries, and pecans before being tossed in a light, tangy dressing.
- 8 ounces thin spaghetti roughly broken into thirds or quarters, about 2-3 inches long
- 2 cups grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 English cucumber diced into ½-inch pieces, about 1½ cups
- 3 red, yellow, orange, or green bell peppers diced into ½-inch pieces, about 3 cups
- ½ medium red onion sliced very thin and roughly chopped, about ¾ cup
- 2.5 ounces sliced black olives drained
- 10-12 ounces Italian salad dressing store-bought or homemade, about 1½ cups
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
- ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Break the pasta as directed, and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta until cold.
- While the pasta is cooking, halve the tomatoes and dice the other vegetables. Then, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, and olives in a large bowl. Add the cooled pasta to the bowl with the vegetables.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds, paprika, celery seeds, and Parmesan cheese. Stir again to mix throughout. Serve or refrigerate until ready to eat.