California Spaghetti Salad Recipe

California Spaghetti Salad

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Hey there, fellow food lovers! Today, I’m thrilled to share a recipe that’s perfect for summer gatherings, picnics, or just a simple family dinner—California Spaghetti Salad. This recipe takes me back to a sunny weekend in California where my family and I enjoyed an outdoor potluck at the beach. One of the highlights was this vibrant, colorful salad that my friend Sarah brought. It was an instant hit, with everyone asking for the recipe. Since then, it’s become a staple in our household.

What I love about this California Spaghetti Salad is its versatility. The combination of fresh, crunchy vegetables with tender spaghetti, all tossed in a zesty Italian dressing, is simply irresistible. Plus, it’s a great way to use up those summer veggies. I often like to play around with the recipe by adding ingredients like artichoke hearts or swapping the black olives for green ones to suit my family’s preferences.

One of the best things about this salad is that it tastes even better the next day. The flavors meld together beautifully as it chills in the fridge, making it a perfect make-ahead dish for busy days. And if you’re looking to add a bit of protein, grilled chicken or shrimp make excellent additions.

So, whether you’re hosting a barbecue or just looking for a fresh, easy meal, give this California Spaghetti Salad a try. I’m sure it will become a favorite in your home too!

Making California Spaghetti Salad


  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 diced large cucumber
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti, broken
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 small cans sliced black olives


  • 1 bottle of Italian dressing
  • ¼ cup of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder


  1. Prepare the spaghetti as per the instructions on the package.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, dice the vegetables and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Rinse the cooked pasta under cold water, drain well, and add to the bowl with the diced vegetables.
  4. In another bowl, combine the Italian dressing, paprika, celery seed, and garlic powder by whisking them together.
  5. Mix the grated Parmesan cheese into the dressing mixture.
  6. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables, then toss until everything is thoroughly mixed and coated.
  7. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight to enhance the flavors.
  8. Serve and enjoy!


Can I use a different type of pasta for this California Spaghetti Salad?

Yes, you can substitute the thin spaghetti with other pasta types like rotini, penne, or bowtie. Just ensure to cook the pasta al dente, so it holds up well when mixed with the vegetables and dressing.

How long can I store the California Spaghetti Salad in the refrigerator?

The salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. However, it is best enjoyed within the first 1-2 days for optimal freshness and flavor.

Can I make the dressing from scratch instead of using a bottled Italian dressing?

Absolutely! You can make a homemade Italian dressing using olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dried herbs (such as oregano and basil), salt, and pepper. Mix these ingredients to your taste preference.

What can I add to this salad to make it more filling?

To make the salad more filling, consider adding proteins such as grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas. You can also incorporate more vegetables like artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, or avocados.

Is it necessary to refrigerate the salad for at least 3 hours?

While refrigerating for at least 3 hours enhances the flavors, you can serve the salad immediately if needed. However, chilling allows the ingredients to meld together better, resulting in a more flavorful salad.

Can I omit the black olives if I don’t like them?

Yes, you can omit the black olives if you prefer. Feel free to substitute them with other ingredients like sliced green olives, capers, or even some diced pickles for a different flavor profile.

California Spaghetti Salad Recipe

California Spaghetti Salad

California Spaghetti Salad combines fresh veggies and tender spaghetti in a delicious Italian dressing—ideal for potlucks and family dinners.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill 2 hours
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 9


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 large cucumber diced
  • 1 large zucchini diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 pound of thin spaghetti broken into pieces
  • 2 small cans of sliced black olives
  • Dressing:
  • 1 bottle Italian dressing
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated or shredded
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder


  • Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions.
  • While the pasta cooks, dice all the vegetables and place them in a large bowl.
  • Rinse and drain the cooked pasta, then add it to the bowl with the vegetables.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the Italian dressing, paprika, celery seed, and garlic powder.
  • Stir the grated Parmesan cheese into the dressing mixture.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables, mixing everything until evenly coated.
  • Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight for the best flavor.
Keyword salad, spaghetti


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