Home Recipes California Spaghetti Salad

California Spaghetti Salad

This California spaghetti salad is an absolute explosion of fresh flavors and textures. And it’s one of my new favorite summer recipes!

It combines tender spaghetti with a rainbow of crunchy veggies, including juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and sweet bell peppers. 

But can we talk about this dressing for a second? It’s a tangy, zesty mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, Parmesan, and herbs and spices. When you toss it all together, pure magic happens! 

Once you try this salad, it’ll be your new staple, too.

Colorful homemade California spaghetti salad with cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers and chopped olives.

Why You’ll Love This California Spaghetti Salad

Vibrant Presentation: This salad is a feast for the eyes with its colorful mix of cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers.

Make-Ahead Convenience: The salad can be prepared in advance and actually tastes better the next day. It’s an ideal dish for busy schedules and event planning.

Crowd-Pleaser: With its fresh vegetables and zesty dressing, this salad is sure to be a hit at any event. It appeals to a wide range of palates and dietary preferences.

Flavorful Dressing: The homemade dressing adds a rich and tangy flavor that elevates the entire dish.

Flavorful homemade California spaghetti salad with red onions, tomatoes and olives.

Ingredients

  • Thin Spaghetti: The perfect pasta shape soaks up the zesty Italian dressing.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Juicy pops of sweetness brighten every bite.
  • Cucumber: Cool, crunchy, and refreshing, it adds a delightful texture contrast.
  • Green and Red Bell Pepper: Colorful and crisp, these peppers bring vibrancy to the salad.
  • Red Onion: It provides a subtle, sharp bite to balance the flavors.
  • Black Olives: Briny and bold, they add a savory depth to the dish.
  • Olive Oil: The luscious base of the homemade Italian dressing.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: It brings a tangy kick to make the dressing sing.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese: Nutty, salty, and oh-so-satisfying, it coats every nook and cranny.
  • Seasonings: I use sesame seeds, dried oregano, garlic powder, paprika, celery seed, salt, and pepper. 
A small glass bowl of California spaghetti salad dressing.
A colander filled with spaghetti on a marble counter.

How to Make California Spaghetti Salad

This salad is truly easy-peasy!

1. Cook the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, and transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add the vegetables. Add the halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced red and green bell peppers, diced red onion, and drained sliced black olives to the bowl with the pasta.

3. Make the dressing. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Parmesan, sesame seeds, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, celery seed, salt and pepper.

4. Toss the salad. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetable mixture. Toss gently to coat everything evenly.

5. Refrigerate the salad. Cover and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow flavors to blend.

6. Season and serve. Before serving, toss the salad again. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with additional Parmesan if desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Colorful California pasta salad featuring cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and black olives.

Tips for the Best California Spaghetti Salad

Follow these tips for a pasta salad everyone will devour.

  • Pick the right pasta. Use thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta, broken into small pieces. This allows the pasta to soak up the dressing and meld with the other ingredients.
  • Cook the pasta properly. Ensure the spaghetti is cooked al dente, then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down.
  • Keep things uniform. Dice the cucumber, bell peppers, and red onion into similar-sized pieces for even distribution and easier eating.
  • Dress while it’s toasty. Pour the dressing over the pasta while still slightly warm to help the flavors meld better.
  • Select your seasonings. Taste the salad before serving and adjust the seasonings as needed, adding more salt, pepper, or Parmesan cheese if desired.
  • Have fun and switch things up. Add cubed cheddar cheese, pepperoni, or dill. For a shortcut, use bottled Italian dressing. Customize the salad by adding vegetables like zucchini, artichoke hearts, or baby spinach. You can also add chicken or beans.
Delicious California pasta salad, tossed with cherry tomatoes, red onions and black olives.

How to Store

Enjoy this salad for easy lunches all week!

To store, place in an air-tight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days. Since pasta absorbs dressing over time, keep some extra dressing on hand to refresh the salad before serving. 

To avoid overly cold, hard noodles, allow the salad to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving for optimal texture.

California Spaghetti Salad

Course: Side DishCuisine: American
Servings

12

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Calories

338

kcal

This California spaghetti salad is a fun twist on a classic! With long spaghetti noodles, colorful vegetables, and a cheesy vinaigrette, everyone will love it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thin spaghetti, broken into 1-2 inch pieces

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 cucumber, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained

  • Dressing:
  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red and green bell peppers, red onion, and black olives to the bowl with the pasta.
  • In a separate bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Parmesan, sesame seeds, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, celery seed, salt and pepper until well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables. Toss gently until everything is evenly coated.
  • Cover and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 2 hours, or overnight for the best flavor. Toss again before serving.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!

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author avatar
beautyeval - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm beautyeval. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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