California Spaghetti Salad

California Spaghetti Salad is a refreshing twist on the classic pasta salad, where the abundance of fresh vegetables plays the starring role, making the pasta a delightful complement. This dish is a celebration of garden freshness, combining a rainbow of veggies with the unique choice of spaghetti, all enveloped in a zesty Italian-style dressing. It's a testament to the versatility of pasta salads and their capacity to encapsulate the flavors of summer in every bite.

California Spaghetti Salad


1 lb spaghetti, cooked and drained

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cucumber, diced

2 zucchini, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 red onion, diced

1 can sliced black olives, drained

For the Dressing:

1 bottle Italian dressing

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Cook Pasta: Prepare the spaghetti as per the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the pasta.

Combine Veggies: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the zucchini, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, red onion, and black olives.

Prepare the Dressing: In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the Italian dressing, sesame seeds, Parmesan cheese, paprika, celery seed, and garlic powder until well combined.

Assemble the Salad: Add the cooled spaghetti to the bowl with the vegetables and olives. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti and vegetables, tossing thoroughly to ensure everything is well-coated.

Chill: Cover the salad and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours. This resting time allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Serve: Once chilled, give the salad a good toss, then serve it cold as a refreshing side dish.

Variations & Tips:

Feel free to customize the salad with any veggies you have on hand. Yellow squash, green onion, and celery are great additions or substitutions.

For a protein boost, consider adding grilled chicken or shrimp to the salad.

If you're serving this at a picnic or outdoor event, consider using a cooler to keep the salad chilled until it's time to eat.

This California Spaghetti Salad is not only a wonderful way to utilize a variety of vegetables but also serves as a vibrant, nutritious option that's perfect for summer gatherings, picnics, or a wholesome family dinner. Its ability to be adapted based on available ingredients makes it a reliable recipe for any occasion. Enjoy the crunch and freshness of each bite, and let this salad be a reminder of how simple ingredients can come together to create something truly delightful.

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