This recipe for spaghetti salad is a unique pasta salad full of crunchy vegetables and parmesan cheese, all tossed together in a homemade zesty Italian dressing. The perfect dish to feed a crowd when you’re entertaining!
This cold spaghetti salad is my favorite recipe to bring to gatherings. It’s a familiar favorite that’s always the first dish to disappear and people constantly ask me for the recipe. Serve your salad along with other warm weather favorites such as burrata salad, lemon thyme chicken, caprese bread and a lemon meringue tart for a memorable meal.
We have been doing a lot of entertaining lately, nothing fancy, more like simple get-togethers with friends and family. To me, the casual dinner parties are the best kind – everyone always has a great time and I don’t feel pressured to put out an elaborate spread, I just go for easy yet delicious comfort food like turkey burgers, smoked ribs, Mediterranean chicken or pork scallopini with a nice salad. This spaghetti salad is a hit at all of our gatherings – it’s full of fresh veggies, colorful and feeds a crowd!
Table of Contents
Spaghetti Salad Ingredients
To make this salad, you will need spaghetti noodles, cucumber, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, red onion, olives, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. The dressing is made with extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, parmesan cheese, red bell pepper, dried parsley, dried minced onion, dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, sugar and pepper.
How Do You Make Spaghetti Salad?
Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Cook the spaghetti, then drain it and rinse under cool water. Place the spaghetti in a large bowl along with all the vegetables and olives. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper as desired, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and parsley and serve.
Tips For The Perfect Dish
- It’s definitely worth it to take the time to make your own Italian dressing, as it has so much flavor. If you’re in a hurry, choose a high quality store bought Italian salad dressing from the refrigerator section.
- Spaghetti salad will stay fresh in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- You can use grape tomatoes or diced Roma tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes.
- I typically use Persian or English cucumbers in this dish. If you’re using a standard waxy cucumber you’ll want to peel it and remove the seeds.
- Be sure to rinse your pasta under cold water before you make the salad. This ensures that the noodles won’t stick together.
The homemade Italian dressing can be made up to 3 days before you plan to prepare your salad.
Pasta salad will stay fresh in the fridge for 3 days. Be aware that the pasta will continue to absorb the dressing as it sits in the refrigerator.
When you cook spaghetti, it’s important to heavily salt the water and use a large enough pot. Use the biggest pot you have on hand so that there’s plenty of room for the boiling water to circulate around the pasta. If your pot is too small, the noodles can stick together.
Spaghetti Salad Flavor Variations
While this salad is delicious as-is, you can easily customize the ingredients to your tastes.
- Pasta: Instead of spaghetti, try a short pasta such as penne, farfalle or fusilli.
- Protein: Make this salad into a main course by adding grilled shrimp, a can of white beans or chickpeas, mini pepperoni, or diced grilled chicken tenders.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other veggies to the mix. Some great options include artichoke hearts, diced grilled zucchini, baby spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, or avocado.
- Cheese: Swap out the parmesan with mini mozzarella balls, cubes of fontina cheese or crumbled feta cheese.
- Toppings: Finish the salad with toasted pine nuts, fresh basil or cooked crumbled bacon.
This spaghetti salad is a must-try recipe. It’s the perfect side dish to chicken or fish, but hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian entree! You can never have too many pasta salad recipes, and this one is always a hit.
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For the salad
- 1 pound spaghetti noodles broken in half
- 1 cup quartered and sliced cucumber
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
- 2/3 cup sliced black olives
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/4 cups homemade or store bought Italian dressing dressing recipe follows
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine or red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced dried onion or 1 teaspoon fresh minced onion
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the dressing
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously to combine. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the salad
- Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water.
- Place the spaghetti in a large bowl and add the cucumber, red and green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, red onion and olives.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste if desired.
- Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and parsley over the top right before serving.
- I really recommend making your own Italian dressing as it adds a lot of flavor. If you’re short on time, choose a high quality refrigerated Italian dressing at the store.
- Be sure to cut all your vegetables into bite sized pieces to make the the salad easy to eat.
- I typically use Persian or English cucumbers for best results.