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.
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 pork scallopini with a nice salad. This spaghetti salad is a hit at all of our gatherings – it’s fresh, colorful and feeds a crowd!
How do you make spaghetti salad?
To make spaghetti salad you’ll need cooked spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, bell peppers and red onions. The veggies are all chopped coarsely and tossed with the pasta in Italian dressing.
This salad perfect for entertaining because you can make it earlier in the day, it just gets better as the pasta soaks up all the dressing. Speaking of dressing, I went for homemade Italian dressing here – it’s actually really easy to make, it just takes about 5 minutes!
How do you make Italian dressing?
This Italian dressing is perfect for spaghetti salad, but is also fabulous on a green salad or as a marinade for chicken or fish. The base of the dressing is olive oil and red wine vinegar, which are combined with lots of herbs, spices and parmesan cheese to make a zesty dressing that is SO much better than the store bought variety.
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. While you could use store bought Italian dressing in a pinch, the homemade dressing really makes it special and adds a lot of flavor.
The great thing about this salad is that it’s easy to switch up the vegetables to your liking. Other great options are shredded carrots, steamed broccoli, or sliced celery. You could even add some protein like chicken or shrimp to make it more of a meal. No matter how you serve it, this spaghetti salad will definitely be a hit!
More pasta recipes
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 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. Salad can be made up to 4 hours in advance.
This post was originally sponsored by eCover. This post was originally published on August 2, 2016 and was updated on April 26, 2018 with new content.
Has anyone tried cauliflower noodles or any other vegetable noodles instead of spaghetti? If so how well do they hold up?
I made this today – followed the recipe and just got a bottle of Kraft Italian dressing. IT IS DELICIOUS!!!!! I may throw in some bacon bits before serving. I have searched high and low for a delicious spaghetti salad and this one is a keeper!
Can I use fresh parmesan cheese?
Yes that’s fine!
How long can it sit before going bad?
This is sooo good. I’ve made it several times. Also, the dressing is good on all kinds of salads! Love it.
Outstanding recipe, but seeing spaghetti “noodles” makes me cringe. Spaghetti is just that, it is not a noodle.
I brought this to a potluck and everyone loved it! I loved how quick it was to make!
This was a great base for me to start with for my spaghetti marinating! I just wanted to point out that considering there are 120 calories in one tablespoon of olive oil, and you advise 3/4 cup of oil for the dressing that there are 12 tablespoons in 3/4 cup so that’s like 1440 calories! I did little less than half a cup, so .4? Ish. Since it’s just me and the hubs but he counts as 2 people lol.
Easy to make & very Delish…I made the Angel hair spaghetti
Noodles in the Instant Pot (steam for 2 minutes) They turned out very light, than refrigerated…A nice light salad for those warm summer days…Actually wonderful. Instead of sugar I replaced with honey. Also fresh minced garlic instead of the powder. A great salad for an outdoor picnic or barbecue😎One everyone will remember
Made it per the directions—only way to rate it fairly—and just added a bit more sugar to soften the vinegar. Absolutely delicious!
Every time I bring this salad to a party, BBQ, or where ever, I get the best compliments and I’m always asked for recipe.
Could this be made with spaghetti squash or summer squash or zucchini noodles for those trying to stay away from pasta? Hmm, sounds and looks really good, I might have to give it a try with the veggie noodles instead of spaghetti.
I think it would work best with zucchini noodles!
I haven’t had a good pasta salad in a while. This sounds and looks really delicious!
I need to make this for my older daughter! She is a veggie and spaghetti machine! She loves it all!
That is so fresh looking! I never thought of spaghetti as in a light dish, but this totally looks like it is. I also like your blend of flavors.
I may have to surprise P with this for lunch one day. This recipe looks so good and it’s right up hiss tastebud alley
This looks so yummy and tasteful. My son LOVES spaghetti so this will definitely be made and soon at my house. This would be good for lunch or supper, which is really convenient! Thanks for sharing
Now this looks like a pasta salad I could even get my nieces and nephews to eat! It looks so good!! Thanks!