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. 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.
I would really love to dig into this one! Spaghetti salad is so darn good!
Pasta salads are my thing during the warmer months of the year! They’re so fresh and filling especially during lunch! I think this spaghetti salad is worth a try and I like that you can switch up the veggies whenever you want.
This looks so nice and summer -picnic-ish. I just know I would love this dish!
Oh my goodness, this sounds absolutely delicious – I bet spaghetti works so well in a salad adding a real different texture.
Salads are the best way to use up all that fresh veggies from the farmer’s market! Which is absolutely why I love them. Adding pasta will make it more filling so it’s the perfect lunch recipe. Great for parties too like you mentioned!
That spaghetti salad looks amazing and something that I would totally prepare during this season. I’m all about salads and sandwiches during the warmer months of the year!
The salad yes but that dressing recipe YES!!! I love a good olive oil / vinegar and Parmesan cheese dressing. Reminds me of the one served at our fave Italian restaurant and it goes so well on so many things.
This is a salad I would love to make and it is so healthy looking . I like to cook pasta with veggies so this would be a nice change and the kids will like it too.
This makes me so hungry! I love how easy it is to make in my entire family would love it. It is something I can make up very quickly in on a weeknight anything easy fast and delicious is awesome in my book!
I love all pasta salads and this one sure looks like a winner! I love the color and all the fresh veggies. Looks delicious!
Can I use whole grain pasta?
Love this spaghetti salad!
The best! Omitted peppers, hubby doesn’t care for them, added some garlic powder and Italian seasoning…perfect! Used good seasons zesty italian.
Do you think this would be good to try with zucchini noodles? I just bought a spiralizer and have been looking for a good dish to try it with.
I think if you made this with zucchini noodles you’d have to be sure to serve it immediately as the zucchini noodles will let off excess water as they sit in the dressing. I actually just published a post that has 15 different zucchini noodle recipes: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/zoodle-zucchini-noodle-recipes/. I love my spiralizer, hope you end up loving yours too!
Just came upon this great looking salad and going to give it a try!
My husband asked me about making spaghetti salad the other day – my mom used to make something like this every summer. He loves it and now I am inspired! This is a beautiful dish – love your dressing recipe!
Lovely salad! I love noodles in any form and this is such a delicious way to add some to my plate 🙂
Love the pasta salad Sara, I can see why it is a big hit. Simple is almost always better.
I add pepperoni to mine,,,,really good
I make something similar but instead of the parmesan cheese I add a tablespoon of McCormick’s salad seasoning. Yummy!
Yes I use same seasoning yummy
Great looking pasta salad! The dishwasher tabs look so neat and easy!