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Italian Spaghetti Salad is made with spaghetti, fresh summer veggies, salami and tossed in a homemade zesty Italian dressing. This is a summer potluck must!

I have this California Spaghetti Salad on the the blog that is my most popular summer recipe. It is a must to take to a potluck and it is the first thing that I can’t wait to dive into. Something about the spaghetti and fresh summer veggies tossed in a zesty dressing is awesome.

Italian Spaghetti Salad in a clear bowl and wooden spoon.

Italian Spaghetti Salad

Summer is coming quick, and I am not to sure how I feel about it. Even though I am ready for the warm air and sunshine, there are so many things I will miss about the cooler weather.  Like coming inside to warm soups and chili.  However, I am looking forward to swimming at the pool almost every day and summer BBQ’s and potlucks!

I get comments all of the time wondering if this can be made with a homemade italian dressing. So, today I present to you the delicious Italian Spaghetti Salad with homemade dressing. I absolutely love all of the fresh summer veggies in this salad and the vibrant color that it adds. I added some salami to this salad and it was such a delicious addition! If you haven’t made this salad yet, you need to! It is perfect for any gathering and sure to be a huge hit!

Spaghetti Salad Ingredients:

The California Spaghetti Salad is perfect for throwing together in no time at all and using a store bought dressing. But if you have a few extra minutes to make this homemade dressing, it is amazing!

  • Spaghetti: Use thin linguine and break into 1-inch pieces to make it easier to eat.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Chopped in half to be bite sized.
  • Zucchinis: Diced a medium sized zucchini. Try to make everything into similar sized pieces for consistency.
  • Cucumber: I love the fresh taste the cucumber brings to this spaghetti salad.
  • Red and Green bell pepper: The red peppers are ripe and sweet, while their companion the green peppers are less ripe so they are slightly bitter.  Together they are the perfect balance.
  • Red onion: The red onion adds color and great onion flavor!
  • Sliced ripe olives: Smooth, savory flavor.
  • Italian salami: This meat has great seasoning that adds texture and flavor. 

Homemade Italian Dressing Ingredients:

  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive or OR neutral vegetable oil, such as sunflower or safflower work best.
  • Red wine vinegar: White wine vinegar also works well or a combination of the two.
  • Italian Seasoning: Use a pre-made packet or make your own by adding in basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
  • Sugar: The sugar adds just a slight hit of sweetness to add balance.
  • Parmesan cheese: Fruity and nutty taste that is heaven drizzled in the dressing!
  • Sesame seeds: Just the nutty taste and crunch this dressing needs.
  • Paprika: Paprika adds great color an a very mild chili pepper spice.
  • Celery seed: Warm, slightly bitter flavor similar to celery.
  • Garlic powder: Garlic makes everything better!
  • Salt and pepper: To taste!

How to Make Cold Italian Spaghetti Salad:

  1. Cook the pasta: Follow package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. Combine ingredients in large bowl: In a large bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, green and red bell pepper, red onions, olives, and salami.
  3. To make the dressing: Whisk together in a medium sized bowl olive oil, red wine vinegar, italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seed, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drizzle and toss over the salad. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Italian Dressing in a large clear pitcher.


  • Salt the water!  The key to good pasta is to cook it in water that has been heavily seasoned with salt. That’s where the flavor starts.
  • Make the dressing in a jar:  Using a jar to make salad dressing cuts down on dishes and time.
  • Double the recipe.  Just because you are eating at home on a regular basis in the summer, doesn’t mean you need to cook every night!  The extra is ready to be stored for use on another delicious recipe when you are done using it. (especially if you made it in a jar! wink)
  • Protein: If you’re having a hard time finding mini pepperoni, you can always use the larger pieces and simply chop in half. Or use salami or chunks of chicken instead.
  • Variations: If you’re feeling like switching things up even more, feel free to use green, yellow or orange bell peppers or add marinated artichoke hearts to the mix. This is one of those cold pasta salads that totally works with what you have on hand. Or for pleasing those picky little eaters.

Ingredients for Italian Spaghetti Salad in a clear bowl.

Storing Cold Salad:

  • Can you make this ahead of time? Yes! In fact the flavors get even better as they sit.  In fact, I love to make a batch of this for my weeks worth of lunches.
  • Refrigerating: Pasta salad with the dressing on it can be stored for later with no problems.  Put it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days, but I highly recommend that you do not freeze this salad

Italian Spaghetti Salad in a clear bowl.

More Pasta Salad Ideas:

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Italian Spaghetti Salad

3 from 1 vote
By: Alyssa Rivers
Italian Spaghetti Salad is made with spaghetti, fresh summer veggies, salami and tossed in a homemade zesty italian dressing. This is a summer potluck must!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 People


  • 1 pound thin spaghetti broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes chopped in half
  • 2 medium zucchinis diced
  • 1 large cucumber diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 large red onion diced
  • 2 1/4 ounce cans sliced ripe olives drained
  • 1 cup italian salami cut in half



  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Add cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, green and red bell pepper, red onions, olives, and salami in a large bowl.

To Make the Dressing:

  • To make the dressing: Whisk together in a medium sized bowl olive oil, red wine vinegar, italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seed, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drizzle and toss over the salad. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.


Updated on April 21, 2020
Originally Posted on August 9, 2020


Calories: 341kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 9gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 354mgPotassium: 393mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 736IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Italian American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

Italian Spaghetti Salad in a clear bowl with a wooden spoon.


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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Making this for a family picnic . It sounds delicious. Am I use angel hair pasta? I have a lot of it.

  2. 3 stars
    Loved all the ingredients but felt the dressing was a little flat. I actually sprinkled Ken’s Northern Italian Dressing over it rather generously then sprinkled shredded parmesan over it & served. I’ll keep working on the dressing to give it zing.

  3. I have been making a version of that spaghetti salad for years. Absolutely love it. I do a version of my own Italian dressing. Instead of sugar though I use catsup. It doesn’t change the flavor and still adds a little bit of sweetness, and helps bind the oil and vinegar together.

  4. I want something fast to prepare or prepared overnight, so that it can be ready quickly in the morning for girls to eat before they rush to college.Spaghetti menu would be fine.Please also guide us how to serve also.